Tag Archives: Willys

Coffee, Croissant & Cars 03/15 – Avenue Drivers Club

There was a definite military atmosphere pervading this month’s Avenue Drivers Club meeting at Queen Square thanks to the presence of the six military vehicles featured in today’s blog which were promoting The Dig For Victory Show, a 1940’s Family Festival that will be taking place on the 13th to 14th of June at the North Somerset Showground.

Willys MB, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol,

Most unusual amongst the Jeeps present was this 1942 Willys MB painted in the colours of a Royal Naval Beach Master for the 1944 Allied Invasion of France.

Bedford OY, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol,

The 1940 Bedford OY 3 ton truck above was a hasty adaption of the civilian Bedford O series first seen in 1939.

Ford GPW, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol,

Just as Bantam could not hope to satisfy the demand for a general purpose off road vehicle with the original Jeep evolution of the “Blitz Buggy”, by October 1941 it had become clear that Willys Overland were struggling to meet the US Government’s demand for their Willys MB evolution and so Ford were contracted to produce licenced versions known as the GPW (Government, P Ford speak for 80″ wheelbase, Willys licenced) like the 1942 example above.

Hotchkiss M201, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol,

After the 1939/45 war Jeep production continued for several decades, in France Hotchkiss produced the M201 like the 1960 example above until 1981 and the last “La Jeep” remained in service with the French Military until 2000.

Willys MB, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol,

The immaculate Willys MB above was built in 1943.

Austin Champ, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol,

Finally Britain began looking for a replacement for it’s Jeeps in 1947 and one option was the Rolls Royce powered “Truck, 1/4 ton, CT, 4×4, cargo & FFW, Austin Mk.1” like the 1954 example above which is more commonly known by it’s civilian name “Austin Champ”.

The next Avenue Drivers Club Meeting will be at Queen Square, Bristol 9am on Sunday the 12th of April.

Thanks for joining me on this “Coffee, Croissant & Cars 03/15” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at an Oldsmobile Delta 88. Don’t forget to come back now !


The Car With No Name – Willys Americar

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.

Willys Americar, Shakespeare County Raceway

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.

Willys Americar, Shakespeare County Raceway

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.

Willys Americar, Shakespeare County Raceway

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.

Willys Americar, Shakespeare County Raceway

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.

Willys Americar, Shakespeare County Raceway

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.

Willys Americar, Shakespeare County Raceway

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.

Willys Americar, Shakespeare County Raceway

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.

Willys Americar, Shakespeare County Raceway

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.

Willys Americar, Shakespeare County Raceway

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 !


Goodwood Revival #6 – Dress Code

The Goodwood Revival is probably the nations largest annual period dress party covering the years from when Goodwood operated as a second world war airbase to 1966 when the race track around the airfield closed to regular competition.

Ford Model T, Goodwood Revival

This year Ford of Britain was celebrating it’s centenary at Goodwood so the period dress on view went right back to 1911. Above Laurel & Hardy look alikes demonstrate a left hand drive 1924 Model T.

Ford Model T, Goodwood Revival

Willys Jeeps were built under licence by Ford of Britain during WW2, note this is also a left hand drive, presumably because it was foreseen that most of these vehicles would be required for the invasion of Europe. This particular vehicle appeared in the blue as used on airfields by the Royal Airforce and the driver is attired in a Royal Air Force officers uniform.

Land Girls, Goodwood Revival

These two ladies dressed up as land girls part of a huge civilian Women’s Land Army who replaced the male agricultural work force that had gone to war. Typically Land Girls wore somewhat unbecoming if practical trousers in place of skirts and dresses.

Austin Healey, Goodwood Revival

Moving into the paddock and forward a decade team mechanics are requested to wear period dress in the Goodwood Revival paddock, anyone visiting the pit area is also requested to dress in period. Above a mechanic tends Peter Thorntons 1955 Austin Healey 100 S.

Sir Stirling Moss, Mercedes 300 SLR, Goodwood Revival

Recently retired from competitive driving Sir Stirling Moss came close to loosing his life at Goodwood in 1962 after an accident that effectively ended his top level career. Stirling is seen here on a demonstration run in perhaps the ultimate Goodwood period accessory a Mercedes Benz 300 SLR raced solo by his team mate Juan Manuel Fangio in the 1955 Mille Miglia to 2nd place 22 minuets behind Moss and Dennis Jenkinson in the #722 300 SLR.

