Vehicles like this 1954 Willys are a rare yet exhilarating sight. One look and you just know that someone made this build their passion and never gave up on it. Whether it was a commissioned job or one of personal motivation, the level this vintage pickup was taken to was something its 1950s designers never envisioned — but if they could see it now, they’d be in love with it!
The build was the work of Colorado Sand Cars in Windsor, Colorado. Tom Frank, its founder/owner, graciously spoke to us to give us the full scoop on what it to make this build happen.
The engine is a 650-horse 7.4-liter LSX V8 connected to a 6L90E transmission.
For the interior, the dashboard was pushed back about 4-inches, and the spartan look was maintained with just a coating of Bullhide liner to deaden the sound. PRP seats were installed to keep riders safe.
And complete it Frank did. But it wasn’t without some difficulties along the way.
“All of the custom pieces we had to make for this vehicle were challenging,” said Frank. “We did all hand-bent, hand-fitted components and parts. I took an old-school approach to it, planning on graph paper, measuring by hand, hand-made the part and then did test fitting. Once the pieces started coming together toward the end, that gave me a great feeling. I could tell we were making a really cool vehicle.”
One highlight of the Willys is its custom suspension system. Frank created one-off A-arms on the front that wrapped around the grille, creating a striking appearance and stance. He also made the trailing arms for the rearend, and fitted Fox coilovers and triple-bypass shocks on all four corners. “She’s got 24-inches of travel in the front, and 28-inches out back,” commented Frank.
All of the exposed metal was also given a rustic and well-used look that Orback wanted; this was done using a rusting agent formula and then clearcoated to keep it from air exposure. It ties in well with the paint, which Frank told us was a factory green paint from back in the day.
Wilwood disc brakes, VisionX lights, Vintage Air air conditioning, 17-inch Method wheels, and 37-inch Cooper Discoverer STT Pro tires round out the Willys. But phrasing it like that doesn’t do this project justice. This pickup is far more than the sum of its parts! .
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