THE STORY OF “OLD WILLY”
Our Willys is a1958 Jeep CJ-6 Wagon. It is an all original 4 wheel drive vehicle with a Flat Head-Hurricane – 6 Cylinder Motor, and runs on a 6 volt system. It has 50,000 miles.
We have nicknamed him “Old Willy”. We are the 3rd owners of this incredible Willys. He was first purchased in Tacoma, Washington in 1958. Our Uncle Al purchased Old Willy from a car lot in Dallas in 1964. Uncle Al was looking for a 4 wheel drive vehicle that he could use at his family cabin in Eagle Nest, New Mexico. Old Willy stayed up at Eagles Nest, New Mexico until 2010, when we purchased him and brought him to our home.
My husband, Donald was so excited that Uncle Al finally was willing to sell him the Willys, as he had been “coveting” the Jeep since 1984 from the first time he saw it. So the day finally came that Donald and our son Mikeal drove up to New Mexico to transport it back to Texas. He was a little worried about the engine starting up, and that the tires may be too dry rotted. My uncle had purchased another Jeep several years before, and Old Willy had been out of service, but securely kept in a garage there in the mountains.
They opened the garage doors, had to move some storage items out of the way to even be able to sit in the cab. My husband turned the key, and Old Willy started up right away. Now, the next problem was that the wheels were locked up. They put it in neutral, and started rocking the wagon back and forth; finally one gave loose, then two more. There was one final wheel in the back that they couldn’t budge. It was at this time that they discovered that the brakes did not work.
My husband is a daredevil, and he just planned to get that Willys Jeep down that mountain, no matter how he had to do it! So they pushed the Willys out of the garage, and started Don on his way with three good wheels rolling down the mountain. He had to drive into the embankment half way down to slow down the momentum. Then started out again, and finally made it down the mountain without much other problem because that fourth wheel was still locked up, and kept him from coasting to fast. He got to the bottom where the transport trailer was waiting, and got out. My Uncle Al, got into the Willys, and drove it up on to the transport. He got out, and to Donald’s surprise and amazement, he told him, well Don, that wheel is not locked up now! They all had a moment of recognition of God’s favor, and how He protected this crazy man from crashing by holding on to that tire all the way down the mountain!
Donald & Mikeal made the long trip to bring “Old Willy” to his new home with us in Nederland, Texas. Donald has replaced the brakes, tires and rims. He also removed and restored the interior. The exterior paint on the Willys was applied back in the 1980’s, and still looks good, just needed buffing out.
We are members of the Spindletop Street Rods Car Club, and we enjoy putting “Old Willy” in Car Shows every chance we get. Sometimes my husband and I pile up in the Jeep, and go pick up some supper, back up to the waterfront at Port Neches Park, and just enjoy being together, so thankful to have the blessing of owning our Jeep Willys. We call Willy our friend maker, we can’t go ANYWHERE without someone asking us what model or what kind of Jeep, or even to stop and stare at us as we are driving down the road.
My name is Kristi, and I am writing today to tell you about my amazing husband, and our amazing Jeep Willys Wagon!