1963 Willys-Jeep Fleetvan Owner

FleetVan

Bigger Hammer
Oct 21, 2016
36
Asheville, NC
First Name
Ron
Willys Model
  1. Other
Willys Year:
  1. 1963
Hi everyone. I own a 1963 fleetvan that we bought three years ago in Michigan. It's been at a North Carolina resto shop since. They were taking forever, botched the work they did perform, and are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy so in September we rescued it back. We contacted FantomWorks (http://fantomworks.com/) in Norfolk, VA, and they agreed to take over the restoration. If you haven't seen their show on the Velocity Channel, do check it out. It should be a fun adventure!

Ron
www.facebook.com/fleetvan
 

FleetVan

Bigger Hammer
Oct 21, 2016
36
Asheville, NC
First Name
Ron
Willys Model
  1. Other
Willys Year:
  1. 1963
Our fleetvan is being worked on now and they are filming it as they go so the episode won't air until it's done, probably next summer/fall season.
 

FleetVan

Bigger Hammer
Oct 21, 2016
36
Asheville, NC
First Name
Ron
Willys Model
  1. Other
Willys Year:
  1. 1963
We're doing a straight resto as much as parts availability allows. Keeping the original flathead engine and 3-speed manual transmission.

I saw your other post that you might be looking for one. A good source is here: http://www.ewillys.com/category/fj/. Two were recently for sale on ebay.
 

wmildman

Bigger Hammer
Dec 6, 2013
87
South Georgia USA
First Name
Edsel
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1962
I think you are incorrect about the flathead description. Yours is a 1963 and mine is a 1961. They have overhead valve motors. When you get to the brakes you will run into a wall, you may find parts this time but brakes wear out and then you may not be able to find parts. I changed mine to disc for that reason. No one will notice except you the owner and they work better.
 

FleetVan

Bigger Hammer
Oct 21, 2016
36
Asheville, NC
First Name
Ron
Willys Model
  1. Other
Willys Year:
  1. 1963
Yep. That's the one. Corbett's Auto. They totally botched the body and paint work. Stay far far away from them. They've since re-orged under an LLC, relocated, and are changing their name to Fabbit Customs. Can't say more at this time.
 

FleetVan

Bigger Hammer
Oct 21, 2016
36
Asheville, NC
First Name
Ron
Willys Model
  1. Other
Willys Year:
  1. 1963
Re the "Flat Head" - That's what the description on the flyer says and what the guy who rebuilt it said. Are "overhead" and "F-head" and "Flat Head" interchangeable terms?? We did upgrade to disc brakes, too. Agree that's important. Safety first!
Capture.JPG
 

FleetVan

Bigger Hammer
Oct 21, 2016
36
Asheville, NC
First Name
Ron
Willys Model
  1. Other
Willys Year:
  1. 1963
Yah, I've been looking for bumpers, too. I've pretty much given up and have suggested to the shop, FantomWorks, that they just buy a set of generic ribbed longer bumpers from Step Van Parts dot com and cut/splice them down to size.
 

wmildman

Bigger Hammer
Dec 6, 2013
87
South Georgia USA
First Name
Edsel
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1962
Everything I have ever read L head was the flat head and F head was overhead valve, seems kinda backwards but you call it anything you want to. One of the odd things is a lot of internal parts are the same pistons, rings, rods and bearings (Check it out and let me know if I am wrong. I have been trying to learn about these odd little guys.
How did you upgrade your brakes? I used Scarebird brackets, Toyota rotors and Chevy celebrity calipers. (Long story there) If you did the same I know why. No one offers a bracket for us, a little head scratching went on for me to figure it out!!! I shared this info with you know who.
We will need to get together and compare notes and FJ3As
 

FleetVan

Bigger Hammer
Oct 21, 2016
36
Asheville, NC
First Name
Ron
Willys Model
  1. Other
Willys Year:
  1. 1963
<wmildman > Ah, so are you the guy who talked with Corbett's a while ago? They mentioned once about being contacted (visited?) by someone nearby (GA)? who just purchased an FJ to restore. Did you buy my wheels?

I'll check my receipts for exactly what they used for the brake upfit. It's been so long ago since that work was done. :(. There wasn't any time for pleasantries or information exchange when I rescued our van - 5 minutes and I was in and out of there.
 
