Category Archives: Willys

Jeep transcends its parentage

Chrome dome

Chrome dome

When the Jeep Wagoneer was introduced in 1963 the words “luxury” and “SUV” had not yet been commonly juxtaposed.  In fact, nobody called vehicles with off road capabilities SUVs.  They were, for the most part, just called “Jeeps.” Seven years after Wagoneer’s debut Land Rover introduced its Range Rover and it was just a matter of a few decades before everybody — Porsche, Cadillac, Mercedes, etc. — got into the act.  SUVs wearing Bentley, Maserati and even Rolls Royce badges are in the offing but let’s revisit “ground zero.”   Here’s a super clean Wagoneer Limited that’s one of the very last produced. That parking ticket doesn’t sully its thoroughbred look but rather imparts a sense of horsey hauteur.  That’s a tiny red, white and blue American Motors corporate logo on the grill.

Top of the line

Top of the rectilinear line

www.wagoneerworld.com

The Wagoneer, styled by industrial designer Brooks Stevens, was launched when Jeep was part of Kaiser Industries.  Jeep, in fact, was the only surviving automotive division of Kaiser, the company which had the foresight to have gobbled up Willys, the company that had introduced the civilian Jeep (CJ) almost directly after VJ Day.  The Wagoneer was meant to replace Willys’ Jeep Station Wagon (catchy model name, eh?) which soldiered on for another two years. Wagoneer continued in production until 1991 though the brand and its assets changed hands many more times.  AMC bought out Kaiser, Renault bought AMC, Chrysler bought Jeep and, thereafter, Daimler (Mercedes Benz) acquired Chrysler. Daimler unloaded Chrysler which then went bankrupt and has  now reemerged as a unit of FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles).  This means that the vehicular icon of America’s efforts in World War II was, at one time or another, under French, German and Italian control, though FCA is, technically, based in the Netherlands.  Go figure.

It's got a case of the Willys

It’s got a case of the Willys

The Jeep Station Wagon, seen here in a shot contributed by Feral Cars Field Scout Andrew Keeler, was the first all-steel station wagon though the the car had vestigial hints of timber in its embossed body panels, much in the style of Tudor tract houses.

Wood is good

Wood is good

This AMC-era Briarwood was a variant of the Jeep Cherokee which had actually been designed and initially produced under Renault’s aegis, continuing through the Chrysler and DaimlerChrysler reigns.  The Wagoneer was its “big brother” until replaced by the Grand Cherokee in 1992.

Live/work

Live/work

Wagoneer shared much with a two door variation, confusingly named Cherokee but unrelated to the later one, and was the donor vehicle for the Gladiator pick-up, the production of which continued for 26 years. We found a very early one bearing a camper on its bed one foggy day. Looks like somebody’s into “roughing it” on wheels.

Identity crisis Jeepster

Identity crisis Jeepster

We also encountered two latter day Jeep products and this seems as good an opportunity as any to share.  That contraption, in ‘Renegade Plum’ paint and wearing a most un-Jeep like nose, is a ’72 Jeepster Commando.  These were introduced back in ’66 to compete with the likes of International’s Scout and Ford’s (pre-OJ) Bronco.

Going Commando

Going Commando

We much prefer the look of this earlier Jeepster Commando which is more true to its military heritage. This black beauty, vintage ’68, is a contractor’s everyday work truck: not much luxury but lots of utility.  Its steering wheel center (below) gives some indication of a labor intensive life.

Dirt at work

Dirt at work

We close with a shot of a much less pampered Wagoneer than our opener.  It’s only a few years older but far less pristine. It still has a lots of rugged presence, accentuated by a standup hood ornament we find silly but marketers apparently felt it denoted luxury, as if the fake wood siding weren’t enough.

Grand illusion

Paint your Wagoneer

Upright citizien

Upright citizen

One last look at that quite perfect  and very snazzy Wagoneer Limited. Note: AMC/Jeep badge on the left.

Back atcha

Back atcha

As you would expect, there are experts out there who cater to those who fetishize these brilliantly enduring machines.  The top dog in the field is Kerrville, Texas-based Leon Miller a/k/a “The Wagonmaster.” He buys, restores and sells Wagoneers and has lots of virtually perfect ones on offer if you have the itch.  Check out www.wagonmaster.com to view the current inventory, priced between $45,000 – $58,000.  Certainly not cheap but, as noted, they don’t make them anymore.  And, wouldn’t you know it?  Leon has some competition some 300 miles away in Richardson, TX, the home of www.wagoneerworld.com.

