Very Rare and Well Done

Only a Hand­ful of ’33 Willys Road­sters Ex­ist. This Might Be The Wildest.

Street Rodder - - Contents -

Vaughn Veit’s ’33 Willys Road­ster

The Veit Au­to­mo­tive Foun­da­tion Ed­u­ca­tional Mu­seum is in ru­ral Min­nesota, about an hour out of Min­neapo­lis. If you no­ticed it from the road, which you might not, you would prob­a­bly mis­take it for a dairy barn. That’s what it’s sup­posed to look like on the out­side. On the in­side, its mul­ti­ple floors and rooms house an im­pres­sive collection of au­to­mo­bilia and Amer­i­cana.

The mu­seum grew from Vaughn Veit’s once-small per­sonal car collection to ap­prox­i­mately 100 clas­sic ve­hi­cles, as well as gas pumps, an­tique farm equip­ment, art­work, and other vin­tage ar­ti­facts.

Vaughn’s taste in vin­tage cars is eclec­tic, but it seems like he has some fa­vorites. He owns one of ev­ery body style of ’33 Ford, and two ’33 Willys, in­clud­ing this ex­tremely rare road­ster. Willys pro­duc­tion num­bers are hard to find, but Vaughn did his re­search and told us that his ’33 road­ster is one of only 71 built. Seven still sur­vive, with three in Aus­tralia and four in the U.S.

One of those four U.S. cars showed up dur­ing Vaughn’s eBay search a few years ago—although he de­scribes it as “pieces of rust­ing metal” rather than as a car. That be­gan his ef­fort to re­build those pieces of rust as a piece of au­to­mo­tive his­tory. The goal, as you can see, was not to re­store the Willys to orig­i­nal equip­ment, but to redo it as a street rod. He con­tacted Roy Brizio Street Rods in South San Fran­cisco to han­dle the road­ster’s trans­for­ma­tion. Brizio has built some mem­o­rable Gasser-style ’41 Willys, and about a mil­lion out­stand­ing early ’30s Ford road­sters, but Vaughn’s ’33 Willys road­ster was a brand-new or­der for the shop.

The road­ster rolled out of Brizio’s on a fresh chas­sis from Art Mor­ri­son En­ter­prises (AME), built around a 2x4-inch square-tube frame tailor made for the Willys. AME’s sus­pen­sion com­bi­na­tion in­cludes an­tiroll bars, Strange coilover shocks at both ends, and a Pan­hard bar in the rear. The four-link rear lo­cates a Ford 9-inch packed with 3.70:1 gears with lim­ited slip. Four-wheel Wil­wood disc brakes with 11-inch ro­tors are op­er­ated by a Wil­wood mas­ter cylin­der and pro­por­tion­ing valve to en­sure re­li­able brak­ing in to­day’s traf­fic. Those “pieces of rust­ing metal” were re­vived at Brizio’s, thanks in part to fab­ri­ca­tor An­drik Al­bor’s body­work. A

11⁄ 2- inch slice was chopped from the top and the rest of the orig­i­nal sheet­metal—in­clud­ing hood and grille—was re­turned to new con­di­tion. Head­lights, tail­lights, door han­dles, and bumpers are also orig­i­nal parts. The ex­te­rior swan neck mir­rors were pro­vided by SO-CAL Speed Shop. The rich blue House Of Kolor paint is a cus­tom color now known as Brizio Blue.

It was mixed and sprayed by Joe Com­pani at Com­pani Color in Hay­ward, Cal­i­for­nia. Sub­tle cream-col­ored pin­strip­ing was brushed along the belt­line and in­cludes Vaughn’s name on one side and his fi­ancée Kelly’s on the other. Sid Chavers cre­ated the black can­vas top.

Sherm’s Cus­tom Plat­ing in Sacramento, Cal­i­for­nia, and Dan’s Pol­ish­ing & Chrome in Adamsville, Ten­nessee, made sure that the bright­work was as per­fect as the paint. The wheels (four plus the spare) were painted with more cream-col­ored paint. Mike Cur­tis at Cur­tis Speed built the 16-inch wheels just for this project, styling them to mimic gen­uine vin­tage Willys wheels. The Ex­cel­sior ra­di­als from Coker Tire mea­sure 7.00x16 and 5.00x16.

The in­te­rior de­sign and ex­e­cu­tion was turned over to Chavers and the re­sults are clean and classy. Cus­tom seats are covered in black and blue leather stitched in ver­ti­cal pleats. The cus­tom door pan­els are fin­ished with the same look. Char­coal gray Ger­man square-weave car­pet cov­ers the floor. The orig­i­nal dash was mod­i­fied and filled with a speedo, oil, and gas gauges re­stored by Red­line Gauges mounted on the right. Jim Vick­ery at Brizio’s made sure the Willys’ wiring is routed right. A wa­ter temp gauge and volt­meter from Clas­sic In­stru­ments

are lo­cated in the cen­ter cove. LimeWorks Speed Shop sup­plied the steer­ing col­umn, which is topped with an orig­i­nal ’39 Ford banjo wheel. The Lokar shifter is fit­ted with a blue shifter knob to match the paint color.

Pow­er­ing the Willys is a tra­di­tional-dressed ’49 AB8 Ford Flat­head. H&H Flat­heads did a great job build­ing the en­gine. The bored, stroked, and balanced en­gine is packed with a Scat crank and rods con­nected to Ross forged pis­tons. The val­ve­train in­cludes a Win­field cam and

Isky valves and springs. The alu­minum heads and in­take man­i­fold are Navarro pieces. Dual Stromberg carbs are topped with air clean­ers from OTB Gear. The MSD ig­ni­tion and Tay­lor wires de­liver juice—and a Speed­way Mo­tors wa­ter pump and Mat­son alu­minum ra­di­a­tor keep the Flat­head cool. Coated 2-inch ex­haust pipes with Al­lied suit­case-style muf­flers carry ex­haust drawn by a pair of San­der­son head­ers. DND En­ter­prises as­sem­bled the T5 trans­mis­sion adapted for the Flat­head. Modern Driv­e­line pro­vided the clutch, fly­wheel, and disc.

With his ’33 Willys road­ster com­pleted, Vaughn has been suc­cess­ful in sav­ing an ex­tremely rare car. He’s not done yet. In ad­di­tion to the cars in his mu­seum, he is cur­rently in the process of build­ing an­other ’33 Willys. This time it’s a coupe mod­i­fied with Corvette sus­pen­sion parts, pow­ered by a Buick Grand Na­tional V-6.

For the dig­i­tal ex­pe­ri­ence:

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