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1945 Jeep Willy's

Article about: Fellow Gear Heads, I am taking a break & detour from my Third Reich collection of daggers, swords, knives armbands, buckles, tinnies & fieldgear. It is dang cold in Minnesota today a

  1. #1

    Default 1945 Jeep Willy's

    Fellow Gear Heads,

    I am taking a break & detour from my Third Reich collection of daggers, swords, knives armbands, buckles, tinnies & fieldgear. It is dang cold in Minnesota today and winter has come early. The dreams of cruising last summer are long gone and are packed away in storage with my 1945 Jeep Willy's.

    I know this is slightly 1945 post war piece but something my Veteran Grandfather & Veteran Dad worked on together for years. I have posted some pictures for you to enjoy and if you are ever here we will go for a ride. Details below:

    This 1945 Willy’s Jeep was one of the first models off the assembly line in Toledo, OH. She was manufactured by Willy’s Overland Motors for Jeep. These Willy’s Jeeps were made available for purchase by civilians after the war’s end in 1945. They started with Serial Number 10000 as a starting point off the manufacturing assembly line. My serial plates on the engine block are struck with number 10296. It was number 296 off the initial production line. They only made roughly 1850 Jeeps in the first model year of 1945. This original 1945 body is scarce and tough to find in functional & excellent condition. You won’t find many 1945’s still on the road in decent shape. As listed below the Jeep’s frame was in California for years. The body is virtually rust free with only a few spots around one headlight and on side steps. We have not restored her to the factory original specifications as you can see. Hindsight it could be worth a ton if we would have done so. Priceless memories building it and driving it though.

    It has a 1974 Corvette Engine under her lid. Many of the parts and pieces on the body are original. We obtained the frame from a farm field while in California many years ago. There was very little rust on the body when we found it. The engine and internal parts needed to be gutted and so the work began. We had to do quite a bit of work to integrate such a powerful short block 350 motor into the small Jeep frame. Many hours of engineering, welding, head scratching and planning went into the restoration. The heavy duty suspension, beaded tires, Ramsey winch, corvette engine, KC lights and various components we added make her a tank that gets up and goes. Whether off road or on the highway she is fun to drive. It was a memorable project to work on with my family over the years and certainly has created great memories. We have enjoyed many rides off road and in local parades. They don’t make Jeeps like this anymore. It is a rare and a quality ride for sure. Thanks Dad and Opa for helping build my toy!


    1945 Jeep Willy's1945 Jeep Willy's1945 Jeep Willy's1945 Jeep Willy's1945 Jeep Willy's1945 Jeep Willy's1945 Jeep Willy's1945 Jeep Willy's1945 Jeep Willy's1945 Jeep Willy's1945 Jeep Willy's1945 Jeep Willy's1945 Jeep Willy's1945 Jeep Willy's1945 Jeep Willy's1945 Jeep Willy's1945 Jeep Willy's1945 Jeep Willy's
    Last edited by Rossi; 05-11-2017 at 05:24 AM.

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  2. #2


    Brilliant and i bet that's really fun to drive with that 350 in it!.....
    It's a wasted trip baby. Nobody said nothing about locking horns with no Tigers.

    I'm Spartacus, not really i'm Paul!...

  3. #3


    Hey Rossi , what a beauty and it has big family history too , i love what you have done with her !

    We are the Pilgrims , master, we shall go
    Always a little further : it may be
    Beyond that last blue mountain barred with snow
    Across that angry or that glimmering sea...

  4. #4
    MAP is offline


    Awesome!!!! My best man and roommate in collage had a CJ5 and dropped in a Chevy 350 as well. It was a 3 speed and we would do wheelies down the street.

    Love the story on this one

    "Please", Thank You" and proper manners appreciated

    My greatest fear is that one day I will die and my wife will sell my guns for what I told her I paid for them

    "Don't tell me these are investments if you never intend to sell anything" (Quote: Wife)

  5. #5


    Hi Rossi.

    I also have a Willys CJ-2A - 1946 - but I have made it look
    more like the military M38. It's similar to yours with the
    M38 windshield.
    On mine, the drivers side front fender even has a hole
    in it for military blackout light wiring, as Willys was
    still using up some of their remaining stock of
    WWII MB parts.

    I don't know why, but I do not have
    any digital pics of her.........


  6. #6


    Thanks guys. She is fun to drive and bit of a death trap to fly down the road in. Steve...Send me pictures when and if you take them of your Jeep. I really would love to see them. Well Ontario is just north of me in MN so I might drive up in the Jeep to see yours...road trip!!!! I do now really regret not keeping original engine, finding correct tire sizes, finding all correct parts and restoring to factory specs. Might be worth a bundle. I had a guy offer me $2500 just for the dang Serial Plates #10296 as it was the first model year. Heck I paid $400 for the tub body years ago and probably don't have that much into it. Oh well...She is my little pig with a dress and I love her. Wifey does not as when I pull into the garage it shakes the rafters. Thanks and glad you can appreciate my toy even in the non original / altered state. Guess the Willy's is like a dress dagger...clean or alter it and you diminish value.

    Cheers All! Rossi

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  7. #7


    Lol, I should mention that all the wiring in it is shot
    - badly corroded with the outer coating falling off,
    but I can post a couple of 'before and after'


  8. #8


    Very nice Rossi !! BAD to the bone... G

  9. #9


    Thanks G! Went bogging with some buddies about 3 years ago. That was fun....JUST ONCE! Spent the next few months picking mud from every crevice, cranny, nook, crease and seam. She is now retired to cruising in parades and weekend cruises. About 7 years ago before my grandpa passed we had him & 5 other WWII Veterans on a small Float I pulled in the parade with the Jeep. They all had US Flags draped on their shoulders. There was an honor guard ahead of us as well and the crowd of my home town stood and applauded these guys with salutes, calls and screams. The 4th of July Parade is in Elysian, MN and has thousands come to see it. I was so choked up driving those guys and very honored. So the Jeep is great but that was probably the best thing I ever did with it other than build with my Grandpa and Dad. The sentimental value way up there.

    Here is my Dad's Yellow - 1948 CJ2A Willy's restored more to original specs with a few variations. We just got his done this spring. Another shot of me in my Red Piggy.

    Quote by Gwar View Post
    Very nice Rossi !! BAD to the bone... G
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture 1945 Jeep Willy's   1945 Jeep Willy's  

    Last edited by Rossi; 11-21-2014 at 03:56 AM.

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  10. #10


    I have seen some rusty skeletons of jeeps that look like willys here in mindanao. They are very nice vehicles.
    Collect ROA, Cossack, Schuma and other WW2 Volunteer militaria.

    "Be Humble and kind, for you may find that it was Odin you entertained"

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