Noobie restoring a '57 Wagon


Sharpest Tool
Jun 25, 2016
Riverton, Utah
First Name
Willys Model
  1. Wagon
Willys Year:
  1. 1957
I had a 56 wagon in high school. I just loved that Jeep.

40 years later I decided I had to have another one. I kept my eyes open to find a good candidate, and finally selected one with an interesting history. The guy I bought it from told me that it was used by the railroad in Price, Utah as a maintenance wagon. It had some interesting modifications.

There were some heavy (at least 100 lbs) square tubes bolted to the frame that pivoted and allowed the railroad 'tires' mounted on the tubes to be swung into position to enable the wagon to travel on the rails. There was a bracket bolted on to the body on each side above the fenders that held the oxygen and acetylene tanks. Apparently the hoses were routed to the roof where there were two neat 3 inch holes drilled through the roof. near the back. The bumpers were cut to accommodate the pivoting arms, so I am going to have to find some bumpers at some point to complete this project.

There is a little rust through in all the usual locations drivers floor pan, above the rear tires. The base of the tailgate was completely rusted out as well as the floor here, but strangely, the metal supporting the tailgate is in really good shape. My first attempt at welding with my new harbor freight flux core welder is here.

When I got it the railroad tires were removed. The seller offered me the assembly, but they were too heavy to carry!
Long story short, I bought it and disassembled it and I am now having the time of my life learning to weld, making patch panels and etc. I have the aptitude and interest, but precious little practical experience. I am getting a lot of help from you tube. I have a video from which I will post some stills another day.

I plan to get the body into reasonable shape and then pop the body off the frame and have the entire package abrasive blasted. Then do a frame up restoration or maybe replace the frame entirely with a salvaged TJ frame. I would appreciate any help or suggestions as I get ready make that decision. I have many months (years?) before I get that far.

The 6 cylinder engine appears to be in good condition, but I haven't done a compression test on it yet. I did hear it crank, so it's not seized up at least. The frame looks good. With the exception of the drivers floor pan there is very little rust on the floor.
I will be posting again soon. I built a form on Saturday to make the patch panels for the rust out above the rear wheels. I plan to form the top step of the sheet metal with my Harbor Freight Bead Roller. The bottom roll I hope I can hammer into shape around this form. I'll let you know how it works and post the pictures, whether it works or not! 20170325_185112.jpg
I hope to get a lot of help from those of you who know what you are doing. Thanks for looking.