1951 Willys Pickup Named Nugget #MTSEMA19
ROAMR hit the Mother Lode
When searching for a decent vintage Jeep it can feel like panning for gold in a dry stream bed, but the guys from ROAMR struck the "Mother Lode" when they found this 1951 Willys pickup with the perfect patina for their 2019 SEMA show build. The truck, dubbed "Nugget," was a mine truck for the Owens Valley Exploration Company in California. It sports the original paint and lettering from over 50 years ago, and the harsh west coast sun has faded it into the fine patina you see here; the guys at ROAMR did shoot it with por15 matte clear to preserve its perfection. Hidden under the vintage exterior is a 2016 Jeep Wrangler JK chassis, engine, transmission, and transfer case. The interior has been refurbished and upgraded with more modern components, including leather seats, dash, and door panels with red plaid headliner and panel accents, and Dakota Digital gauges. Rich in history and loaded with modern conveniences, this Willys truck was one of our favorites—great build, Troy!
They created a solid flatbed deck for the Willys and installed a Decked locking drawer system under it. This provides secure storage for all of your tools, recovery, and camping gear, while the deck offers a place to haul your dirt bikes or ice chests.
Under the hood is a stock 2016 JK Pentastar 3.6L V-6 backed by the 42RLE automatic transmission and the NV231 transfer case. A K&N cold air intake system was added for extra breathability and a boost in power.
The interior has been refurbished and upgraded, and a few modifications were done to the firewall and transmission tunnel to accommodate the JK engine. The upholstery is Relicate leather accented with red and black plaid for the headliner and door panel accents. They retained the stock JK shifters, but had custom knobs made with fools' gold dust in the knobs. Instrumentation is Dakota Digital and Switch-Pros for the lights, wipers, and horn.
The rear axle is a beefy Tera 60 housing 4.88 gears and an ARB Locker. Tom Woods driveshafts push power to the differentials.
Lift is provided by an ICON Vehicle Dynamics 3-inch Wrangler JK suspension kit. The front axle was upgraded to a Tera 44 with 4.88 gears and an ARB Locker.
Troy refers to this as "Danish fuel" housed in a vintage European recovered jerry can. We like this repurposing of old fuel cans that may be too leaky to haul gasoline.
Discreetly hidden behind the stock Willys front bumper is a WARN 9.0rc winch. We like the way that is leaves the front of the truck with its vintage appearance.
Meaty 37-inch Toyo Open Country M/T tires wrapped around Rugged Ridge steel wheels that were painted a flat red blend right in with the patinaed body color.
A little sheet metal modification had to be done to the rear fenders in order to fit the larger tires neatly under them. Instead of cutting and sectioning the fender, they snipped the metal at the bend and flared it out there and added these really cool Willys Overland logo patches over the cut.
The only original part that was missing when they found this gem was the tailgate. This is a new re-pop tailgate, and thanks to Miller Collision they matched the patina perfectly.
Due to the size of the tires now on Nugget, they needed to relocate the spare to the rear. Using the swing-out carrier from Rigid, the have a solid mounting space for it (as well as a place for additional bikes) with this rack. The rack can be removed and the hitch used to pull a small trailer.
Vehicle: 1951 Willys Pickup on a 2016 Wrangler JK rolling chassis
Engine: Pentastar 3.6L V-6
Transmission: 42RLE 4-speed automatic
Transfer Case: NV231
Suspension: 3-inch ICON Vehicle Dynamics Wrangler JK lift
Axles: (front) Tera 44, 4.88 gears, ARB Locker (rear) Tera 60, 4.88 gears, ARB Locker
Tires & Wheels: 37x12.50R17 Toyo Open Country M/T on Rugged Ridge steel wheels