"Project Gasser Madness"
~Part 1 ~
~ The Starting Point ~
Enclosed are photos of my 1939 Willys Pickup. As you can see, it’s a complete vehicle and remarkably intact for being 63 years old and never restored. The odometer reads 89,000+ miles. I’m going to try and start the motor sometime down the road…or perhaps I should say “strip” since I don’t intend to make this a street driven vehicle. The motor, as the photo reveals, is complete: possibly this could have been one of those oft heard yarns of “we dropped a battery in it, added gas, and drove it home.”
I heard of the car through a fellow car nut in this area, followed up on the lead, and made a deal with the owner who I’ve known for some years. I just didn’t know he’d picked up this car. In the end, I traded one gasser for another. The car I traded was a 55 Chevy, straight axle, fiberglass tilt front end, ex-drag car that I’d planned to restore. But since I have one of those already, it made sense to go after this Willys. I’ve always wanted a 37-39 Willys with the “Snoopy” front end. Drag dreams do come true if you’re patient.
The history I’ve been given on the car is that it came out of Northern California. The fellow I bought it from had taken it down to the Pomona Swap Meet to sell, had no luck, brought it back to this area, and that’s when I made contact with him.
I like the fact that it had not been a drag car previously. Its history will evolve as it’s built and raced. I also like that Chuck Finders will be building the chassis. His involvement creates sort of an “instant gasser history” for the car; a connection to the past and also with the present.
I’ve a name for the car, but for now just have it referred to as the “GasserMadness Project Willys”. [Dave told me his name for the car, but it's pretty cool and one I've not seen before. I would hate to spill it and have someone else "borrow" the name before he gets to use it, so you'll just have to wait to see what it is! Byron]
I’ve gotten many unexpected comments on the car. This week I had it weighed to complete the registration, and an old timer (meaning older than me, and I’m 58) who was at the agricultural scale here in Lompoc came over, walked around it and then said “You didn’t see many of these even back in the thirties, but every time one came down the road it caught your attention because of the front end and headlights.” Once he learned I was going to turn it into a drag car he was disappointed. Well, that’s the way it goes, “Us crazy kids cutting up and ruining a good Willys.”
My first act of “cutting up” will be to remove the cab and ship it back to Chuck.
By the “weigh”. It weighed 1940 lbs as you see it, and Chuck Finders told me the shipping weight was just over 2000 lbs. This lacks windows, water in the radiator, seats, and a tailgate, so the cars weight shows how intact it still is.
Present this as you see fit. It may be one of the first “Project Cars” in cyberspace.
18 October 2002