ICS 2021 - 1941 WILLY(S) PATROL Deboss Garage
ICS 2021


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1941 Willys MB body and tub with plenty of history.

The body has been lengthened by around 24 inches between the tub and front end, all using scrap metal from the original floors.

Every single body panel has either been modified or used to enlarge other panels. this was done to replicate the proportions and shape of a prototype Jeep developed for the Pacific War (MLW-2).

Nissan Patrol 2.8 Diesel engine (RD28 NA), gearbox and transfer case (2wd hi, 4wd hi and 4wd lo)

Heavily modified Nissan Patrol Frame, with the wheelbase shortened by about 20 inches

Fabricated front subframes to hold auxiliaries and fenders

Nissan something rear leaf springs turned backwards. Several leafs have also been removed to aid flex, with custom fabricated longer shackles.

35’’ tyres with custom made beadlock steel wheels.

Guardia Civil (Spanish militarized police) axles with 5.89 gearing, Rear locking differential and welded front differential with freewheeling hubs

Everything custom built: e.g. seats, floorpans, steering column, pedal box, loom, etc.

About the build:

Hi all and welcome to the walkaround of my Frankenheep, the love child of a Willys MB and an RD28 Nissan Patrol. My mates call it the “Willy Patrol” for obvious reasons. There is no other way to put it: this is not the most complex project I have ever tackled but it is the best and most important one of my life.

After living in the UK for far too many years I returned to Spain in late March 2020, just as all countries were starting to fully lock down- it was a time of mixed emotion, I was happy to be back close to my family but sad that I had walked away from the life I had been building in the UK, coupled with the frustrations of a lockdown I needed something to occupy my time: a project car to build.

In 1985, my parents bought a 1941 Willys MB. It was already far from original due to nearly 70 years of sustained use and abuse on Spanish farms. These Jeeps were put together from several wrecked ones after WW2 and sent to European countries which needed aid as part of the Marshall plan. We have traced down the entire history of the Jeep from its arrival in Spain via a port down south to spending over 40 years working in a quarry and then a few farms, until it was finally left to rot in a field. During those years it was modified to suit the needs of whatever it was being used for. The body had been chopped and welded, doors had been added, the engine had been swapped with a diesel Perkins, someone had tried to hide the fact that it was an army jeep effectively plastering a CJ2 on top of the shell, so I have not destroyed a concours, historically accurate model by any means. When my parents acquired it, it was effectively scrap! They quickly recommissioned it to use on dirt tracks, as a weekend toy. 1985 is the year of my birth so thinking about it this was probably my dad’s mid-life crisis car- it was fitting for me to use during my crisis also.

Moving forwards to 2020, I am 35. The same age as my dad when he bought the jeep. I have a daughter who loves Jeeps so I will embrace the fact that this will be my mid-life crisis vehicle too. The Willys had enjoyed around 35 years of being the family’s pet, both my brother and I learned how to drive using it and thrashed it around the local lanes and trails. It had gone from being a rugged veteran working itself to death doing physical jobs to being a friendly family vehicle that the kids loved, a bit of a Clint Eastwood enjoying his retirement looking after the grandkids. That peaceful retirement was about to end!

The Perkins Diesel engine finally gave up. It was the perfect time to keep within the spirit of this Jeep. Continual evolution to suit the needs of the user. I wanted to modernise and modify it a bit, in order to be able to off road it a bit harder whilst keeping an old school diesel powertrain. Then I discovered that the chassis was weak and rotten, and the axles, steering and suspension had more wobble than a plate of jello. At this point the only sensible option was to chop it all up and buy a donor 2.8 Diesel Patrol for 500EU. I don’t like the idea of a re-shell, perching the MB body on top of the Patrol chassis, and I don’t like jeeps which have only been extended in the tub, the proportions look wrong to me. During my research for the project, I saw pictures of an obscure Pacific war prototype Jeep that they built in 1944, I liked the appearance so I decided to recreate its shape. I had never done any fabrication beyond welding patch panels myself, but how hard can it be? I planned to and use the Patrol as a donor for the powertrain, main chassis members and steel needed to make the MB more like the Pacific proto-type Jeep.

Here it is, hundreds of cutting discs, many broken angle grinders and a very tired mig welder later I am about ¾ of the way to the finish line and the thing already drives. To me it is still the original sweetheart Jeep I grew up with even if it has had some severe surgery and a few shots of steroids and growth hormone…after all, wouldn’t you keep your pet going forever even if that meant using some donor organs every now and then?

Thanks for watching and I hope that you enjoy the build!

PS. In the unlikely event of winning anything we want it to go straight to a charity of the organiser's choice, given that we are in Spain and it won't be fair to get them to send us stuff.

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