Bill Henry's 1941 Willys Coupe
(from Volume 21, Issue 247)

story by owner Bill Henry, photos by Michael B. Kelly


I always wanted to build a 1941 Willys Coupe....though this is not my first build. I put together a 1931 Ford Model A for my dad back in the 80’s, and did a 1970 Mustang Mach 1 as a father and son project with my oldest son, Bill. When my younger son, Rich, became of age I did another father and son project with him, which was a 1972 Volkswagen Bug. After the boys left home it was my turn, so I built a pro-street 1967 Mustang with a 351 Windsor motor topped by a blower. After about 5 years with the Mustang, I sold it and started to build the 1941 Willys you see here in 2007.

My Willys started with an Outlaw Performance body and frame. Most Willys you see have Chevy or Mopar engines in them, so I wanted to be different. Being a Ford guy, I put a Ford in my Willys. It is a 460 cubic inch block stroked to now displace 502 cubes. I chose an 871 BDS blower to top it off, and installed a big blower scoop on the dual Holley 750cfm carburetors, plus lots of polished and plated parts throughout. It is backed by a C6 automatic transmission built to handle the 700hp motor, and the driveline is rounded out by a 9-inch Ford rear end housing with 3.73:1 gears and 31 spline Strange axles. The dark cherry paint (which appears black except when in really bright sun) is accented by ghost flames and a set of Weld 5-star wheels, with the rears wrapped in 33X21.50R15LT Hoosier radial tires. The light gray interior has a custom center console, overhead console, lots of billet accent items, digital gauges, Hurst pistol-grip style shifter, and Vintage Air to keep it all cool.

I finished the Willys in 2009, just in time for the Daytona Turkey Run over Thanksgiving weekend. I enjoy building cars. It is a lot of work, but also a lot of fun! Since completion the Willys has received a Top 25 at the NHRA Hot Rod Reunion in Bowling Green, Kentucky for 2012 and 2014, Best Of Show at the Ocala Pumpkin Run in 2012, Best Of Show at the Silver Springs Ford & Mustang Roundup in 2012, and Best Engine at Beach Blast 20 hosted by Mike Kelly’s Cruise News in Cocoa Beach during 2014. -Bill Henry