Well, there are no prizes for guessing which car was my favourite on Sunday. The colour of it called all the way across the car park promising something exotic. When I got closer I was not disappointed.
It is a Willys Business coupe – I suspect a 1940 model. I also suspect that it was not an original import to Australia, but has been brought in from the States and converted to RHD. perhaps I am wrong and the owner can correct me. – it has the look of a 1990’s rod.
Well, where to start…the long rear deck and boot lid compared to the bonnet length is characteristic of a business coupe. I guess they were intended as prestige salesman’s cars with a great deal of space in the back to haul samples and advertising material. Away from work, that increased boot space would be a killer feature for touring. No luggage restrictions for this traveller – you could fit a couch and a piano back there.
The smooth styling of the ’40 is more than half-way there to a great custom anyway, but the stylist has wisely made the most of the bonnet sides for cooling vents. The bonnet looks longer than it is, and the front fenders look more massive than they are – it is the triumph of art deco streamline design. This is a car that would look well with a Dreyfus or Loewy locomotive or a Lockheed air racer. What an amazing design from the people who made the jeep!
I have not been able to Google up a good picture of the interior of a stock ’40 Willys so I cannot tell you how much of the current fit-out is an adaptation of what was there or is an entirely new departure in style. I’m pretty sure that is a cut off connecting rod holding the steering column but I am puzzled at what appears to be a pink roll cage at the side of the door. The door padding and upholstery looked pretty exotic as far as design.
The paint is not pink, but a light salmon. There is a sparkly accent strip down the side with a few Z’s to finish it. And there is “Big Dog”.
I should be grateful if someone would tell me the origin of the name.
* Note for overseas readers: the Tasmanian license plates are becoming more common here in Western Australia since they finished the Bass Strait Bridge. It’s been a boon to the campervan tourist trade the other way as well – flocks of Asians drive over from Victoria to see the Tasmanian tigers and local inhabitants.