CC Capsule: Willys Jeep 4WD Wagon – Portlandia Is Curbsidelandia

Willys Jeep wagon fq

A few weeks back, I was in the Pearl District of Portland and spotted a rig that I’ve come across several times. In fact I think I first spotted this wagon back in ’08, and see it every so often in different parking spots throughout the area. Its definitely a regular driver and some lucky Portlander is enjoying it. 

I believe this is between a ’59 and ’65 model.  It has the V shaped grille as opposed to the CJ-like flat piece, with three evenly spaced horizontal chrome bars, and a one piece windshield as opposed to the divided glass on earlier models.  It does have a manual transmission, with what appears to be a gearshift lever and knob that fit right in with the overall aesthetic, so it’s possible that it still retains either the original F Head four or Hurricane six with which they were equipped.

Usually these trucks become the subject of a wild off-road hotrodder’s garage experiment.  Not that this truck wouldn’t look amazing with 6-8 inches of lift, a metallic blue paint job, slot mags, rocking a beefed up Mopar 360 under the hood with fender well headers and cherry bombed sidepipes….it would!  Yet something so perfectly original as this deserves to stay as it is.  The only non-stock parts I could pick out are the side mirrors, which are clearly from a 1987-2002 Wrangler, and the bumper mounted driving lights.

The Pearl District is a trendy, upscale and very hipster-infested section of downtown Portland.  Whoever owns this clearly has no garage, as it’s always out on the street. And yet, the rig is about as pristine and unspoiled as you could possibly want.  The lightly faded metallic beige paint may be original, or it could be an older restoration. From old pics/brochures Ive seen, such a color could have existed in its day, and if this truck was at one time restored or repainted then the attention to detail was superb.

Willys Jeep wagon rq

Note the “Jeep 4 Wheel Drive” logo painted onto the tailgate. Most every Jeep of this vintage sported this logo, and it’s a nice touch to see it preserved.  Its amazing how certain colors and styling cues just work on certain vehicles. The champagne paint definitely looks more distinguished on the lines of this beast than on the Camaccordundais that usually wear a similar hue.  Even the skinny basic white painted steel wheels which would look horribly plain on anything else lend a certain utilitarian yet classic look to the truck.  I couldn’t get a good shot of the interior, due to glare and my iPhone’s limitations, but the cloth seats appear to be a recent re-cover, and the inside is very clean and intact as well.

Portland is a strange place, and in a lot of ways.  The Toyota Prius is the best selling car here, and has been for some time. Yet with the climate, lack of roadsalt, and plenty of gearheads, it’s not unusual to see lots of older cars; might as well call it Curbsidelandia.  Thing is, many were the workaday econoboxes of their time; it’s almost mundane in the land of no rust to see brown Valiants, dull red Falcons, old Volvos of all types, and even other classic 4x4s such as Toyota Land Cruisers.

Willys Jeep wagon f

Usually older rides are piloted by someone with thick framed glasses, a pork pie hat….hell, just watch an episode of Portlandia, you’ll get it!  Generally they tend to fetishize anything ‘vintage’.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it makes you wonder if this person really knows what they have, or do they just think anything old is cool.  In terms of some of the older cars they flock towards, it’s up for debate.  But if you want to argue whether or not this old wagon is “cool,” good luck finding that rare Willys hater!  Skinny jeans and argyle sweaters on the other hand…

Willys Jeep Station Wagon CC here