The End of a Long Gone Era

Willys is probably best known for its military jeeps used by the US Armed Forces in WW2. But before that they had made passenger cars and after a few post wars years of making Jeeps for farmers they got back into building cars culminating in the 1950s Willys Aero cars. This Willys Custom from the last year of production is part of next week’s classic auction.

Willys Aero cars were produced from 1952 – 1955 and a few years later the Willys name was retired in America. However, the Jeep name and distinctive looks still live today which is more than can be said for its largely forgotten Aero range of cars. These cars sold reasonably well and were considered compact. These “small” cars had 6 cylinder engines and were relatively economical to run compared to the V8 gas guzzlers that were the norm.

Today, Willys cars are a bit of an unknown to many and few have survived. But in the true Kiwi fashion of taking what we could get in the 1950s, this slightly oddball car was sold new here and is right-hand drive. It is one of two known drivable examples in the South Island (start a club?) and appears to be in solid condition. The Custom was only made in 1955 making it very rare anywhere in the world. It comes with a good selection of spare parts and is ready to take to the next level or leave it as it is and enjoy driving a car that most people won’t have ever seen or heard of before.

This unmistakable piece of 1950s Americana would make a good entry level Beach Hop car and has the bonus of having the steering wheel in the correct location. Being a lazy old six it won’t be fast, and if that timer on the dashboard is to record 0-100kph times it’ll probably need all the 60 available seconds. But this car is more about style than speed and the auction estimate of $7500-$8500 makes it a pretty interesting proposition. More details here.  

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