This Willys Rural Is The Perfect Family Jeep
One of the most rewarding things about being at Petrolicious is how people from all around the world share stories about how they became hooked on vintage motoring. It’s even better when the vehicle is a bit obscure, has a great history, and lived in a far-off land. Put another way: don’t you just love how the Willys Rural looks?
Reader Bruno Closs recently wrote in to share the story of his family’s Rural, a once-common classic in Brazil. Now a mechanical engineer studying to complete his Master’s in Automotive Engineering in Germany, his attraction for older vehicles was sparked on the day his dad brought home the Rural.
“When I was fourteen years old, my father decided that was time to have a hobby in common again. Previously we had horses, but somehow we both lost the interest in them. In Brazil, the Willys Rural used to be an easy and cheap to get car,” Closs says. “So we did. During a lunch time on a Sunday with my father’s friend, my dad talked about the interest on this specific car. Our guest told us he had just bought one, made it run—and needed to sell it right away. A few beers and laughs later, we had a Rural at our garage.”
For the uninitiated, the Willys Rural is similar to what North Americans had in the Willys Jeep Station Wagon, introduced just after the Second World War in 1946. With a straight six-cylinder engine, 4-speed column shift manual transmission, Closs says it’s a charismatic car that is familiar to many in Brazil.
“Every brazilian has a history with it, or a family member that has some curious situation with the car. Anyplace you park it, someone comes with a life episode,” he says. The best part, however, remains the driving experience, which “mixes archaic technology from the ’40s power plant and controls with that sympathetic station wagon silhouette,” he says. “Somehow, you unwittingly wanna try that. Behind the wheel feels friendly, enormous, and challenging at the same time. Personally, it’s a different driving experience every, time, ever since when I was 14.”
Thankfully, this Rural is in good hands after a 2014 restoration that left the car ready to drive for another few decades. “I rebuilt it for the road, and on the road you will find it…I’m even seriously considering moving it to Germany,” he offered.
My question for readers is this: if you drove a Willys Rural in Europe, where would you drive it to first?