Side of the Road 22: 1950 Willys-Overland VJ-3 Jeepster – $4,500

Mar 2020 | Side of The Road, Truckin Tuesday

Sometimes you learn about a nearby side of the road find from one of your blog readers.  That’s exactly what happened over the weekend when reader Lou S. came across this 1950 Willys-Overland Jeepster listed here on Facebook Marketplace in nearby Frenchtown, New Jersey.  The current caretaker Kurt is asking $4,500.  A quick check of the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms Kurt has Jeepster priced $3,600 less than the current #4 “Fair” (Daily Driver) estimate of $8,100.  If you are serious about buying this Jeepster, you can start the conversation by calling Kurt at (908) 963-3644.

Willys-Overland Motors ambitiously produced the Jeepster from 1948 to 1950 in hopes of filling a gap in the company’s product line.  Specifically, their hope was a softened Jeep-based vehicle offering a high level of standard features could cannibalize sales from traditional convertible cars. A total of almost 20,000 were manufactured.

The 1950 model year saw the VJ-3 Jeepster’s first styling revisions, which included a new instrument panel and redesigned front end featuring a V-shaped grille with horizontal chrome trim.  1950 also saw the introduction of inline four cylinder F4-134 Hurricane engine replacing the earlier “Go Devil.”  To get more power from the engine, Willys engineers changed the induction system from the Go-Devil’s side-valve configuration to an inlet-over-exhaust configuration, or “F-head”. This allowed the valves to be larger and the combustion chamber to be smaller, improving flow and increasing the compression ratio. The compression ratio rose from 6.5:1 in the Go-Devil engine to 7.5:1 in the Hurricane engine.

What we like about this Jeepster is the fact its only a two-owner example that comes with all of the records dating back to the original owner.  While the floors and body of this Jeepster require significant rust repair, the solid X-frame supporting the body allows this Jeepster to continue being driveable.  During his ownership, Kurt replaced the tires, brake lines, fuel lines, and reconditioned the radiator to regain its driveability.  In addition to the complete documentation, this Jeepster comes complete with the original side curtains.  If you have the tools and the skills to restore the body on your own, then this might make a great restoration project.  However, we agree with Kurt’s assertion this Willy would make a very cool Rat Rod that will get you many compliments at each show you drive it to.  Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s Kurt’s Facebook Marketplace description:

“Runs and drives well, turn key and go. 5 New tires and brakes, brakelines and fuellines, fuelpump, waterpump, reconditioned radiator. Fun to drive “three on the tree”

Do you have a Jeepster story you’d like to share?  Comment below and let us know!

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