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P.J. Hale: 1948 Jeep Willys Pickup

Posted in Top Truck Challenge: 2010 on November 1, 2010
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Photographers: Sean P. HolmanKen Brubaker

This Dog Hunts
If we had to choose one of our favorite trucks of all time, the original Willys pickup would be high on that list. So when we saw P.J. Hale's creation in person, we have to admit to being a bit smitten. After all, how can you find fault with a living legend that has found new life atop Rockwells and 54-inch TTC Claws? Well, the answer is that you can't, and as you can see here, Hale's monster Willys can get the job done. This is one hound dog that can sniff out the scent and go in for the kill.

With much of the classic Willys cab intact, it is still wholly recognizable as a Willys pickup. Underpinning the cab is a 2x4-inch, .250-inch-wall rectangle tube frame, while a homemade cage protects the occupants. Twenty-inch Stazworks wheels hold the 54-inch Mickeys. The bodywork is slathered in gorgeous Fox Fire Metallic paint.


  • Owner name/city: P.J. Hale/Kempner, TX
  • Occupation: Sales
  • Vehicle model:1948 Willys Pickup
  • Estimated value: $18,000
  • Engine/aspiration: 302ci Ford OHV V-8
  • Transmission: AOD
  • Transfer case: Stak 3-spd
  • Suspension (f/r): 3-link, 12-in ORI ST struts/3-link, Tuff Country coil springs, Ford shocks
  • Axles (f/r): 21/2-ton Rockwell/21/2-ton Rockwell
  • Axle ratio: 6.72:1
  • Wheels: 20x12 Stazworks
  • Tires: 54-in Mickey Thompson Baja Claw TTC

P.J. Hale, Team #12

  • Most looking forward to: "Hill Climb. It looks the worst for me. Speed and sidehill. Woohoo.
  • Not looking forward to: "Mud Pit. What a mess if you do well. Unless you have unlimited horsepower and light weight and you can skim over the top."
  • Playing in his iPod/CD player: "Toby Keith, Stevie Ray Vaughn."
  • Hale says: "I'm just here to have a great time. If you need help, I'm there. But if you're running 33s and want to run the 5+ you will be left at the trailhead."

The beautifully simple interior of the Willys is all business, with a Grant steering wheel and Corbeau SS Baja seats with Corbeau safety belts. A set of Sun gauges lets Hale know what the mechanicals are up to, and a Cobra CB provides the ability to communicate with the outside world. Just in case the trails aren't amusing enough, an Apline head unit provides additional entertainment options.
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