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(Posted December 27, 2012) The build was completed in time for the Portland Roadster Show and its debut March 2012.  The name of the Willy's is Sarge.  A tribute to American Military and Police Veterans.  The small pinstripe/bloodstripe is identical in color to that on the trouser leg of the Marine Corps Dress Blue Uniform.  Note the Sgt stripe tail light.

This 1940 Willy's (a.k.a. Speedway Coupe), titled in Oregon as a 1940 Re-constructed Willy’s has a very interesting Portland past.  The Coupe was located by Steve Parker (Benson Class of 1966) off S.E. 82nd. Ave in Portland during the summer of 1966.  The Coupe was purchased by a mutual friend of Steve's and the current owner Bob Wilson (also Benson H.S., class of 1966) named Gary Whitcher from N.E. Portland and Grant High School circa 1962.

It is believed by Steve Parker that the Willy’s was pretty much a complete car at the time.  Steve related that the car even had the front sheet metal. This is quite possible since original script; hood emblems and the two-piece grill were later retained from the tilt front end.

Gary must have stripped off and discarded the front sheet metal (a common practice) just after acquiring the car and before he turned the car into a Gasser.  The firewall was cut back, Corvair independent front suspension was added and the rear fenders were flared.  Fiberglass tilt front ends were becoming popular and one was added to the car.  The Willy’s was re-titled as a 1967 Assembled vehicle, which was Oregon law at the time.

Gary enlisted in the Navy (Submarines) and the Willy’s ended up in Hawaii for a few years.  The car was drag raced in Honolulu.  After being released from active duty Gary returned to Portland around 1973 and so did the Willy's.  Gary would take the Willy’s out every summer to various Cruises’ in the Portland area. Gary's passions were his Willy's, his Ham Radio (K7MHE) and most anything electronic.  After getting out of the service Gary initially lived with George Saxon Kerr, "Sax" off N.E. 33rd and Sandy Blvd.  Sax who stood 6' 5" suffered from Polio as a child and later in life was a Broadway Cab driver.

Sax's V/8 Ford powered Henry J cruised Sandy Blvd, Yaws, Tic Toc, The Speck, Terminal 4, Jim Dandy's and the midnight drags at Delta Park during the mid 60's.  The car was usually driven by Jim Goodman.  Sax's dad Mr. George Kerr, a local Businessman, together with Art (Butch) Fleming, was involved early on in helping to establish the Portland Drag Strip at Delta Park.  The Drag Strip would later become part of Portland International Raceway.

Sadly to say, Sax passed away in 1995 and Gary passed away in 1996.  For reasons unknown Gary decided to leave the car to Bob Wilson. The Willy's was in pretty rough shape.  The original chassis had been cut on many times and patched in the driveway during so many fabrications that it was unsafe.  The sheet metal floor was partially gone as was the firewall and cowling.   The lower doors were rusted and filled in with bondo.  The dash was gone, the steering was sloppy and the brakes were nearly non-existent.

Two years after getting the car, Bob decided that the Willy's needed a total rebuild.  First a shop would be necessary.  So, in 1997 Bob erected an all steel shop.  An Original hood and two front fenders were located in Abbottsford, B.C. Canada (thanks to Abe Suderman).  

Bob retired from the Portland Police Bureau in 2003 and took a job in Kosovo, to earn funds to continue the build.  After returning in 2004 Bob purchased the GM (502) Crate Motor, B&M Turbo 400 transmission, tires, wheels, radiator, chassis, air components and 2-inch wider rear fenders.

The chassis was built by Jim Meyer of Lincoln City, Oregon (also Benson class of 1966).  But alas funds soon were depleted to continue the build.  Plus, after Bob built his shop and finished dismantling the car he discovered that his skills would not be sufficient to build "THE WILLY'S" he wanted.

In 2008 Bob took another job, this time in South Sudan for a year.  During this time the car was left with Mike Coyner of Conyers’ Customs in N. Portland.  The floor, seat pans, firewall, cowl and doors were finished and the front runner system was installed.

In 2009 Mike Coyner sold his Hot Rod shop to Shane Kienholz an employee and the Willy's Master Fabricator.  Shane named his new shop Crossroad Customs, now located in Warren, Oregon.  Shane along with Eugene Nunez have done all of the Custom Body Fabrication since the start of the build.  A new steel dash, center section, and deck lid were purchased from Troy Thompson at Roland’s Rod Shop in Portland to make this Willy's a truly unique part of Portland's past, present, and future.  


Jim Meyer Racing, Lincoln City, Oregon

Front:  Air Bag Mustang II with TCI narrowed tubular a- arms and Meyer sway bar.
Rear:  Meyer ladder bars, panard bar, and Air Ride E-1 digital 4 way air controller.

Kugel 90 degree under dash 7” dual power booster
Front; TCI 11 inch 86 Chevrolet Camaro with Hawk HPS pads
Rear; 11 inch 2000 Ford Explorer disk with Hawk HPS pads and Lokar emergency brake

Power Train: 
Engine, ZZ502/502 GM Big Block with Holley 850 Dual Line carburetor, B&M Turbo 400 with hole shot 2400rpm stall converter, and Lokar shifter. (Transmission Tunnel Future designed to accept Gear Vendors Overdrive)
Rear End; Ford 9 inch 3.70 ratio with Dutchman 31 spline axles and Strange
Nodular Pro Street Posi-Traction.

Billet Specialties Vintec, Front 17x7, Rear 20x9.5, with Air Ride Wheel Plates

B.F. Goodrich G-Force KDWS   Front 205/45/17, Rear 295/45/20

Be Cool Aluminum Radiator, Condenser and Dual Electric Fans

1999 Concorde LXI

Flaming River Power Rack and Pinion w/remote fill.  Flaming River Tilt Column with Billet Vintec Steering Wheel.

Front, Willy’s Replacement Parts Halogen with original trim rings and steel buckets.
Rear, Hagan Street Rod LED Triple Sergeant Stripe

S & S Headers.  2.5 inch exhaust tubing into Flowmaster Muffler, QTP Electric cutouts.  Custom built by Crossroad Customs and Ceramic coated.

Air Conditioning: 
Vintage Air

Front Runner:
Vintage Air

Dakota Digital with modified bezel

Larry Worm Scappoose, Oregon

Sean Smith

Pin Stripe / Blood Stripe:
Paul Comeau

Sherwin Williams Ultra 7000: 
Classic Black P1/ Silver Frost Metallic M6470A

Brite Auto Upholstery, Portland, Oregon

Best Regards
Bob Wilson