The 1951 Willys Jeepster looked very familiar. After poor sales in 1950, the decision was made to end Jeepster production, but Willys, stuck with a number of unsold Jeepsters, decided to retitle the leftovers. Thus there would be a line of 1951 Jeepsters, at least in name.
Obviously, there was nothing new for 1951. Apparently all the year's Jeepsters were merely retitled 1950 models, although one source claims that a handful of actual 1951 Jeepsters, perhaps nine in all, were produced by Willys to use up leftover parts. Corroboration for that is hard to come by, though.
The 1951 Willlys Jeepsters were merely retitled
leftovers from 1950.
In the Jeepster's four model years, a total of 19,131 were produced. However, its popularity among die-hard fans was such that Jeepsters became collectible almost from the time they went out of production. Clubs sprang up for devotees, and to this day they remain perhaps the most collectible of all Jeeps.
In fact, the Jeepster has resurfaced twice since 1951. In 1962, designer Brooks Stevens created a restyled version of the original for possible production in Brazil. Unfortunately, the factory lacked sufficient spare capacity to build it and the project had to be dropped.
But so strong was sentiment for the fancy Jeep roadster that in 1967, Kaiser Jeep -- successor to Willys-Overland -- introduced an all-new Jeepster. Sharing almost no parts with the original, the new four-wheel-drive Jeepster and Jeepster Commando enjoyed some success before being replaced by the Jeep Cherokee in 1974.
Long before that, though, Willy chairman Ward Canaday finally got the thing he wanted so badly. In 1952, Willys brought out a new passenger car, a two-door sedan that was the spiritual successor to the prewar Americar. Canaday was certain Willys would reap great profits from it.
For Jeepster specifications, check out the next section. It lists models, prices, and production numbers for the 1948-1951 Willys Jeepster, plus details on the 1949 model.
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