1937 Willys Coupe – Sheridan Hale’s Survivor
Sheridan Hale’s bone stock, survivor, 1937 Willys coupe you see before you could weaken the knees of nearly every hot rodder on planet earth. Willys coupes dominated the Gasser Wars of the late 1950s and early 60s. The car’s small, lightweight bodies made for perfect drag race platforms, and the vast majority of them were converted into nose high, straight axle, drag strip warriors.
Willys that avoided being turned into drag cars would stand a good chance of being converted into Pro-Street monsters decades later. One would assume that Willys coupes came from the factory with massive tires stuffed in wheel tubs and supercharged engines in the early 1990s as it was so common to see them built that way. In the current era Willys coupes are held so sacred due to their early racing heritage that collectors are paying huge money for gutted shells, and often restoring them back to their racing heyday appearance.
So where does this leave “stock” Willys coupes? The answer to that question is “rarer than hen’s teeth.” So when MetalWorks received a contact from Ken and Norm Hale that they were looking for a shop to restore their Father’s basically untouched 1937 Willys coupe, they figured it had to be a mistake…that is until they sent a photo…then, they all got weak in the knees.
Ken and Norm’s father Sheridan was only 16 years old in 1937 when he purchased the brand new coupe. The reason he chose the Willys was that he had a limited amount of money, and the Willys was the least expensive car he could find. Sheridan used the coupe as his primary driver for many years to come, though he did have a 2nd vehicle in the form of a 1925 Star that he had converted into a truck.
In 1960, after decades of use around the family’s property, Sheridan personally painted the coupe in a fresh shade of green…in fact, his family still has 8mm video of him performing the paint job.
Once painted, each of the children would learn to drive in the coupe utilizing a half mile road on the families’ property.
Norm then decided he wanted to drive the coupe to high school in 1967 & 68…his driving time was cut short when he was pulled over by an officer and cited for a broken headlight. Norm parked the car as he could not locate a replacement headlight forcing the ‘37 into a long slumber.
When it came to upholstery, a simple and stock appearance was carried out, but materials were upgraded to leather giving it a luxurious feel.
Ken and Norm are fully aware that the stocker will strictly be a back roads cruiser with top speeds of around 45 mph, and they’re perfectly fine with that. As much as we all love a hot rod Willys coupe, it’s nice to know that there are still a handful remaining as they emerged from the factory…or at least close. That leather interior sure does smell nice!!
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