1949 Willys VJ Jeepster

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The 1948 Willys Overland VJ Jeepster was created to bridge the gap between the “utilitarian” post-war Universal CJ Series, and the 1-ton “family-oriented” Station Wagons. Following the end of WWII, the Willys Overland company recognized the importance of creating a civilian passenger car to appeal to a younger demographic, and with the help of industrial designer Brooks Stevens this idea was brought to life. Offered only in rear-wheel drive, the vehicle had some trouble gaining traction with traditional Willys customers. Designed for a sportier look, these cars were often used by upper class citizens as well as the average traveling salesmen or insurance agents. The original VJ Jeepster was first released to the public on April 3, 1948.


  • Created to offer a sportier, stylish look
  • Convertible soft top that comes off
  • Removable windows
  • Folding passenger seat for easy access to back seat
  • Ornate dash with intricate chrome design
  • 3-speed manual transmission (with optional overdrive)
  • Drum brakes
  • Single transverse leaf spring suspension
  • 1950 offered two new engine options for the VJ, including both the F-134 “Hurricane” engine and the L-161 “Lightning” engine
Manufacturer Willys
Production 19,132 built
Engine Options Go Devil engine, 60 hp & 105 ft./lbs. torque
Hurricane engine, 72 hp & 114 ft./lbs. torque
Lightning engine, 148 cubic inch, 70 hp & 118 ft./lbs. torque
Lightning engine, 161 cubic inch, 75 hp & 125 ft./lbs. torque
Transmission Options T96 with optional overdrive
Transfer Case N/A (2WD)
Rear Axle Dana 23
Front Axle N/A (2WD)
Wheelbase 104 in.
Length 174.8 in.
Width 69 in.
Height 62 in.
Curb Weight 2,468 lbs. (4-cyclinder); 2,392 lbs. (6-cylinder)
  • Client: 1949 Willys Jeepster
  • Filed under: Vintage