So we got rid of our radical 70’ Camaro with a 427 racing motor. It was too much car. My wife has gotten used to me being around and that car was a widow maker. We wanted to pick up something with power but could shuttle the family around.
I was surfing Craigslist when I saw this yellow dream 1959 Willys Maverick Wagon 4X2. I had the great pleasure of meeting the owners of the Willys, Kelly and Janice. They took such great care of this Willys. This car was actually restored top to bottom in the early 2000’s. Kelly said the previous owners spent around $40K to restore it! It was restored as a promotional vehicle for a coffee shop in L.A.. That business went under and the Willys was sold to Kelly & Janice. They used it mainly as a grocery getter and to shuttle grandkids around for ice cream.
This Willys was built right. It sports a Chevy 350 motor that really moves this wagon because of the lightness of the vehicle. Wagon comes equipped with A/C, power windows, power seats all new gauges, newer seats and interior. This is one of the cleanest Willys classics I have ever seen. These vehicles were work horses and usually did not survive the hard life they were subjected to.
Things Mel and I want to do is add whitewalls, alarm, maybe a cool vintage roof rack and a new aluminum radiator (better cooling). I also want to add wood grain vinyl decals to the recessed rectangular areas on the body to give it more of a “woodie” feel. That is about it because everything is done.
I think this is the original radiator. It does the job and has an electric fan installed. If you have ever owned a classic, traffic can be a real headache because of lack of air flow. These fans run off a thermostat and kick on to keep the engine cool. Someone at some point also added an under the dash switch to manually turn on the electric fan. I drove this wagon home from Stockton about 80+ miles and she did alright.
The seller Kelly told me usually the roof on these wagons are smooth. He said while researching this wagon he could only find one other one that had the linear recesses on top. He mentioned at one point, Willys was in talks with a refrigerator manufacturer to produce body panels and he wonders if maybe this is a prototype???
Another thing we need to look into is maybe raising the Willys a couple of inches. This is due to the fact that the exhaust manifold hangs down and on rare occasions it may drag/rub.
The interior is still very fresh and in overall good condition. Having a power option on this wagon is a trip, because when they were built they were very basic.
All the panels inside have this cool Willys logo design. I actually think there might be speakers under each logo. This thing has a good sound system, but I don’t see any speakers.
Because Willys basically have no dash top, I had to create a small shelf for our Aloha dancer to perform on. I can’t make this a beach wagon without one of these!
Another quark about these wagons is that they don’t have access to the back seat. This means passengers have to enter through the back hatch to sit on the back bench. I guess they didn’t see any issues with that design! Thank god I am the driver because I am too big to crawl around in the back!
This is in no way a Concourse level restoration, but it is one of the cleanest drivers I have ever seen. It has little areas that might need attention, but once it is dialed in that’s it! Here are some other photos, enjoy!
I came across an original waterslide Beach Boys decal and I just had to add it.