Citroen H Van & DS, Goodwood Revival

Competitors and spectators from far and wide come to the Goodwood Revival here a party from France who came with a splendid 1950’s Citroen H Van and Citroen DS enjoy breakfast before the racing gets under way.

Goodwood Revival

Throughout the three day Revival a scramble event was run for bikes dating from 1957 to 1966. Here the riders in period outfits are waiting to be let loose on a full lap of the racing circuit.

Ford Popular F2 Stock Car, Goodwood Revival

The Ford Popular 103E was in production from 1953 to 1959 by which time early models such as this 1953 model were to be found on the F2 Stock Car circuit. Note the owners period brogue shoes, suit and trilby. Hard to believe this photo was taken last week.

Fiat 600 Multipla, Goodwood Revival

This Left Hand Drive Goodwood Revival Transport Corps Fiat 600 Multipla was built in 1961, when tested in 1956 the 6 seat Multipla was found to be capable of reaching 50 mph from rest in 43 seconds and having a top speed of 57.1 mph. The driver of this taxi wears a patterned dress that matches the lime green colour of the lower half of the vehicle.

Hillman Minx Convertible, Goodwood Revival

The gentleman to the right of this Hillman Super Minx convertible wears an outfit typical of many Goodwood Revival spectators, check sports jacket though his flat hat has deer stalker ear flaps.

Ford Triple D Tractor, Goodwood Revival

Goodwood is set in a rural area of West Sussex, the ultimate period farming accessory for the Revival has to be the Ford Triple D, Doe Dual Drive, tractor built in 1963. Invented by George Pryor who wanted a more powerful tractor than any of those available to him, he came up with the idea of taking two Fordson tractors and attaching them together with an articulated coupling that with the aid of hydraulic rams could steer the vehicle through a 90 degree turn. This is a latter 130 hp model manufactured by Ernest Doe & Sons using two Ford F5000 tractors. The main draw back of the vehicle was that it was too powerful for most of the existing implements so stronger implements had to also be manufactured by Ernst Doe & Sons. Around 300 of these vehicles were sold in the UK and USA, recently a 1962 Triple D fetched a staggering £61,000 at auction.

Glam Cab Ford Cortina, Goodwood Revival

Carry on Films were a low budget saucey national institution in 1960’s Britain, featuring fairly simple plots of everyday people such as Doctors, Nurses, Policeman, Sailors and such, in 1963 the ‘Carry On’ team, which included a regular cast from one film to the next, released Carry On Cabby a tail of rival cab companies operated by a married couple. 48 years later at Goodwood this period Glam Cab Ford Cortina and its drivers look like they have come straight off set.

Ford Corsair, Goodwood Revival

In the 50’s & 60’s if one wanted a convertible or estate / station wagon variant of a Ford one would usually have to take it to a coachworks like Crayford to have the work done, as was the case with this 1963 Ford Corsair, at the time this Corsair was built Mini skirts and boots were all the rage, I remember my English Teacher wearing an outfit like this at my London primary school in 1966 and she was the talk of the school for being so ‘with it’.

Gerhard Berger. Ford Cobra, Goodwood Revival

Even the track marshals working along the start / finish straight, seen here rushing to the aid of Gerhard Berger, get into period dress for the Goodwood Revival.

Goodwood Revival

There was a pot puri of military dress code on display at this years Revival covering Allied forces from WW2 through to Vietnam. Here two US personal fraternise with a British Army Sargeant and a Women’s Auxiliary Air Force Sargeant.

Goodwood Revival

Among the bravest spectators in period costume at an otherwise testosterone fueled Goodwood were these two cross dressers,

Goodwood Revival

while these two bikers were amongst those enjoying an equally wild side of dress code, note the fur lined parker of the ‘Mod’ in the back ground, back in the day ‘Mods’ and ‘Bikers’ were at each others throats as immortalised in the film Quadrophenia.

Goodwood Revival

Finally bringing us to the end of the racing era at Goodwood in 1966 this cameraman epitomises the effect the Beatles Sgt Peppers Album had on fashions when it was released on the 1st of June 1966 one month and one day before the Goodwood circuit closed gates for thirty two years.

Thanks for joining me on this Goodwood Dress Code edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’, I hope you’ll join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at an unusual woody that was up for auction at the Bonham’s revival sale. Don’t forget to come back now !