The Willys was done. The front bumper and bumper apron were installed. The rear bumper was constructed from aluminum beam and covered with aluminum diamond plate. The wood rails on the bed were just something to add to the country flair this truck was oozing. This was a completely fun project to undertake and the total build time was approximately 5 years from when I first obtained the Willys until it was registered to run on the street. Not only do I have a different type of streetrod, but a great big garage to play in too. If anyone has any questions, I'll be glad to explain in further detail any part of the build. Just send me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org .
The last interior project was the headliner and radio installation. I really didn't want to put the radio in the dash, as there wasn't that much room in the dash to begin with. There was, however, plenty of room in the headliner area. The stock headliner was a piece of fiberboard that was held in place by the usual automotive means, steel bows. There is a ledge that runs completely around the passenger compartment that made a dandy shelf to mount my wainscoating leather headliner. Some wood bucks were constructed from 1x4 after transferring the prerequisite cardboard pattern of the roof curvature. These bucks were then glued to the roof using a polyurethane adhesive obtained from Lowe's. The polyurethane adhesive has more holding power for bonding different types of material together. Once the adhesive was dry, insulation and sound deadening was applied to the area between the wood bucks. A cardboard template was constructed in 4 sections. The two end sections would house the radio speakers and the two center sections would surround the radio. The radio was supported by two of the bucks on either side of the radio. Power for the radio was run up the plastic tubing. Speaker wires were duct taped to the roof and placed with enough slack to hook up the speakers. The cardboard patterns were transferred to the wainscoating panels and installed. Willys interior complete.
Now that the outside is just about complete, I focused my attention on completing the interior. The area behind the bucket seats (Pontiac Sunfire) is just about useless. There is just no room for anything. The headrests lay right against the rear panel, which is more wainscoating. More insulation applied to the sheetmetal to quite road noise, keep cabin temperature somewhat controlled, and gave the radio sound waves something to bounce off of. Since the panels came is such small pieces, it was much easier to piece the panels to fit. I found some panel trim pieces for joining interior paneling that worked just great for making a neat looking edge. The trim pieces were cut to size and painted and had the panel slid into them. The interior of the Willys is fairly void of any sharp corners and is rather boxy which made making the rear panels pretty easy. Also note the 3-point seatbelts that were installed. Steeering wheel sandwitches are not tasty. Actually after wearing them in my Patrol car, our family car, and my S10, I actually feel naked and funny not wearing it.
The fender steps between the rear fenders and the cab were another item that had to be hand fabricated. There were a couple of versions on the stock Willys and I can only surmise that they were a dealer installed option. These steps were a simple fabrication project. Make a pattern from cardboard (the fabricators best friend), transfer to metal (aluminum in this case) and cut. I made a frame from some 1"x1/8" strap aluminum and welded the sheet aluminum to the frame. To minimize warping I made sure everything welded to securely clamped to the work table before being welded and waiting for it to cool before releasing it. Fill with bondo to smooth, prime, paint, and install. Some aluminum diamond plate finishes off the step to keep the paint somewhat intact.
On a vacation cruise to Alaska, I met a man who also shared the passion of hotrods. We met on the flight to Fairbanks and I noticed he was reading a copy of Chevy Hi-Performance magazine. It was instant bonding from that point on. I guess it was a small world cause we're were both taking the same cruise, on the same boat, and were locationed on the same deck. And his wife and my wife hit it off great too. To make a long story short, he worked in a stainless steel fabrication shop and I asked him if he could make a "puke tank" for my Willys. I emailed him the dimensions when I got home and a short time later the package arrived. Needless to say, the workmanship was outstanding, it fit perfectly and I give him all the credit in the world. Guess it pays to have friends in all the right places.