Willys Jeep Station Wagon

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Willys Jeep Station Wagon
1962 Willys Jeep Utility Wagon.jpg
Also called Ford Rural
IKA Estanciera
Production 1946–1981
Body and chassis
Class Mid-size car Sport utility vehicle
Body style
Propulsion rear wheel drive / optional four wheel drive
Wheelbase 104 in (2,642 mm)[1]
Length 176 14 in (4,477 mm)[1]
Width 72 in (1,829 mm)[1]
Height 74 in (1,880 mm)
Curb weight
  • 3,206 lb (1,454 kg)
  • 4,500 lb (2,041 kg) GWV
Successor Jeep Wagoneer

The Willys Jeep Station Wagon, Jeep Utility Wagon and Jeep Panel Delivery are automobiles produced by Willys in the United States from 1946 to 1965, with production in Argentina and Brazil continuing until 1970 and 1977 respectively. They were the first mass-market all-steel station wagons designed and built as a passenger vehicle.[2]

With over 300,000 wagons and its variants built in the U.S., it was one of Willys' most successful post-World War II models. Its production coincided with consumers moving to the suburbs.

The Jeep Wagon was assembled in several international markets under various forms of joint ventures, licenses, or knock-down kits.

Development and reception[edit]

The Jeep Wagon was designed in the mid-1940s by industrial designer Brooks Stevens.[3] Willys did not make their own bodies, car bodies were in high demand, and Willys was known to have limited finances. Brooks therefore designed bodies that could be built by sheet metal fabricators who normally made parts for household appliances and could draw sheet metal no more than 6 inches (152 mm).[4]

The Wagon's all-steel body was sometimes painted as a woody.

The steel body was efficient to mass-produce, easier to maintain and safer than the real wood-bodied station wagon versions at the time.[5] Within the first two years of the Jeep Wagon's production, the only manufacturer in the United States with a station wagon that was comparable in price was Crosley,[6] who introduced an all-steel wagon in 1947.

The Jeep Wagon was the first Willys product with independent front suspension. Barney Roos, Willys' chief engineer, developed a system based on a transverse seven-leaf spring. The system, called "Planadyne" by Willys, was similar in concept to the "planar" suspension Roos had developed for Studebaker in the mid-1930s.[6]

For some time after the 1949 introduction of a four-wheel drive option, the 2WD was sold as "Station Wagon", while the 4WD was marketed as "Utility Wagon".[7] The 4WD Willys Jeep Wagon is often considered the first production sport utility vehicle.[8][9]

Production timeline[edit]

1951 Advertisement for the Willys Station Wagon
Willys Jeep "Estanciera" made by IKA in Argentina.
Brazil – Willys Wagon became the Ford Rural (1969-1974 model)
Willys Jeep Station Wagon taxi, Cuba.


  • 1946: introduced as the 463, powered by the L-134 Go-Devil flathead inline-four engine.
  • 1947: a panel van introduced with one seat, a pair of doors instead of the wagon's tailgate, and no side windows behind the front doors.[10]
  • 1948: introduction of the 663, powered by the L-148 Lightning straight-six engine.[citation needed]. A luxury version, the Station Sedan, had solid body colors with basket-weave trim on the sides and was better finished than the wagon throughout.[6]
  • 1949: four-wheel drive became an option.[10]
  • 1950: the flat grille was replaced by a pointed v-shape design with five horizontal bars across the vertical ones. The 473 model got the new 'F-134 Hurricane, and the 673 model got a new 161 cu in (2.6 L) version of the Lightning six. Station sedan discontinued.[10]
  • 1952: the flathead Lightning was dropped in favor of the F-161 Hurricane, installed in the 685 model.
  • 1954: the first under Kaiser's ownership. The 6-226 Super Hurricane, a flathead inline six, was introduced. This was a version of the Kaiser Supersonic/Continental Red Seal engine and became available on four-wheel drive versions in 1954. Minor revisions were made to front end styling that year, including the reduction of the number of horizontal slats in the grille from five to three. There were few other changes between 1953 and 1955.[11]
  • 1955: a number of new models were added. The 6-226 model lineup gained stripped chassis, flat face cowl, cowl/windshield, and ambulance models. The 475 line received only the cowl/windshield. Willys withdrew from the passenger car market and renamed the vehicle the Utility Wagon. The seventh seat and the overdrive were deleted, and the Planadyne front suspension used with the two-wheel drive wagon was replaced with a beam axle. Warn hubs, with which the front drive mechanism could be disengaged by turning the hubs by hand, became optional on four-wheel drive models.[12]
  • 1958: the Maverick model introduced, a more luxurious version of the two-wheel drive wagon. It could be had only with the four-cylinder engine. The main upgrades were in the introduction of two-tone paint with matching interior in two tones and the standard AM radio. It was distinguished by its extra stainless steel trim ring under the windows. The Maverick name came from the TV series of the same name, of which Willys was a sponsor.
  • 1962: the 6-230 Tornado OHC engine was introduced midyear, replacing the flathead.
  • 1965: production ends as the Willys model had been phased out by the Jeep Wagoneer.


The Jeep Wagon was produced as the IKA Estanciera by Industrias Kaiser Argentina from 1957 to 1970.


In the 1950s a version based on the 1946 US version was introduced. A truck version, the Pick Up, was introduced in 1961. Ford Brazil bought the Willys factory in 1967 and the wagon was renamed Ford Rural, and the truck the Ford F-75. Both models were offered with an inline-six engine which was the first gasoline engine manufactured in Brazil. They were available in RWD or 4X4 configuration. The Rural was discontinued in 1977 and the F-75 in 1981.[13]



External links[edit]