If time travel is your thing, go back to 1966 and watch this Wagoneer TV spot filmed “down the shore” in Avalon, NJ.

If you’ve stalked a feral car and would like to submit a photo of it for posting consideration please send it to us:   info (at) feralcars (dot)com OR through our Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DRIVEN to remind

Slide show ride

Slide show ride

Ever so brief reminder here, should you find your way to Palm Springs this Wednesday evening, February 19. Drive over to DRIVEN, an art installation sponsored by Feralcars.com, featuring the noir car art of Eric Nash plus curated car show by Matthew Reader. The evening’s host is Billy F Gibbons.   The fun starts at 5 and we’ll be running a big, boss FeralCars slide show that includes this ’64 Buick Riviera booty shot and lots of other scrumptious car flesh visuals.

Cadillac by Nash, yes it really is

Cadillac by Nash

Host d with ehydrated band members + The Reverend Willy G + Wiilys + freeze dried band members a.k.a "Flavor KryZZtals"

The Reverend Willy G + Wiilys + freeze-dried band members a.k.a “Flavor KryZZtals”

The Archdeacon Gallery is located at 865 North Palm Canyon Drive, deep in the heart of Palm Springs’ très chic Uptown Arts District.   Stop by to ogle, mingle and enjoy a cocktail courtesy of the good folks at Pura Vida

Speaking of "Dat Gibbons boy!"

Speaking of “dat Gibbons boy”

Product placement pro

Product placement pro

 

If you’ve stalked a feral car and would like to submit a photo of it for posting consideration please send it to us:   info (at) feralcars (dot)com OR through our Facebook page.

 

DRIVEN: hosted by Billy F Gibbons + feralcars.com, 2/19 in Palm Springs

Art + Cars = feral fun!

Art + Cars = feral fun!

We’re excited to be involved with DRIVEN, an event that features the drawings of Eric Nash and some of his automotive subject matter in the flesh.  If you find yourself anywhere near Palm Springs on February 19th please come on by.  Eric’s art is nothing short of brilliant and we intend to populate the curb with some freaky feral finds.

Host for the event is ZZ Top’s Billy F Gibbons who knows a thing or two about cool cars.   Here he is with a fine ’66 Mercury.

Clearly, Billy is crazy 'bout a Mercury

Clearly, Billy is crazy ’bout a Mercury

Click here for an interview with Eric Nash by Angela Romeo.  The guy is a talent!

Billy Gibbons spoke to Autoline about some the cars in his collection.  Good stuff.

And here’s “that Gibbons boy” enlisting the help of Manny, Moe & Jack to help with an “out of round” tire.

Jeepers! ZZ Topper seems to have a case of the Willys

Jeepers! ZZ Topper seems to have a case of the Willys

If you’ve stalked a feral car and would like to submit a photo of it for posting consideration please send it to us:   info (at) feralcars (dot)com OR through our Facebook page.

Where there’s a Willys there’s a way..

Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 9.23.37 PMAfter the war – the big one, WWII – Willys-Overland adapted the legendary Jeep for civilian use and, in 1946, launched a 2 door station wagon with 4-wheel drive that was produced until 1965.  It’s a hallmark vehicle for several reasons including the fact it was designed by Brooks Stevens, is considered the first all-steel station wagon and, it can be argued, was the first SUV.  Did we mention it’s also kinda funky?  We found this one playing the role of a broken-down prospector’s vehicle in a cactus garden tableau.  Landscaping with landmark vehicles is all the rage these days among the designerati.   Meanwhile, down Havana way, its doppelgänger continues in daily service, one man’s lawn ornament being another’s ride home.Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 9.22.26 PM

Back in 1946 the idea behind this extraordinary vehicle — use it for work in the field and go to the movies with the kids —  was explained by a celebrity spokesman, namely, a cabbage farmer. 

If you’ve stalked a feral car and would like to submit a photo of it for posting please send it to us:   info (at) feralcars (dot)com                                                                                                                            Include your name, location of the car and some thoughts about the vehicle and we’ll look into getting it posted.