Willys Overland Jeepster

In 1942, respected industrial designer Brooks Stevens authored an SAE paper and an article in Popular Mechanics that described his proposal for an all new vehicle that would be based on Willys-Overland's military Jeep, but targeted for the civilian market. His designs and sketches intrigued Willys-Overland management, who hired Stevens and funded a special project for him to further develop his designs and produce a prototype of this new passenger car. Stevens' "6/66" prototype used a Jeep L-head 4 cylinder engine but the chassis and sheet metal were all new. Independent of Steven's project, John Tjaarda (designer of the Lincoln Zephyr) pitched a deal to Willys Overland management that a consortium of 5 car companies could be formed to design, build and market 3 new civilian vehicles based on Willys-Overland's now famous military Jeep. One of Tjaarda's vehicles was a "sporty" passenger car with a lowered frame but without the Jeep's trademark 4 wheel drive. The proposed "industrial consortium" never came to be, but Willys-Overland management was now determined to make Jeep-based vehicles for the civilian market. Stevens was asked to hone his designs further and these innovative plans resulted in a "utilitaritian" but sporty vehicle that was based on the famous Jeep platform, and would eventually be named the "Jeepster". Initially, the Jeepster's design showed smooth fender-less sides and no doors, but later Stevens added doors and appropriated rear fenders from Willy's new pickup trucks, to complete the final Jeepster design. Production began on April 3, 1948 but with a $1765 price tag, this new "Jeep Phaeton" was met with only mild enthusiasm by the public, and only 10,326 units were manufactured. For 1949, the price dropped to $1495 for the 4-cylinder model, but the new "Lightening" 6-cylinder motor was now available as an option. Only 3350 Jeepsters were built in 1949. For the 1950 model year, the Jeepster sported a newly designed front grille and interior instrumentation, a "counter-balanced" convertible top and optional "Hurricane" 4-cylinder engine. 1950 Jeepster sales of 5,845 units were disappointing, leading Willys-Overland management to announce that 1950 would be the last model year for the Jeepster (curiously the last few Jeepsters made were sold in 1951 and titled as 1951 models). Total production for 1948-1951 was 19,131 units. Kaiser Corporation acquired Willys-Overland in 1953, and in 1968 Kaiser introduced a completely modernized "Jeepster". Later the Jeep line was acquired by American Motors who continued to market this sporty phaeton as the "Jeep Commando" - dropping the "Jeepster" name forever.
Length: 174.0"
Height: 62.0"
Width: 69.0"
Weight: 2890 lbs.
Wheelbase: 104"
Production: 19,131 units
Base Price: $1614
Wheel Size: 15"
Tire Size: 6.70x15"
Ground Clearance: 8.13"
F-head 4 cyl: 134.2 c.i. (60 hp)
L-head 6 cyl: 148.4 c.i. (72 hp)


1948 Willys Overland Jeepster
Fiesta Yellow & Princeton Black
1948 Willys Overland Jeepster
dashboard & steering wheel
1948 Willys Overland Jeepster
4-cylinder engine
1948 Willys Overland Jeepster
front view
1949 Willys Overland Jeepster
rear view with convertible top boot
1949 Willys Overland Jeepster
Fiesta Yellow & Princeton Black
1949 Willys Overland Jeepster
close-up shot of side molding
1949 Willys Overland Jeepster
beautiful stainless steel front trim
1949 Willys Overland Jeepster
stock dashboard & steering wheel
1949 Willys Overland Jeepster
willys-overland bumper logo
1950 Willys Overland Jeepster
beautiful red metallic paint
1950 Willys Overland Jeepster
multiple trophy winner
1950 Willys Overland Jeepster
great chrome on front grille
1950 Willys Overland Jeepster
Willys-overland rear bumper logo
1968 Jeepster Commando
Convertible, beautiful restoration
1968 Jeepster Commando
Convertible, Glacier White #396
& President Red #398 paint
1968 Jeepster Commando
very stock interior,
dash and steering wheel
1969 Jeep Jeepster Commando
Painted Champagne White #432
over President Red #398
1969 Jeep Jeepster Commando
running with stock wheel covers
Willys Overland Jeepster
painted black over orange
Willys Overland Jeepster
looks massive with a lift kit
Willys Jeepster painted
Sportsman's Green & Fiesta Yellow
Willys Jeepster with trailer,
selling carved Tikis!
Willys Overland Jeepster
painted factory Luzon Red



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