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Wicked Willy's Jeep Project Flashback

Posted in Features on June 26, 2015
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You don’t have to dig too far to see what inspired the build known as Wicked Willys. Every Jeep nut wants a big Jeep truck, but few of us have one. After watching Christian Hazel start Murdeous Overkill (we wish he would have finished it) and getting to spend lots of time around Chris Durham’s TJ-based ’49 Willys (“Wild Willys,” June ’13), it was easy to know what big-tire Jeep to build in Jp next.

From there, it was easy to look for big, strong, drivetrain in the form of 1-ton Chevy axles. Add in some fire-breathing Dodge big-block power, dual transfer cases, vintage sheetmetal, and a more modern frame and suspension and the idea for Wicked Willys was built—in our heads. Since Tech Editor Simons has an eclectic, if not odd, style, you can be sure that as this Willys truck will be different. For now, his plans to build the truck to be a loud, obnoxious, eye turner of Jeep is on track, if not slightly delayed (OK, maybe a year behind schedule). Starting with a rusty, torn-apart, old 2WD farm truck originally from California, the build started with a solid foundation. The story goes that about 10 (or 20) years ago, the previous owners started a hot-rod style rebuild on the truck that quickly fizzled and stalled. We picked up the pieces for a song and dance and with high hopes. With the body disassembled (but all there), a beam front axle, and a rust-filled Ford V-8 placed between the front frame rails (literally supported by a 2x4 piece of wood), the Willys was far from Wicked. Since then, we’ve modified a ’97 Wrangler frame to live underneath the Willys sheetmetal.

With suspension parts coming from Synergy Manufacturing and Old Man Emu (by ARB), engine parts from Summit Racing, differentials from Eaton, steering from Chris Durham Motorsports and Redneck Ram, gears and bearings from G2, Tires from BFG, wheels from Trail Ready, and a few miscellaneous parts from Offroad Designs, the Willys that is Wicked will soon be rolling around. Through six installments already in Jp, Wicked Willy’s Part 7 is near. Simons just had twins join the family, so the project was slowed a little, but he swears it will get done…soon. Currently, the engine is nearly assembled, awaiting clutch parts to be married to the rest of the drivetrain and installed. The truck is nearly a roller as we wait on some inner bearing races to arrive. As promised, this build has more to come, so keep your eyes peeled.

Good, Bad, and What It’s For
The bad? It’s not done yet. The good? It will be soon and should be large and capable.

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