HomePick of the Day1949 Willys Overland Jeepster

1949 Willys Overland Jeepster


The Willys Jeepster was a more-civilized highway version of the military Jeep
The Willys Jeepster was a more-civilized highway version of the military Jeep

The Willys Jeep was still being lauded as one of the true heroes of World War II when the small automaker decided to come out with a more-civilized version designed for the family man.

The Pick of the Day is one of those, a 1949 Willys Overland Jeepster that the seller says is a clean and rust-free Arizona car that is all ready to drive with the top down. These quirky rear-wheel-drive roadsters might not have the four-wheeler credentials of the classic CJ, but they do make a statement all their own.

The Jeepster with its foul-weather gear erected
The Jeepster with its foul-weather gear erected

The Jeepster listed on ClassicCars.com is offered by a Boise, Idaho classic car dealer who says it is highly original and was recently purchased from an Arizona retiree.

“The Willys Jeepster was designed to appeal to American GIs returning from WWII who were looking for a sporty version of the bulletproof Willys Jeeps they had driven and maintained throughout European battlefronts,” the seller states. “It is extremely rare as only 2,307 Jeepsters were built in 1949 with the “Go-Devil” 4-cylinder motor.”

The Go-Devil engine is the original-type flathead four-banger that powered the WWII Jeeps, and while it is a solid motivator, it’s not going to win any prizes for performance. Some wags say the name means it has a hell of a time getting up hills. Not strictly true, and the Jeepster is equipped with an overdrive manual transmission that should make highway cruising fairly effortless.

The Jeepster gets its roadster derivation by not having rollup windows and such, having a removable fabric top and window curtains for driving in inclement weather, just like the regular Jeeps. The deployed rainy-day equipment looks good in the many photos that accompany this ad.

Everything about this Willys is in great condition and in perfect running order, including a fresh set of Coker Classic tires, according to the seller, which makes it seems like a bargain at $19,900.

Though lacking off-road capability, the Jeepster looks like it could blaze a trail as the hit of the next local car rally or cruise-in.

As a side note, there’s always much discussion as to whether Willys should be pronounced as “willies” or “willis.” I’m all for the latter pronunciation.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.
  1. What a great car at a great price. I have a 1950 with a 6 in burgundy red and black, I really wanted a yellow one like this one.
    If it is still available in a month or two when my is sold I would buy this one.
    I have a good friend in Nampa so the deal would go quick.

  2. Scott, click on the link at the end of the article where it says ‘To view this listing on ClassicCarscom, see Pick of the Day.’ That will take you to the ad.

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