Running across a Willys usually puts us in a nostalgic mood, since so many Willys owners take a retro approach when tackling a build-up. Bill Gildersleeve from Paulden, Arizona, took a totally different approach with his beautiful ’41 Willys pickup, and the results are terrific. Here’s what he has to say about it.

“Always having to have a vehicle of some kind to build, I decided to try the ’41 Willys body from Auto Classics for my next project.

“After ordering the body, I had some time to locate a rust free Arizona ’87 S10 pickup donor truck. I then took the frame and suspension parts to the sandblast shop for a total strip down to bare steel. The frame and suspension were then painted satin black with several coats of urethane paint.

“An eBay seller provided the 2002 LS1 engine and 4L60E transmission. Due to limited space under the hood, I modified and lengthened the stock PCM harness to allow the PCM to be located under the passenger seat. The battery was relocated underneath the pickup bed.

“Underfloor brakes were installed in order to keep the firewall area looking uncluttered. An auto salvage yard was finally able to locate a bolt-in 8.5-inch 3.46:1 GM disk brake rear for me. I replaced the stock steering box with a power assisted rack-and-pinion steering set-up to make room for a much larger radiator. The hood was then remounted on a custom-made tilt mechanism to allow better access to the engine compartment.

“After many hours of bodywork and block sanding, a friend of mine named Rich Edgar shot the truck with three coats of Hemi Orange Pearl paint and three clearcoats.

“The Upholstery Guy in Chino Valley, Arizona, stitched the interior on the custom framing and panels that I made.

There is 40 square feet of hand-cut and formed aluminum diamond-plate in the bed of the truck, on the rear fender guards, and inside the cab.”

There are many other custom features that distinguish Bill’s Willys from the pack, including suicide doors with a keyless remote entry system, power windows, power seats, a tilt GM steering column, GM cruise control, and heat and A/C from Vintage Air.

Editor’s Note: Getting your truck into Readers’ Trucks is a snap, of the camera, that is. All it takes are a few good-quality photos of your ride that are in focus and well lit. High-resolution digital photos can be sent in via email to: timothy.bernsau@sorc.com. Traditional prints are also acceptable and should be sent to: CCT, c/o Readers’ Trucks, 1733 Alton Parkway, Suite 100, Irvine, CA 92606. It is important that you include a detailed description of the modifications you have made to your truck, including any interesting stories behind it. Due to the volume of mail we receive, we regret that we cannot return photographs.