1941 Willys Americar

1941 Willys Americar


Owner: Peggy Hines



"Everyone has a dream"

Everyone has a dream. Sometimes that dream is a 1941 Willys Americar 441. But what if you like the 4-door sedan styling, but not the four doors. If you can't find one of those (and you won't because Willys didn't make them), get yourself a four-door sedan and eliminate two of the factory supplied entrances. That's what Tim Hines did to create this one of a kind Willys Street Rod. And who would know by looking at it that Willy's Overland never made a 2-door sedan?

One look at this bronzed beauty and you'll have to agree that they should have Tim, a native of Southern California's Redondo beach, found this particular specimen in Pennsylvania in 2002 with a little help from a copy of Streetscene magazine. The car was then shipped cross country to California where plans were made to transform it. Tim was born in Redondo's South Bay area in 1941, hence his desire for a '41 Willys. A desire he had only partially satisfied with the previous purchase of a '41 Willys pickup truck.

Initially Tim took the car to a local fabricator by the name of Brian Smith. Brian was responsible for cutting the body to turn the 4-door into a 2-door. Once that was complete, Tim tranferred the car to man named Jack Fields. Jack handled details like the rain gutters, a rear roll pan, a 3-inch extension of the rear fenders and the addition of a hood scoop. Both Brian and Jack did some real outstanding metal/fabrication work on this body. While all this was happening tim purchased a 350 small block crate motor, added some Dart heads, a pair of 600 cfm Edelbrocks and 671 BDS Blower to boost compression to 9:1. After getting most of the car done and into driving condition, Tim left Redondo and moved South to Temecula, just north of the San Diego county line. This meant that he needed to find new help for his project that was closer to his new home. On a Friday in late 2005 he stopped by our shop, looked around, liked what he saw, and discussed having us do some additional work on his "dream" car. A week later Tim passed away and went to that great "Gasser Gathering" in the sky.

It had been Tim's plan to take the car, while still under construction, to the 2005 "Run To The Sun" show at Lake Havasu, AZ. He never got the chance. As a tribute to Tim, his wife Peggy decided to finish the car for him. Knowing that Tim had been considering our shop, they gave us the honor of finishing it for him. In October 2006, Peggy, Tim's wife, took the Willys to the "Run To The Sun" show in Tim's place. The car took a Top Ten award and will soon be featured in print. Primarily we finished the bodywork on the car, painted it, and did the interior and wiring. We also fabricated the grille piece for the hood scoop, had the trim and chrome redone and added a few amenities like a Vintage Air system.
The upholstery is BMW brown leather over Glide Engineering seats and custom door panels made here in our upholstery shop.Lecarra Banjo steering wheel sits atop an ididit tilt-column. To accomodate the controls and vents for the Vintage Air system, we fabricated a lower dash extension.United Speedometer Service refurbished the original guage panel. It looks stock, but its all modern inside.

This 350 small block is crate motor with Dart heads, a pair of 600 cfm Edelbrocks carburetors and a 671 BDS Blower. All this boosts compression to 9:1. This mouse definitely roars. Step on this gasser and you'll gain a whole new appreciation for those padded leather seats. Tim did not originally plan to put a blower on this motor (he hadn''t put one in his truck), but pressure from his fellow gassers prompted him to do so. What he did not want was a blower sticking out through cut hood as we often see. he wanted it all under the hood. So, Tim had the hood scoop added (before the car was brought to us), and we added a hand-crafted grille for it that would match the Willys stock grille.

When Tim's new Willys sedan arrived from Pennsylvania he is reported to have said "Too many doors." When asked by his buddies why he didn't just buy a coupe, he replied, "Coupes are for chickens." Willys did not make a 2-door Sedan in 1941. But 65 years later, so-called Willys experts found themselves debating this fact at the '06 Run-To-The-Sun at Lake Havasu. So seamless was the conversion from four- to two-doors, that some were fooled into thinking Willys-Overland must have snuck one by them. Family members who heard these arguments had a hard time keeping a straight face.