New guy - old truck


Gear Grinder
Mar 14, 2010
Willys Model
Willys Year:

Looks like a great forum. I'm building a 55 pickup, with the entertaining mission of "what would Willys have built today?" for a working man's truck. It's been fun, I'm about halfway there.

Here's the stats: Cummins 4BT, Dodge NV 5-speed, Atlas II transfer case, Dana 44 front axle, Ford 9" rear axle, disc brakes front and back. Saginaw steering (scout II) with Flaming River column. 304SS 3" exhaust, boxed frame, new leaf springs with neoprene bushings and grease channels, Lokar cables, custom pedals, vette MC, and lots of help from skilled and patient friends.

Sheet metal (floor, box, cab corners)is replaced. Body is waiting for me to finish the chassis. custom 21 gallon 304ss fuel tank with filler switched to drivers side comes in a week or so.

That's where it's at. Looking forward to hearing about other peoples journeys. :cheers:
Welcome Jim-

Sounds like a great project, post some pics when you get a chance.

Hey Willysman

Wow.."if they made Willys today"...hmmmm..sounds like you got a great start. The stats you listed sounds like a huge project to me. How is the Cummins fitting under the 1955 sheetmetal??? dad had a 1989 Dodge truck with a Cummins in it. You opened the hood it was huge under the hood. Nothing like the sound and smells of a Diesel engine.

What is the age and specs of a "4BT"??? it the new single rail system or an older motor...just wondering...

Would love to see pictures of it.

The folks over at Willys I bet would be proud I am sure. :)
Thanks for the comments. Yes, it's been two years of picking away at it. If I work any harder it won't be leisure. I'll try to find time to post pix - it's drivetrain is complete now but I don't have a wide-angle lens...will think of something.

The 4BT is a little less intimidating than the 6 cylinder that came in the Dodge pickups. That's how we got the room under the hood. The engine came out of a delivery van somewhere in Ohio. Not a common-rail system, but it's got a decent pump and turbo on it. I'm looking forward to getting it running, benchmarking it, and then making modifications. I picked the gears high to acheive 30mpg at 70mph - if i guessed at the drag coefficient correctly. I got hold of the fuel consumption curve for the 4BT from a friend, so that helped.

One thing under consideration is making an intercooler for the turbo using radiator water on the other side. Since the intercooler doesn't do much good unless the compressor is making air around 400F, the working hunch is that 200F radiator water might work just fine to cool the airstream. Does anyone out there have good/bad experience with this stunt? It looks like there's lots of room for improvement on the intake air piping without spending a bunch of money, so we'll see about that too. But first things first. She needs to run.

Meanwhile, I'm running brake lines and just got the Classic Instruments gauges on order. Fuel tank is in fabrication. It's starting to come together, so I'm pretty happy. I'll go try and figure this photo posting thing out - never done it before.
If i remember correctly (it was 2 yrs ago), it was about $2,500 delivered on a pallet. Included PS pump, no alternator, no fan, no bellhousing.