When it comes to performance, in the world of street rodding the undisputed king of the bad-to-the-bone crowd is the Willys. It really doesn't matter what year, from 1933-41 the lightweight cars were used for drag racing in the '50s and '60s. The legendary domination of the Willys in the hotly contested Gasser Wars of the '60s no doubt influenced later street rod builders. From the start virtually every Willys street rod had a wicked motor under the hood, along with big rear tires, radiused rear wheelwells, and other dragstrip-inspired flavors.
Enter Joe Chapman and one very cool Willys coupe. We found the coupe in the most appropriate of places, at a dragstrip, Beechbend Dragway in Bowling Green, Kentucky, to be exact. It was an interesting sighting. When I first saw the car it looked strangely familiar and yet I was fairly certain I had never seen this dark blue and flamed Willys Gasser before. It was only after speaking with Joe that my confusion was explained (something that doesn't happen often enough). The car I was looking at was the somewhat-famous SoffSeal Willys built by the late Gary Anderson in the '90s. Prior to Anderson's build the car had been a Canadian drag car for 17 years, so this coupe is no stranger to dragstrips. When Anderson completed the car it carried a wicked down-in-the-weeds stance. Joe subsequently purchased the car and went about raising the Willys coupe to new heights with chrome, drilled Willys axle riding below a pair of parallel leaf springs. Lift blocks add to the altitude adjustment.
Filling the front wheelwells with headers and bolting on a set of Crestline front wheels completed the transformation from Pro-stock back to Gasser. Those headers are now connected to a healthy small-block but like most Willys owners, Joe is, well, just a bit power crazy. To satisfy his need for speed a blower motor and five-speed are being assembled for the car.
Inside the Gasser a simple pair of bucket seats are covered in traditional rolls and pleats and the big Moon go-pedal controls the amount of smoke pouring off those pie crust slicks. This hot rod is a great testimony to the versatility of the Willys hot rod, and regardless of stance, the Willys coupe still remains the reigning champion of bad-to-the-bone hot rods.
Few things are more menacing than staring into the grille of a nose-high Willys Gasser, ev
A big part of the conversion from street rod to Gasser came in the form of a drilled Willy
Inside the coupe twin bucket seats are covered in blue and white rolled and pleated insert
COMP CAMS PERFORMANCE GROUP TECH TIPS
Think About Your Converter and Camshaft Together
Many street rodders want a “lumpy” cam sound. However, some stock converters do not have a high enough stall rpm for the cam to work correctly. Be sure to think about upgrading your converter with your camshaft.
All Grounds Are Not Created Equal
Just because a ground cable is sound and heavy gauge does not mean that it is suitable for grounding an ECU to the battery. It is more important that the ground path is “clean” and direct than to have a high current capacity. The best and only method for grounding is to attach the negative terminal from your EFI harness directly to the battery negative terminal and nowhere else.
The Importance of Filter Positioning
Be sure that Inglese Snap-In Stack Filters are properly secured in the stacks. They are designed specifically to not restrict airflow, but may not reach their full potential if not installed properly. You should feel some resistance as they snap snugly into the snack, ensuring that they are positioned correctly.