First, what makes the 1933 Willys Gasser so darn cool? The 1933 Willys Gasser of today started as what was known as the “Willys 77” with a 48 horsepower, 4-cylinder engine and a short 100 inch wheelbase. While most often referred to as a 1933 Willys Gasser, the Willys 77 car was produced from 1933 to 1936. The popularity of the 1933 Willys Gasser can be directly attributed to one man: Ohio George Montgomery.
George had been achieving some degree of success in NHRA Gas Class racing since 1957 with a Cadillac-powered 1934 Ford. But as horsepower increased traction decreased because the rudimentary slicks of the day just couldn’t put the power to the pavement. Recognizing that what he needed to achieve drag racing dominance was high horsepower, light weight, and good weight transfer for traction, George ditched the ’34 Ford for a 1933 Willys coupe acquired from a local salvage yard.
The little Willys as it came from the factory was 500 pounds lighter than the ’34 Ford: a big 20% weight reduction! More importantly, the Willys’ wheelbase was a whole foot shorter than the Ford to help achieve much-needed better weight transfer. And with a 5″ narrower tread and body even more so it was a compact coupe to reckon with.
To help the weight transfer even more, George filled the spare tire at the rear of the car with 250 pounds of concrete. Seems as though a completely concrete filled spare weighs something like 600 pounds, but that first attempt was too heavy for them to lift and mount on the trunk!
With this combination, George headed to the NHRA Nationals in Detroit in 1959 and handily won not only the A/Gas class, but also Little Eliminator. After that, NHRA banned the concrete spare but George returned in 1960 to be the first back-to-back class and Eliminator winner and in return won a brand new 1960 Ford Falcon Ranchero pickup.
If that wasn’t enough, George won his class for the third year in a row in 1961 and then replaced the blown Caddy with a blown Chevy small block to capture class and Middle Eliminator honors at the 1963 Nationals, thereby earning the nickname “King of the Gassers” and increasing the value of every 1933 Willys either in junk yards or on the street by several times.
If you’ve got an original steel Willys 77 it’s a rare find. Less than 13,000 were produced during the four year run.
But beware. Even with a mild 350 HP engine you’ll be increasing your Willys’ horsepower by over 500% and it’s weight by over 25%. If you dare to do that with the original Willys frame, get ready for some problems: not only in handling and potential failure, but also your body work getting torqued and paint cracked — to say nothing of keeping doors aligned and opening.
Hey, even if you’re thinking additional crossmembers and reinforcement, just remember that it’s just an addition on a thin steel frame that’s over 80 years old! Back in the day, even the NHRA changed the rules to allow 1933 Willys Gasser owners to ditch the original flimsy frame. Our 1933 Willys gasser frame plans show you how to build a modern frame using strong, readily available and economic 1/8″ rectangular steel tubing!
It’s more likely you’ll be using a modern fiberglass ’33 Willys body and you’ll want to be sure you mount it on a good, solid frame to prevent cracks in the fiberglass or your paint finish.
If you’re shopping for a newly built Willys Gasser chassis, though, get ready to spend over $5000 for something that was designed only for the drag strip. But, there’s a better, much more economic solution.
Street or Strip, the Most Complete 1933 Willys Gasser Frame Plans
This plan set shows you how to build either standard width main frame rails or the Pro Street version to accommodate large rear tires, 4 important strengthening crossmembers, including a driveshaft loop for safety, as well as body mounts to go with most available fiberglass Willys bodies.
And our plans can be used to build a modern chassis for a 1933 to 1936 Willys coupe, sedan or pickup truck.
The plans are not only detailed, but also versatile to cover the many different ways you may want to custom tailor your 1937 to 1942 Willys frame.
- The plans with work with a straight axle or a Mustang II independent front suspension.
- The rear end can be mounted with ladder bars, 4 link, 4 bar or leaf springs.
- Drawings are provided for a stock width frame as well as a narrowed version to permit you to mount monster tires and install wheel tubs.
- All frame rail parts
- Crossmembers, including rear coil over crossmember & mounts
- Driveshaft loop
- Front spring mounts (required if using a straight axle)
- Body mounts to work with most available fiberglass bodies
The drawing package includes: Fourteen (14) big 11×17” pages showing you how make all parts, assemble them and then install the finished product successfully on your car. In addition to the drawings you also will receive full installation instructions, bill of materials as well as important information on how to make the options you choose work for your car.
Each step of the way, you’ll learn what is the proper material and size to use, exact dimensions and drawings, 3D views and detailed construction tips, like how to ensure crossmembers are properly cut to avoid chassis misalignment.
If that’s not enough, the plans also include in exact detail how to lay out an assembly table just for your 1933 Willys gasser frame to assure its proper alignment, as well as final assembly instructions.