From the Oldenburg Family Collection
1950 Willys Jeepster
Chassis no. 673VJ 11064
Engine no. 1S 12038
The Willys-Overland Company had a good war, producing more than 335,000 Jeeps for Allied forces between 1941 and 1945. As WWII drew to a close, attention was quickly moving from the conflict and the vehicles required for it to peacetime and the future of the automobile. Now recognizable the world over as rugged, reliable, and sturdy trucks, the Willys Jeep had obvious appeal among the utilitarian markets, and its wagons and pickups introduced in 1946 sold well, but the larger and less utilitarian markets eluded them. The task of turning the mountain man that was the backbone of the Allies into a civilized urban gentleman fell on the shoulders of the very capable visionary designer Brooks Stevens.
Stevens had designed the wagon that was already selling well, but in addition to that he had presented a proposal for a sports roadster similar to the station wagon, both of which, not coincidentally, would use many Jeep components already in production. Thus was born the Jeepster, introduced in 1948.
Initially powered by a 134 cubic-inch engine of pre-WWII provenance, by 1950 the reliable 161 cubic-inch F-head unit powered the Jeepster. Competitively priced and relatively Spartan, what it lacked in creature comforts (there were no roll-up windows only side curtains) it made up for in fun. The roadster idiom was reinforced with chrome stepplates on each rear fender, enabling rear-seat passengers to hike themselves up over the side..
This 1950 Jeepster is striking in deep black with red and black interior and a matched top in fabric with red piping. Restored to a very high standard at a cost of $60,000 some seven years ago, it is apparent that it has seen little road use and that the restoration has held up well in the ensuing years. The author has driven the car and found it to start easy and drive smoothly, with ample torque from the inline six under the hood and smooth shifting through the three-speed, short ratio, column mounted gearbox.
These charismatic cars have long been a favorite ride for the Summer months, this example is sure to provide joy to the owner and anyone they pass!
- Please note that the correct engine number for this vehicle is 1S120538.
Please note that the title for this vehicle is in transit.