Last edited:

Auggie

Well Oiled
Jul 3, 2012
2,362
Gardner Kansas
First Name
Bryce
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1958
Everything I have ever read L head was the flat head and F head was overhead valve, seems kinda backwards but you call it anything you want to. One of the odd things is a lot of internal parts are the same pistons, rings, rods and bearings (Check it out and let me know if I am wrong. I have been trying to learn about these odd little guys...

you are correct the F-head has is the overhead valve. the L-head is the flathead. i believe this is due to the way the valves align with the pistons. so the L is a upside down L cause the valves are in the block. the F is becuase one set of valves is in the block and 1 set in the head. not sure about the internal bits and pieces being the same. it does seem like something they would have done.

a few years ago there was one of these for sale. i tried to get my dad to buy it. but was not interested, and i didnt have the coin at that time. i keep hoping it will pop up again on our little local craigslist type add.
 

wmildman

Bigger Hammer
Dec 6, 2013
87
South Georgia USA
First Name
Edsel
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1962
<wmildman > Ah, so are you the guy who talked with Corbett's a while ago? They mentioned once about being contacted (visited?) by someone nearby (GA)? who just purchased an FJ to restore. Did you buy my wheels?

I'll check my receipts for exactly what they used for the brake upfit. It's been so long ago since that work was done. :(. There wasn't any time for pleasantries or information exchange when I rescued our van - 5 minutes and I was in and out of there.

We stopped by on our way home from VA with our FJ3A and chatted for a while and looked at yours and the progress. That was a couple of years ago, May 2014 I think, yours had net been there long.
As for your wheels, not me I was looking for stock wheels & hubcaps with no luck. I am probably gonna use one from Summit, still a very narrow wheel (5.5") so it should look OK.
My next move is a little more concrete to work on (12' x 25') next to my little shop. Then I want to remove the body for ease of re-working everything underneath.
As for your brakes the picture I saw when it was all apart they did some sort of upgrade but not disc, maybe they did later with no pictures. Either way if you want to upgrade to front disc I can send you the details, it is easy and I saw a new double master cylinder on yours.
Stay in touch
Wmildman
 

FleetVan

Bigger Hammer
Oct 21, 2016
36
Asheville, NC
First Name
Ron
Willys Model
  1. Other
Willys Year:
  1. 1963
Bumpers ???

As with most of these vans, by the time they make it to the resto shop the bumpers are long gone. The original bumpers were very simple - flat with a rib on the top and bottom. The front had a slight curve and the rear wrapped around at 90 degrees. See: http://www.oldwillysforum.com/forum/showthread.php?10408-All-New-Jeep-Fleetvan-Flyer

We're at the point of needing new ones for our project. We've considered getting stepvan bumpers and cutting out a section in the center to shrink the length but most of them are 9" tall and, proportionally, don't look that great. 6", maybe even 7", would be better.

Does anyone have suggestions where we might find a couple?

Thanks!
 

Outridder

Gear Grinder
Nov 12, 2016
7
Maryland
First Name
Dan
Willys Model
  1. Other
Willys Year:
  1. 1964
Hi, just found your old post and could use the info you have on converting FJ3-A to disc. I'm at that wall you talked about, not finding any help on what brakes I have, back are different than the front. Outridder
 

FleetVan

Bigger Hammer
Oct 21, 2016
36
Asheville, NC
First Name
Ron
Willys Model
  1. Other
Willys Year:
  1. 1963
Hey Outridder!

It turns out Fabbit Customs (the first shop) cobbled together brake parts from several sources to build our front brakes. Although they worked, they were very unreliable and unsafe. FantomWorks tore that hodgepodge out and replaced them with 85 Ford Ranger drum brakes. Yes, they're still drum, but we will never be driving over 35mph nor using them until they get hot. They chose 85 Ford ranger because they required only minor mods to make work. Plus, if we ever need new brakes it'll be a little easier to find 85 For Ranger parts. They looked far and wide for exact replacements and eventually gave up.

Ron
 

wmildman

Bigger Hammer
Dec 6, 2013
87
South Georgia USA
First Name
Edsel
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1962
Hi, just found your old post and could use the info you have on converting FJ3-A to disc. I'm at that wall you talked about, not finding any help on what brakes I have, back are different than the front. Outridder

I wound up using Scarebird brackets for a mid 60 Rambler ( if you look and measure they are the same, the only thing, Rambler is a 2 piece and the FJ3A is a 1 piece spindle) follow their suggestions for rotor and caliper. I have hit a snag on my other project and that put the FJ3A on the back burner. I have not come up with master cylinder.
Good Luck
 
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