View Full Version : Replacement for "Plastic Style" Arm Rests; 46 - 49 Trucks and Wagons

04-24-2018, 03:21 PM
The 1946 through 1949 trucks and station wagons had arm rests with a molded plastic frame that tied the arm rest to the door mounting screw inserts. The plastic piece was a fairly complex molded piece - and as far as I have been able to determine – this is a piece that just doesn’t exist any longer. Even if you could find an original base, it would be so brittle that it you would not want to use it.

The plastic bases were expensive to produce, and by about 1950 Willys replaced the plastic with basic metal arm rest frames. Both of my plastic rests broke in the middle ‘60’s or early 70’s and after they broke you just found a finger hold somewhere and slammed the door to close it.

When we were doing the restoration on the ’48, I looked just about everywhere to find a replacement and found no one who was making replicas of the original plastic arm rest bases. I could not even find one to borrow to use as a model. (I had a woodworking buddy who had agreed to make one from wood – if I could find an example to work from.) After looking for about a year, I ordered a set of the “new” arm rests from KWAS.

I was pleased to find that the mounting holes for the new style arm rests would match up with my doors with just a minor bit of touching up with a tapered round file. I took the rests to my upholstery guy and asked him to make me a set of arm rest covers that matched the rest of the interior – which he did. They turned out nice. I know they are not “original” style, but they are a lot better than not having a place to put your elbow as you go down the road.

04-27-2018, 08:23 AM
Thank you for the history lesson. I didn't know that the arm rests were plastic. As soon as I started reading, I thought that was odd that mine were steel. Then it made sense that they reduced costs and went away from the plastic. Your finished product looks good.