Jim Newberry's 1941 Willys Coupe
(from Volume 19, Issue 209)

Jim Newberry told us he is just a country boy living in South Hillsborough County and doing what he loves to do, building street rods and working with classic cars. Jim told us that he started out like most good ole boys, under the shade of an old oak tree....only in his case it was a pine tree. He built motors for his B/Gas drag car, and after Jim did his duty in Vietnam he graduated to a little home shop and started on the dirt tracks. Eventually he hooked up with the Reutimanns in Zephyrhills, and Wayne Reutimann drove his late model to numerous trophy wins (and once in a while Buzzy Reutimann would give it a spin). As the years passed and Jim got older, he started leaning toward his dream of building street rods. He started out with a 1940 Chevy, and then went on to a “Get-Um-Green” 1953 Pickup that was featured in several magazines. He also built his wife a 1958 American Motors Rambler that she drove to work for several years, and then finally turned his attention to his dream car....a 1941 Willys Coupe.

Jim fabricated the chassis for the Willys from 2x4 inch rectangular tubing in his home shop, along with all the suspension. That consists of a 4-bar with a wishbone and Pro Shocks coil overs out back, and a Mustang II with tubular A-arms and power steering up front.

On the exterior the classic lines of the Willys were accentuated with silver pearl and cinnamon pearl paint, plus tribal style flames for some extra attitude. The Weld Pro Star wheels lend classic drag race inspired styling, and out back are wrapped in huge 15x31x18.50 inch Mickey Thompson rubber.

Backing up the car’s aggressive styling is a World Products big block Chevy displacing 496 cubic inches, fitted with a set of Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins oval port heads, and topped by a B&M 871 super charger with a pair of 750cfm Edelbrock carbs. The serpentine belt system is from Street & Performance, a custom radiator from Cooled By I.C.E. in Sarasota keeps the temperature in check, and nearly everything on the engine is either plated or polished. Jim told us the combo puts out 800 horsepower, which is transferred through a Rossler Turbo 400 automatic fitted with a 2,400 stall torque converter, and ultimately to the Chassisworks Fab9 rear end with 31 spline Moser axles, 3.25:1 gears, and Trac-Lock differentials.

Inside you’ll find a set of seats by Krist Customs, while Jim himself was responsible for the remaining interior work (and the matching trunk), including a custom console and stylish door panels. A polished tilt steering column is topped with a billet steering wheel, white faced gauges let Jim monitor the vital info, billet accessories tastefully dress everything up, and dove gray Ultra Leather upholstery and air conditioning keep the ride comfortable.

It took Jim about three years to complete his Willys, making his dream come true. It is always a hit at the shows he attends, including our own Beach Blast in Cocoa Beach every May, where he took a Top 50 award as voted by fellow participants at Beach Blast 17 in 2011. From working on cars in the shade of a pine tree, participating in drag racing and dirt track racing, to building his own classic cars including this outstanding ‘41 Willys Coupe, we would say Jim has led an interesting gear head life. We were happy to shoot his car inside the world famous Daytona International Speedway at the Turkey Run over Thanksgiving weekend, and share it with you here. CN