I’m not proud to admit it but at school I was a champion daydreamer, by secondary school I seem to have perfected the art of paying just enough attention to gently float by under the teachers radar while doodling away in my exercise books usually dreaming of being at the race track.
Somewhere along the early 1970’s I came across a hot rod magazine which had a full page photo of Big John Mazmanian’s Willy’s Americar, which ran in a petrol driven class and hence is known as a ‘Gasser’, the photo, not unlike the one linked here, ended up like thousands of others on my Dorm wall.
For weeks afterwards I’d spend a good portion of my day dreaming time doodling variations of ‘Big John’ in my exercise book and eventually I came across a model of the car which I had no hesitation in purchasing and building.
I’d almost completely forgotten about the ‘Big John’ doodles and models over the intervening 40 years when I stumbled across today’s featured ’41 Willys Americar ‘doorslammer’ belonging to Richard Davis.
The Willys Americar is credited as having come to be under the direction of Willy’s president Joseph W. Frazer who took over in 1938 and engineered Barney Roos.
Launched in 1941 with a four cylinder L Head motor and US$634 price tag Americar’s with their sharp styling were a competitive proposition, however due to the 2nd World War only 29,000 were built before Willys switched production to the well known all wheel drive ‘Jeep’ for which the company is probably best remembered.
After the second world war Willys decided to continue production of the utility vehicle which played a large part in the Allied war effort and decided against reintroducing models that had been in production at the onset of hostilities.
As a consequence the non availability of parts for the original Willys Americar ‘Go Devil’ motors meant many of these vehicles became targets for hot rodders like Big John Mazmanian and very few Americars are thought to exist in anything approaching stock condition.
Richard Davis unnamed ’41 Willys Americar is known as a ‘doorslammer’ because it carries a replica of an original body, Richard runs his car in the pro ET division organised by Supercharged Outlaws UK.
With a supercharged 350 cui motor Richard has been trying to beat a target time of 10.1 secs / 135 mph for some time.
Thanks for joining me on this ‘The Car With No Name’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !