1953 Willys Pickup

Classic and Hot Rod Cars And Their Stories

Modified 1953 Willys Pickup Rear
1953 Willys Pickup Truck

In 2007 when my wife Carol decided to start a mobile auto detailing business, she needed a truck to haul all her equipment. We began by looking at several year old used trucks and decided they were all to expensive and generic looking. Searching Ebay we found a modified 1953 Willys pickup that was not only perfectly suited to her needs but also had a unique look making it stand out in a crowd. Having always been a fan of the Willys Wagon, we looked into thoe first but in the end felt the pickup would provide more convenient access to her equipment. Modifications to her truck included a Chevy 350 CID V-8, Edelbrock carburetor and intake manifold, mild cam, 3 speed automatic transmission, 4 wheel drive transfer case, locking Warn hubs, bucket seats, tilt steering wheel, Vintage air conditioning, locking dual side mount large ammo can storage, side steps, front and rear sealed compressed air storage tubular bumpers, heavy duty suspension, solid oak side rails, 35 x 12.5 Cooper tires on 16” aluminum rims. We even had a custom drop hitch step welded up making it easier to get into the elevated bed which was about 10 inches higher than stock. The truck was then fitted with a 55 gallon water tank, water pump,gas powered generator and pressure washer making it a completely self contained Mobile Auto Detailing truck . We sold it when we decided to move, we would have had to strip it to ship it and her business came with a truck.

The Willys pickup truck, along with the Willys Jeepster and Willys Jeep Wagon, was the predecessor to today's modern Jeep line. Also known as the Jeep truck, its ruggedness made it popular among hunters, farmers and construction workers. The full-size pickup truck was manufactured from 1947 to 1965 by the Willys-Overland Motor company with more than 200,000 units produced during this time. The company changed its name to Kaiser-Jeep in 1963 and eventually became known as the Jeep Corp. in 1970. Over its lifetime, the Willys pickup was produced in various configurations, featuring several engines and very minor exterior changes.

The Willys pickup began its life with a 2.2-liter, L-head straight-four gas engine, producing 60 horsepower at 4,000 rpm and 105 ft.-lbs. of torque at 2,000 rpm. This engine had a 6.48:1 compression ratio. Introduced in 1950 and replacing the previous engine was a 2.2-liter, F-head straight-four with 72 horsepower at 4,000 rpm and 114 ft.-lbs. of torque at 2,000 rpm. It had a compression ratio of 7.4:1. Both 2.2-liter engines had a bore of 3.13 inches and a stroke of 4.38 inches. The 1954 model year brought an additional engine offering: a 3.7-liter, L-head straight-six, making 115 horsepower at 3,800 rpm and 190 ft.-lbs. of torque at 1,800 rpm. It had a bore of 3.94 inches, a stroke of 4.38 inches and a compression ratio of 6.86:1. Finally, in 1963, the last Willys pickup engine was introduced while the second F-head engine was dropped. This new engine was a 3.76-liter, single overhead cam straight six, producing 140 horsepower at 4,000 rpm and 210 ft.-lbs. of torque at 1,750 rpm. Its bore was 3.34 inches, its stroke was 4.38 inches, and its compression ratio was 8.5:1.

The Willys pickup was introduced in two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive options, the Willys pickup featured only four-wheel drive after 1950. The Borg-Warner T-90 transmission, a column-shift three-speed manual, was available on the Willys pickup from 1947 to 1949. After 1949, the truck featured a floor-shift version of the T-90 transmission. The Willys pickup had a Dana/Spicer 25 front axle and a semi-floating Timken 51510 rear axle. Drum brakes were used in both the front and rear wheels.

Except for its truck bed, the Willys pickup had a similar appearance to the Willys Jeepster and Wagon models. The pickup underwent only a few style changes over the years. A new front end was added in 1950, consisting of a V-shaped grill with five horizontal bars. A one-piece windshield replaced its former two-piece windshield in 1960. All Willys pickups had exterior dimensions that consisted of a wheelbase of 118 inches, a length of 183.8 inches, a width of 73 inches and a height of 74.4 inches. The pickup's curb weight was 3,100 pounds to 3,300 pounds, depending on the year and model of the truck.

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