The 1933 Willys 77 Coupe was a trend-setting car. It would provide the engine that was later used in the Jeep. The car was also the basis for dragsters among the car enthusiast community. While many may know its effect on the automotive racing world, not many are aware that the 33 Willys 77 Coupe was the result of a passionate attempt to avoid bankruptcy. Lexus & Toyota Service brings you more on this.
The car that brought a financial turnaround
The Willys car brand was founded by John North Willys. In 1929, he retired from active participation in the brand and was appointed the U.S. ambassador to Poland. The economic Depression later occurred and almost wiped out the Willys car company. John had to come back in 1932 to try and save it. One of the first activities which he did was approve the,33 Willys 77 Coupe. Later on, John realized that approving the car was the best decision he had ever made for his car company.
Features of the car
The 1933 Willys 77 Coupe was an upgraded Whippet. The car had a flathead 4 cylinder engine that had been tuned to produce an extra 48 horsepower than other Whippet cars. Moreover, the designers enhanced the car’s frame. In addition to that, they made the car’s wheelbase to be exactly 100 inches long. The coupe had a sloping roof. Moreover, its headlights were positioned to be faired into the car’s body. This resulted in an aerodynamic shape that was admired and respected by critics and enthusiasts alike.
John North Willys believed that the market in the Depression era needed a car which was small and economical. Therefore, he made sure that the 33 Willys 77 Coupe had these characteristics. The car’s mileage was 30 mpg (miles per gallon). In addition to that, its retail price was $395.00. After its release, there were so many orders that the company had trouble satisfying the demand.
Foray into racing
The Willys 77 Coupe was nicknamed the “Go-Devil” because it was light and very fast. The adventurous styling of the ’33 Coupe makes this one of the top 15 hotrods. It weighed just over 1 ton. Moreover, the car was compact in size and had great handling. As a result, racers quickly modified it for rally and drag racing.
As a matter of fact, a tuned Willys 77 Coupe routinely beat larger MGs, Bugattis and much more powerful Fords in races. Moreover, drag racers were very happy to discover that the 1933 Willys 77 Coupe was the smallest, lightest car in which you could fit a full size V8 engine.
Eventually, the Willys 77 Coupe was the car which saved the company. However, John North Willys died only a few days after his company overcame bankruptcy. However, the legacy of his car would live on in the hearts of drag racers and under the hood of Jeeps in the American Army.