Craig’s ’46 Willys

If you fully understand “the Jeep thing” you know it goes back quite a few years; In this case 1946.  This Willys, while obviously not a 100% OEM ’46, still has the old school character with some improvements to increase its trail performance.

The frame is from a Civilian model while the grill, head light hardware and fenders are GPW (Military).  The windshield is also from a civilian with the “Willys” scripts.  The tub is about 90% stainless steel with the concentration of original metal in the cowl and firewall.  Recently, Craig has installed a roll cage that will be getting a solid frame tie-in this winter.  The cage protects the occupants of the very comfortable bucket seats while providing support for a full soft top or bikini top.  For summer wheeling the Jeep also has a tonneau cover for keeping the mud off of any gear behind the seats.

Under the hood sits a fairly stock, freshly rebuilt L-134 4 cylinder engine.  I said fairly stock because this factory issued engine has a custom billet aluminum adapter for a two barrel Webber carb, which he machined himself. Power spins back through a T-90 transmission and splits at a Dana 18 transfer case.  Upfront there is a stock Dana 25 axle with a “Lincoln Locker”.  Craig reports the welded spider gears work wonders in woods but are taking a toll on the under sized differential.  His plan is to scout a later model Dana to replace it with.  Along with the front axle swap will also come a disk brake conversion.  Power crossover steering has already been installed as well as an after market steering wheel.

Under the rear of the Jeep sits a Dana 41 that is also subject to replacement.  Craig said his plan is to perform the front and rear swaps at the same time to make ring and pinion matching much easier and cost effective.  32×11.50 Super Swamper TSL SX’s stand on each corner of the Jeep wrapped around run of the mill black wagon wheels.

In case the specs above let the Jeep some place a little deeper or steeper than Craig may have planned there is an 8000lb Smittybuilt Winch ready to pull on the front bumper.  I recently witnessed it in action, not for self recovery, but to help a full sized late model Chevy out of the mud.  After wheeling Craig can air back up with an onboard compressor.

There is no doubt this Willy’s is still a strong war horse with plenty of fight left to come.  Craig has made it clear there are some awesome upgrades coming down the road for this Jeep.  Be sure to check back with 717 because this is one project you will want to follow!


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