Is This Jeep The Perfect Go-Anywhere Vintage Truck?
Photography courtesy of Bonhams
Last weekend, I took a long overdue vacation with the wife. We loaded up the SUV, departed our San Diego adobe, and headed north to Yosemite National Park. My wife is a Golden State native, well versed in the wonders of California, but I’m quite novice when it comes to anything north of Santa Barbara, so I was pretty stoked for our extended weekend of glamping—we stayed in a heated “tent” with a full-size bed—hardly roughing it in the outdoors.
Still, hiking California’s uppermost breathtaking landscape was an incredible and challenging adventure. During our trip, I promised the wife I’d do my best to refrain from speaking automotive jargon, but my inner petrolisti gave way when I saw an RV towing a Volkswagen Thing! (Even the Misses got excited when she noticed it.) Most RV tow cars are boring modern econoboxes, but that Type 181 got me thinking: what other classics would make an optimal tow vehicle of superior taste?
Well, when I saw this 1943 Willys “Jeep” headed for the upcoming Greenwich Concours D’Elegance listed on Bonhams, a montage of the great outdoors in the land of the red, white, blue overtook my conscious—it’s the ideal set of camping wheels.
Originally manufactured from 1941 to 1945 for U.S. service members in the Second World War, these utilitarian battlefield tools earned their place in the civilian sector after war’s end in the form of the updated Jeep CJ. This early Willys Jeep was acquired by a collector who then hired Willys Acres Inc. of Ontario, Canada, to carry out a complete ground up restoration.
Refinished in its factory olive drab matte paint with white stencil livery, the restoration included an added rear bench seat, flank mounted shovel and axe, jerry cans for extra fuel, ammo boxes, a radio, and a capstan (decorative) winch. A new folding canvas roof, bumper rope for added ruggedness, and a matching 1944 trailer complete the aesthetics.
Powered by its original 60 horsepower 134 cubic inch “Go-Devil” inline four-cylinder mated to a three-speed manual transmission, this little 4×4 is ready to transport four occupants and enough camping supplies for as long as you and your friends are willing to retreat from society.
If you’ve got an RV and are seeking an inexpensive classic tow vehicle with style and utility, I can’t think of a better choice. If you’re not retired (i.e. – lacking the RV), then I suggest getting out in the open the old fashioned way: by driving there in this dependable, easy to work on, and robust classic symbol of America.
This 1/4-ton mil-spec icon will go anywhere…at a pace that’ll allow you to savor the scenery. You may not get to your destination quickly, but isn’t that the point?
– Comprehensively restored by Willys Acres Inc.
– Complete with period correct accessories
~60 horsepower, 134 cubic inch L-Head “Go-Devil” inline four-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission, four-wheel telescopic hydraulic suspension with semi-elliptical leaf springs, and four wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 80 inches.
Chassis no.: 288563