1951 Willys Overland Station Wagon: An SUV ahead of its time

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Take a look at this. Before we had high-riding ‘crossovers’ and lifestyle vehicles, there was the super-cool Willys Overland Station Wagon.

A beautiful 1951 model was recently offered at the Shannons Sydney Winter Classic Auction, but it was passed in. For the life of us we can’t work out why it didn’t sell – just look at it.

More than 28,000 units were produced worldwide before 1964, but it’s a rare model in Australia, with only six imported by three dealers in the 1950s. This particular car has undergone a right-hand drive conversion at some point.

Willys Overland was based in Ohio, and was best known for building affordable passenger cars before World War Two. After the war ended, the company focused on more user-friendly versions of the Jeep.

Brook Stevens designed this Willys Overland variant, which was the first factory-produced all-steel station wagon in North America.

The Station Wagon was very practical, with space for five adults and their suitcases (or trunks, if we’re being period correct) in the boot. The passenger seat base folds completely forward for easier access for rear seat passengers.

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