Storage Setback: 1948 Willys Jeepster – SOLD!

by | Jul 2022 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Topless Thursday

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September 12, 2022 Update – The seller just updated their latest listing, confirming the sale of their Willys. While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

July 28, 2022 Update – The seller just replaced their fourth listing in as many months with a fresh one.  In it, the seller lists the asking price as only one dollar and, for their latest description, simply asks, “What’s life on Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket without this beauty???? Missing this for sure! Lots of summer (sic) left to enjoy a great condition automobile. Turn the key and drive it.”  as a way to entice potential buyers.

July 19, 2022 Update – The seller just lowered the asking price in their existing Craigslist ad from $22,500 to $19,000. If someone jumps at the opportunity, this Jeepster has officially entered “well-bought” territory.

June 24, 2022 Update – In their third consecutive Craigslist ad in as many months, the seller of this restored Willys Jeepster lowered their asking price by two large from $24,500 to $22,500.

May 28, 2022 Update – The seller just replaced their expiring listing with a fresh Craigslist ad.  In it, the price, pictures, and description pretty much remain the same.

Losing storage space for your classic ride can be a very frustrating experience, especially if it forces you to sell your prized collector car.  Unfortunately, the seller of this restored 1948 Willys Jeepster, originally listed in April 2022 on Craigslist in Bedford, New Hampshire, indicates that’s his motivation for selling his Phaeton. The seller reports that included in the sale are a mechanic’s manual, points, distributor cap, two carburetors, starter, dwell meter, timing light, and a complete spare engine on a wheeled engine dolly.

Currently offered for $22,500 (the original ask was $24,500),, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, confirms the ask is right in line with this guide’s one-year results summary:

As a second data point, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls between this guide’s #2 Very Good” estimate of $22,500 and its #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $37,500.

Unheard of today, the “Phaeton” term in automotive design refers to an open body style without any fixed weather protection.  The term originated from the horse-drawn carriage era that carried over to the early days of the automobile.  A completely open car became less popular as automobile design improved, so 1948-1950 vintage Willy Jeepsters are credited as being the last Phaeton-bodied American cars ever produced.

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.  However, for the price of a comparable Ford convertible that featured roll-up windows, more modern styling, and V8 engines, the Jeepster only offered whitewall tires, hubcaps with bright trim rings, sun visors, a deluxe steering wheel, wind wings, locking glovebox, cigar lighter, and a continental-style spare tire with fabric cover, and plastic side curtains.  Adding to the hard sell was the fact Willys only offered the Jeepster with rear-wheel-drive, which lessened the appeal to existing Jeep enthusiasts. Consequently, these drawbacks combined with a limited marketing and dealer network prevented Jeepster from making a dent in the targeted market segment. As such, Willys barely produced about 20,000 Jeepsters during its three-year production run.

The Motorland Classic Cars YouTube Channel provides a nice overview of what it’s like to start and drive a Willys Jeepster:

In addition to a great color combination, this restored 1948 Willys-Overland Jeepster comes with many extras, including a spare engine.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“1948 WILLYS JEEPSTER – $24,500 or B. R. O. Lost my storage must sell. For Sale is an excellent first-year ’48 Jeepster. Fog lights and spotlights. All lights, horn, and dash indicators work properly. Two-tone blue paint in great condition with dark blue vinyl seats and white convertible soft top and two sets of side curtains – One set are canvas and plastic like the originals, the others are clear acrylic plastic 3/16’ thick. There is no rust. The exterior is in very good condition. The front bumper assembly have been chromed since the when the photo you see in this ad was taken. Has the two extension chrome wrap-around rear bumper pieces recently chromed which are typically found on the other Willys models 

“In car-starved post-WW II America, Willys enjoyed a healthy share of the consumer market. In 1948, Willys built 135,528 vehicles and generated a profit of more than $6.5 million. The company introduced the Jeepster on April 3, 1948, rather late in the model year, and this sporty, open-bodied car has a spot in history as the last true phaeton introduced by a major automaker. The handsome Jeepster had the same front-end styling as the Willys wagon and pickup, but with a fancier look thanks to Stevens’ stainless steel T bar in the grille. While slab-sided like other Willys’ offerings, the Jeepster had a higher cowl, the beltline dropped at the doors and then kicked up again on the quarter panels just aft of the doors. For a lower look, a chrome strip ran along the body side a few inches below the beltline, sweeping up over the cowl. The Jeepster was designed to be a sporty automobile, so Willys offered it solely as a two-wheel-drive model. This model is equipped with Overdrive.

Chrome Bumpers and Trim Rechromed
Wheel Covers Willys “W” chrome hubcaps
Upholstery Dark Blue Vinyl in excellent condition
Door Panels Black Vinyl insert
White convertible top
Floor Blue loop carpet
AM/FM radio behind chromed dash panel on left with speakers in side panels Glove compartment panel on right also chromed.
Engine Willys “Go Devil” L-Head 134 4-cylinder with factory air filter setup and recently rebuilt carburetor
Transmission Three on the tree manual with OD
Included with the vehicle and part of the sale are the following extras, Mechanics manual, points, distributor cap, two carburetors, starter, dwell meter, timing light and a complete spare engine on a wheeled engine dolly.
I have two videos of the car running if you are interested.”

Do you have a Willys-Overland Jeepster story to share?  If so, comment below and let us know!


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