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Vehicle to be offered for Auction sale January 27th – 31st, 2016 at Russo and Steele’s 16th Annual Scottsdale Arizona Auction. Please contact us for more information.
World-famous for the tough and practical Jeeps that mobilized Allied armies and helped to win World War II, Willys-Overland remains equally famous today for its two-door coupes of 1933 to 1941. Originally designed as simple, economical, and reliable transportation when new, Willys coupes went on to rule America’s dragstrips during the infamous “Gasser Wars” of the 1960s. Inexpensive and featuring a short wheelbase and lightweight, streamlined bodies, Willys coupes, particularly those from 1940 and 1941, were a natural choice as the basis for a highly competitive drag racing car. Their large engine compartments could accommodate most available V-8 engines of the 1950s and 1960s, while their stout basic structure accepted full-on racing suspensions, ever-growing rear slicks, braking parachutes, roll cages, and wheelie bars.
“Gassers” emerged from the NHRA’s Gas Coupe and Sedan rules of the 1950s, which mandated standard wheelbases, limited engine setback, gasoline fuel, and little else. Two groups of Gasser classes emerged, with A through K/Gas for cars with naturally aspirated engines and the top AA/GS through CC/GS classes reserved for the quickest and lightest supercharged cars. As the full-bodied equivalent of the wild Altered roadsters of the era, Gassers still carried some resemblance to street cars, with blistering performance and thrilling, wheels-up launches accompanied by incredible amounts of noise and billowing tire smoke, drawing record crowds in the process. Their legend continues uninterrupted today, with the Willys name and the word “Gasser” virtually inseparable. Unforgettable examples include Charlie Hill and Pork Zartman’s unblown, 283-powered “Filthy Forty,” the sanitary blown ’41 coupes of “Big John” Mazmanian and K.S. Pittman, and the team of Stone, Woods, and Cook.
Naturally, legions of street rodders also gravitated to the Willys coupe, and with the intense creativity of today’s builders and parts suppliers, Willys coupes continue to reign among legions of enthusiasts as being perhaps the quintessential American hot rod. The new wave of hot-rod builders from the 1980s to the present also favours the incomparable bodylines of the Willys coupe, injecting incredible construction quality, design, and modern technology into their builds. Known as the “Swoopster” for its curvaceous body and totally unique presence, this 1941 Willys-based roadster is a freshly completed, full-on custom build representing the best classic elements and modern details. Power is delivered by a Corvette LS1 fuel injected V-8 engine mated to a 4L60E automatic overdrive transmission for the perfect blend of on-demand horsepower and easy cruising. Topped by a removable hardtop, the Swoopster glides down the road on Billet Specialties wheels, air suspension courtesy of Air Ride Technologies, a Heidt’s front end and rear 4-link, and 4-wheel disc brakes. Custom leather upholstery provide comfortable all-weather cruising pleasure. Steeped in American car culture with an awesome show-quality modern twist, the “Swoopster” is the perfect time machine!