Hoby Hulbert's '62 Willys Wagon is no showpiece. It likely still sports the same vintage grease and grime it had under the hood 40 years ago. This wagon is a driver and Hoby has constantly upgraded and punished it in the mud pits near his Sylmar, California, home since he got it. It was nearly all-original when he started the build. Nine years of at-home driveway upgrades and $10,000 resulted in the giant Jeep he has today.
Chassis And Driveline
To get the lift needed to clear the massive tires, Hoby yanked the factory suspension. Up front he built mounts for 6-inch-lift Chevy leaf springs in spring-over shackle-reversal fashion. In the rear he built mounts for a set of custom leaf springs pillaged from an International Harvester Traveler, also a spring-over. Rancho 9000 shocks damp the bumps and a set of traction bars control axle wrap in the rear. The factory bellcrank steering was scrapped and replaced with full hydraulic steering complete with an industrial orbital valve and a Lion 2500 log-splitter ram. The Jeep rolls on 21/49-16.5 Super Swamper Irok tires mounted to 16.5x12 steel USA 6x6 double bead lock wheels. Hoby typically runs the tires at 10 psi in the mud.
The only thing non-stock on the Jeep when Hoby got it nine years ago was the '68 Chevy 327 V-8 engine that had been swapped in by the previous owner. Interestingly, today it's all that's left of the new-to-him drivetrain. The GM V-8 in all its greasy glory features camel-hump heads with 64cc chambers and a two-barrel Rochester carburetor. Behind the tired V-8 engine is an SM420 with nothing added to it but a few quarts of fresh oil. A short jackshaft transmits power from the truck tranny to a divorced Dodge NP201 transfer case. Home-built driveshafts with 1410 and huge 1480 U-joints spin into 2.5-ton Rockwell axles. The front axle features an Ouverson Engineering spool and the rear is stuffed with a Detroit Locker. A home-job pinion brake slows the front axle and the rearend is stopped with a USA 6x6 pinion brake. At the way back, a stainless steel fuel tank provides fuel to the powerplant.
Body And Interior
The original paint and body have been modified via crushing cars and a Sawzall. Two 5-gallon gas cans hang from the cowl and Krylon blue spray paint spiffies up a few parts. Three-bolt military tow hooks and a Warn 9.5ti winch reside up front. In the rear a receiver hitch helps with boggy extractions.
Inside you'll find a donated rollcage, '91 Honda CRX seats, a postal Jeep steering wheel, a broken Panasonic stereo, and the turn signal switch dangling from a few wires.
Good, Bad & What's It For
The truck is rough, but that's what makes it cool. It's easy duplicated by anyone with at least some junkyard, welding, and fabrication skills. And ya don't need a mint to do it. Hoby built the Jeep for the mud in the Azusa Canyon and Littlerock Dam off-road areas.
Vehicle: '62 Willys Wagon
Engine: '68 Chevy 327 V-8
Transmission: GM SM420
Transfer case: Dodge NP201
Suspension: Spring-over (front and rear)
Axles: Rockwell 2.5-ton (front and rear)
Wheels: 16.5x12 USA 6x6 double bead lock
Tires: 21/49-16.5 Super Swamper Irok
Built for: Mud