A very special ’40 Willys coupe

Have a look at this beautiful, one-of-a-kind Willys woody coupe constructed in Ohio back in the late 1940s.  


The story and photos came to us from reader John Humason, who wrote in response to the recent MCG 1937-1942 Willys Spotter’s Guide. John is rightly proud of the custom sportsman his dad built from a ’40 Willys Deluxe Coupe back in around 1947, we bet, and we’re proud to share it here.

The senior Humason originally found the Willys marooned on blocks in the back yard of the owner’s parents. Trading a Whizzer-powered bicycle for the coupe, he hauled it home, where he got it running, did a basic mechanical restoration, and performed the unique woodie conversion.



What a great idea: Wood-flavored body styles like the Chrysler Town & Country and Ford and Mercury Sportsman were quite popular at the time—and expensive, even back then. Young Humason built himself a whole bunch of style for a very small outlay. The photos don’t provide much detail about the woodworking, but we think it looks great. As far as we know, the four-cylinder engine and running gear remained stock.


John fills in his dad’s backstory for us: “Jim Humason lived in suburban Warren, Ohio at that time and I believe he found the Willys in nearby Niles, Ohio. He often worked for his dad and family, who owned a string of auto shops and car dealerships.  In the mid-’50s they upgraded from their English Ford franchise to Packard, with my grandfather eventually closing down in 1961 as a Studebaker dealer.  Dad moved to Cincinnati and had a successful (non-automotive) business career.  He did restore another Willys…in ’84 he rebuilt and modernized a 1960 CJ-5.  He passed away in 2003.”


By the way, after trading several emails it dawned on MCG and John Humason that they knew each other. More than a decade ago, they were sharing the pressroom, each of them covering the  Champ Car World Series. John was working the beat for Motorsport.com, MCG for AutoWeek. Small world. Thanks again to John for sharing his dad’s homebuilt but totally stylish Willys woody coupe.


3 thoughts on “A very special ’40 Willys coupe

  1. The car was no doubt outstanding in its days and displays what some talent and good taste and bartering skills can accomplish. Is the color of the car recalled?
    BTW, if anyone has a steel Willys and is looking for a Whizzer, I’d like to talk…..

  2. I LOVE this car!

    Also, it illustrates how flexible hot rodding and customizing was back then. It wasn’t rigid and formalized the way it is today.

  3. Thanks Bill, nicely written. One thing I forgot to mention…dad was just 14 years old when he got his Willys.

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