There's simply no other car that symbolizes the ultimate Gasser more than a Willys coupe. These lightweight cars were the favorites of everyone from Stone, Woods & Cook to Big John Mazmanian. Drivers like the Mallicoat Brothers, S&S Racing Team Fred Bear, Dave Hale, and a host of other racers made the Willys coupe "King of the Gassers". The versatile cars could be built for any number of race classes from C/G to A/GS. The Sizemore Willys is based in Ohio, a state that was known to produce some nationally recognized Willys Gassers, and while it has no race history it sure has the right attitude.
The Sizemore Willys was a very complete car before becoming a Gasser. Note the stock trim
Of course with all the drag racers grabbing up every Willys they could find, things like steel front fenders, hoods, doors, and rear fenders became pretty scarce. In an effort to lighten the car the original steel parts were generally replaced with fiberglass items and the stock pieces were often relegated to the scrap heap. That's what makes Gary Sizemore's 1941 Willys coupe one of an elite crowd, for you see this coupe is 100 percent original Willys steel, and that explains the lack of the obligatory engine scoop protruding through the hood—there was no way Gary was going to cut up a perfect steel hood.
As a matter of fact, while the car has an outrageous street-going Gasser profile, the body and dashboard remain completely original. Gary bought the car some 25 years ago and it remained in his garage for a dozen years before it was finished in the configuration you see here.
That nose-high stance comes from a drilled and chrome-plated straight-axle connected to a pair of parallel leaf springs with a stack of lift blocks in between. Much like some of the finer Gassers of the day, attention to detail is everywhere with chrome-plated shocks, axle, and oil pan brightening the underside of the car.
A vintage Super Sun tach mounts to the chrome-plated steering column and the original Will
The original steel body is now perfectly straight and covered in brilliant red urethane and since the car is completely devoid of lettering it reminds us of a Gasser that was ready to go to the local sign painter's shop. Period-correct Cragar wheels are found on all four corners and once again you'll notice that Sizemore opted to preserve that precious metal and forgo any cutting on the rear fenders. All the stock trim remains in place, from the hood emblem to the taillights.
Inside the car a simple black rolled and pleated interior adds to the business-like attitude of the car and even the original Willys steering wheel remains atop the chrome-plated steering column. A vintage Sun Super Tach monitors rpm while a trio of smaller Sun gauges monitor other vital signs of the motor.
Of course the heart of any Gasser is the engine, and this car does not disappoint. Under the uncut hood is 427 ci of big-block Chevrolet power backed up by a TH400 transmission. A single four-barrel mounts atop the Weiand intake while a COMP Cams camshaft moves the roller rockers. An aluminum Griffith radiator keeps weight down and cools the big mill.
And there you have it, a pristine all-steel Willys coupe built in the finest Gasser tradition. With the resurgence of street-going Gassers, Gary's Willys coupe turns heads wherever it goes and brings us all back to the days of those great Gasser wars, particularly when he fires up the big 427 with open headers.
Retainers Should Fit Just Right
The valvespring retainer should fit the valvespring being used. A slightly snug fit is acceptable, however, a fit that is too tight can overstress the top coil and cause it to fail. A fit that is too loose can lead to spring "dancing".
Do Away With Interference
Electronic fuel injection can be hampered by electrical interference. To avoid this type of interference, be sure to isolate coil wiring (primary, secondary, and spark plug) away from any other wiring. Do NOT use solid core plug wires. Make certain ignition system grounding is per manufacturer instructions. When using a distributor with any external timing control, be sure rotor phasing is optimized at whatever spark angle is used at peak torque. Check spark plug wire terminals for signs of arcing or corrosion.
Before You Customize
Inglese can build a custom induction system for virtually any application. Before you order though, it helps to know the answers to a few questions so the staff can build the very best system for you. The questions are as follows: What heads are on the engine? What camshaft are you running? Is the transmission an overdrive?