The 1950 Willys Jeepster Convertible / Photos, Specs, Model History

The 1950 Willys Jeepster Convertible shown here is a great looking classic car.

willys jeepster
1950 Willys Jeepster

Several Automakers Produced the Jeepster 

The first Jeepster model was produced by Willys-Overland Motors from 1948 to 1950. It should be noted that Willys did sell leftover 1950 Jeepsters which were labeled 1951 models.  Kaiser eventually took over Willys and after a long hiatus revived the Jeepster brand for the 1967 model year. Kaiser’s Jeep operations were then purchased by American Motors in 1970.

A Sports Car for Returning GIs

Immediately after the end of World War 2, Willys-Overland started to produce Jeeps for civilian use as well as pickups, panel trucks and wagons. When the Jeepster came along it was an entirely new endeavor targeting buyers looking for a sporty vehicle.

The 1948-51 Willys Jeepster represents an interesting off road past history of this auto maker. The 1948 to 1951 Willys Jeepster-was a two-wheel-drive convertible. It’s designer, Brooks Stevens, created what he saw as a two door sports car for the general public as well as for returning World War II GIs. It is no secret that a good many soldiers during the war really liked the jeep and it’s versatility. When the war ended in 1945 many of these soldiers considered purchasing one for themselves and thus a new market was made. The Jeepster was developed to extend that market even more.

The chassis for the new Jeepster was to be based on the CJ model. The good looking Willys Jeepster had the same front end styling as the Willys wagon and pickup truck but Stevens gave it a fancier appearance.The Willys Jeepster came with white wall tires, bumper guards, locking glove box, special steering wheel, dual horns and cigar lighter.

The 1950 Jeepster

When the Jeepster debuted in 1948 there were great hopes for it’s immediate success but the model really never caught on with the general public. Only 19,130 examples were built for the three model years that Willys-Overland built the vehicle.

Some blamed weak advertising while others thought that the vehicle didn’t offer quite the utility the public demanded. Since Willys considered the Jeepster a sporty vehicle only two wheel drive was offered. In addition, the Jeepster was considered a bit pricey with a sticker price just under $1,800. Competitively other automakers offered V-8’s around that price. In 1950 only a four and six cylinder engine was offered.

1950 jeepster

As mentioned, the Jeepster was built on a CJ chassis.The Jeepster still had the appearance of the CJ but there were many differences. The Willys Jeepster had seating for four, a normal windscreen along with side windows, regular doors, and a convertible top that was retractable.

The Willys Jeepster’s body was the last American produced phaeton design with plastic side curtains and no roll up windows. During the Willys Jeepsster’s production run the only real changes were to the grille area.

1950 Willys Jeepster Specifications

For 1950 there were four engines offered. These included, two four cylinders and two six cylinders. The four cylinders both were straight 134 cubic inches with one delivering 60 HP and the other 73 HP.

The sixes were straight 148 cubic inch and a 161 cubic inch. Horsepower on these were 73 and 75 respectively. All engines had solid lifters and Carter carburetors along with a vacuum booster fuel pump.

Transmission is a standard floor shifted Borg-Warner synchromesh three-speed manual.

Brakes are hydraulic four-wheel drums

The Willys Jeepster dimensions included an overall length of 174.8 inches, height 62 inches, width 69 inches, wheelbase 104 inches. Curb weight 2,400 lbs. 

50 willys jeepster

Total 1950 Jeepster production was 5,835 vehicles. Total Jeepster’s built by Willys-Overland from 1948 through 1950 was 19,130 vehicles.

Related Auto Museum Online articles include…

1967 Kaiser Jeepster Commando

1950 Willys Wagon

Reference material for this article includes..Jeep: The History of America’s Greatest Vehicle by author Patrick R. Foster..Jeep: Eight Decades from Willys to Wrangler by Patrick R. Foster..THE CIVILIAN JEEP – A Guide To Its Features And Evolution, Years 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 by Willys Jeepster.

The Willys Jeepster Collector Car

In general all Jeepster’s make excellent collector cars. The first generation produced by Willys-Overland are both rare and highly collectible. Examples such as the excellently restored one featured in this article are sought after vehicles.

1950 jeepster

Current auction sales results for the 1950 Jeepster cover a wide range. Good condition examples might be in the $17,000 to $20,000 range. Excellent condition examples are mostly found in the $25,000 to $35,000 range and showroom condition models are found at about $35,000 up to $75,000.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)