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Saturday, October 16, 2010

1950 Willys Jeep Station Wagon: Origin of SUV obsession found in junkyard

It's not the soccer mom's grocery getter, yet. In 1946 the Willys Jeep Station Wagon was the first steel-bodied, sport utility vehicle built for the masses. After World War II, growing families and weird, great-uncles looking for tough, "General Purpose" (GP = Jeep) vehicles bought Willys "Jeep" Wagons. By 1948, Willys developed the 4-wheel-drive blueprint for millions of SUV wagons to come. Leather seats, DVD players and navigation systems would arrive much later. 

Where are they now?
Willys built more than 300,000 station wagons and continued their production from 1946 through 1965. I image a majority of those eventually became storage sheds for fishing gear, a final resting place for dull chain saws and/or parked in the back of your weird, great-uncles yard. Some landed in the junkyard like this 1950-ish model (pictured). A quick search of the web turns up solid, original Willys wagons from $8,000 - $19,000. You can find junkyardlife-variety Willys wagon beaters on Ebay for a few hundred bucks. Check out more Willys wagons in three and four door models at willyscountry.com .
4-wheel drive, not the official vehicle of The Fantastic Four.
Rear bumper sports Willys signature.
Sliding rear door was not an option on Willys station wagons.
Flat-fenders on Willys wagon.
Smell the 60-year old junkyard nostalgia.
1950-53 models had a five bar grill like our junkyard find.
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