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Thread: 1950 - A Confusing Year

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    Super Moderator LarrBeard's Avatar
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    Nov 2014
    Ft. Wayne, IN

    1950 - A Confusing Year

    1950 was a confusing year for Willys-Overland truck and station wagon models.

    In early 1950 trucks were either Model 2WD (2-wheel drive) or Model 4WD (4-wheel drive). Station wagons in early 1950 were either Model 4X463 (4-wheel drive) or just plain Model 463’s.

    I don’t want to get into the entire wagon variations, but I am still trying to put together a rational story about how the trucks evolved in 1950. Someone, somewhere, has probably written the story more lucidly that I can and they may have access to WO records to help them – if so – please add to this story.

    As far as I can tell, 1950 was first of all a body style change for the trucks. Even the earliest 1950 models (except of course 1949 models that had their titles changed) had the new body style; the pushed out nose on the hood and grille, the fenders modified from the original flat fender design and five horizontal grill bars on the new pointy grille.

    The 1950 2WD and 4WD trucks still had the L-134 Go Devil engines up front and in the cab there were some minor styling changes, but they still had the old style square instrument clusters. There was not a large quantity of these trucks built; about 3650 4WD and only 971 2WD models.

    Then came the other 1950 trucks, often called the “1950-and- a- half” models. These were the Model 473 4WD models with about 9400 units produced and the 473 2WD models with about 4700 units. These were the first trucks to get the new F-134 Hurricane engine along with the restyled cab with the “clock and bar” instrument cluster (round speedometer with all of the gauges arranged in a row beneath the speedometer).

    There was one additional, unique, feature of the late 1950 Jeep vehicles - a brass medallion on the cowl – either on the driver or passenger side (and possibly both). It was a 1950 item and was not continued into 1951 by most accounts.

    Over the weekend I came across an early 1950 Model 4WD at the Hoagland (Indiana) Days Festival. The truck came from North Dakota where it last earned its living after being converted to a flatbed configuration by hauling huge loads of baled wheat straw from point A to point B on the farm. The owner discovered a custom dump bed that had been built for another Jeep truck and he installed it on the 1950 after removing the flatbed. (It isn’t a functional dump – just decorative).

    I gave it as good a looking over as I could under the circumstances. The five bar grille and the pointy nose reliably place it between 1950 and 1952. The special medallion puts it as a 1950, but in another of those “Did or didn’t Willys?” questions – did they really only put them on the late 1950’s, or was it another “Whenever” Willys break-in. This is an early 1950, the medallions were “supposedly” only on late 1950’s. (They were also available as repro items, so who knows?)

    The most interesting feature of the truck was the dashboard configuration. The dash has the old style square instrument cluster, with all black faced instruments and the “five line” highlighting on the faceplate – the engine turned faceplates had been discontinued in early 1948 (?) by most accounts.

    But, and this is the first time I had seen this, the windshield wiper button is mounted on the flat surface just above the speedometer and the “ash receiver” is located on top of the dash at the base of the windshield. In the ’48, the two are reversed – ash receiver above the speedometer and wiper at the base of the dash.

    I think this might be an early 1950 unique feature – does anyone have any more information on this?

    The current owner commented that he wants to add an overdrive because it just won’t go very fast and he also asked me if he could add Ross steering to the truck. Was there a steering gear change in late 1950 – or is this another aftermarket modification of some sort?
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