"Maverick" Wagon at Mecum - The JeepsterMan

"Maverick" Wagon at Mecum

 

John, JeepsterMan, give us a run down from Mecum "Maverick" SW.

Buy all your Willys and Jeep restoration parts at the jeepsterman.com because we're not just jeepsters anymore. Call 314.798.6462 or Email us Sales@thejeepsterman.com To get a free copy of the willys and jeep restoration parts Catalog from the jeepsterman go to www.thejeepsterman.com order your free copy today. Hey guys this is john at jeepsterman we're here at the mecum auction here in Chattanooga what we have here the 1962 willys station wagon does have the maverick trim on it we're not a hundred percent sure if this one's a maverick but it does have a mounted trim uh it is a two-wheel drive station wagon though this one has a solid axle in the front you can see it's a three drill bar uh vehicle as well really i mean this one's got a nice nice paint job this one's sold today see the two-tone colors they have on it now what you'll see this one is a 62 this is our one-piece windshield gasket in 1960s when they switched over to the split windshield well they went from a split windshield to a one piece right around mid 60 we sell both those gaskets that we make for these vehicles this one has the one piece you can see in it we'll just kind of move around it look a couple things that's the later hood ornament that you see there's a hood ornament for the earlier wagons and pickups that's smaller and this is the maverick trim i was talking about down the side of this one

you can see they kept the original seat the interior they kept fairly original i mean obviously those colors aren't original but everything else about this one is pretty original it's got the wood slats and stuff in the in the bed area correct steering wheel gauges headliners nobody makes the exact original headliner material but somebody's replaced this one and done it very similar to what an original one would be as far as the pattern

you can see all the gaskets and window gaskets in these these technically were supposed to be like a stainless steel handle yeah they've also they've got the two wheel drive hubcaps on this one which is a nice touch to this one

back here the other thing that's different about the uh mid-16 later is the tailgate the lift gate for these things the lift gate just a one-piece glass just like the windshield is on the 60 and earlier you had two separate windows on them tailgates are the same but the lift gate is different and they've got the nice the wagons has a nice chrome wrap around rear bumpers on them the wheelies logo the later wagons like this one you've got tail lights the earlier wagons had an actual external tail light on

here's the rubber flat we sell there around the gas cap i don't believe they have mirrors most of them i don't think had mirrors on this passenger side they've had that as well um and i actually for the maverick vehicles i have a maverick mirror as well let's try to do a maverick really this is a nice vehicle and i'm sure that's why it probably sold pretty quick today if you got any questions feel free to call me uh phone number for jeepsterman is 31479 or you can reach me at sales of the jeepsterman.com if you've got any questions about these wagons very looking parts for the wagons station wagons the pickup trucks all of them so thank you

if you're doing a Willys or jeep restoration and looking for parts we do have a brand new willy's and jeep restoration parts catalog from the jeepster man in the catalog you're gonna find cj2a 3a 3b cj5 6 7 and of course the willys overland truck station wagon jeepster and commando parts inside this catalog you're going to find exclusive parts only made by the Jeepsterman right here in the us of a and if you'd like your free copy go to www.thejeepsforman.com and get your free copy today

 

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Please, let’s put this myth to bed. That is not Maverick trim. Willys, Jeep, nor Kaiser-Frasier ever called it that. It is a derivative of a trim design from a design study (though if any production one actually exists, I would love to know about it) of a proposed model in 1959 called the Harlequin (note page 40-41 of Collectable Automobile magazine – February 1991). I know a few other Willys nuts that have been searching for an actual Harlequin for decades. No one has ever seen or found one in over 30 years. So if anyone has one, send pictures to the Jeepsterman and tell us about it.

First, the Maverick was a special advertised on the Maverick TV show and was officially introduced in May of 1959. There were two trims advertised as “Maverick”. Willys only advertised the “Maverick Special” for a short time in 1959 to introduce people to the new model.

There was one at the start of the 1959 model year which some have mistaken as being introduced as a 1958, but was just manufactured in late 1958 (circa September-December 1958) as a 1959 model. It is unique in that it has the Kaiser-Frasier rocket logo chromed cast metal medallion placed at the root of the upside-down checkmark. The balance of the wide trim appears to be taken from the parts bin to produce this first attempt. The trim is made up of two narrow stainless steel strips that are the same width as the prior single side beltline molding.

The Willys ad for that first version came out in late 1958 for 1959. This is the blue tinted ad. This is commonly in reprints. I have in my literature, a real, original one. As to the first model, I have seen two, and only two, and am uncertain as to just how many of this first version were made. At first, those of us trying to research these thought this was possibly a very limited production of about 12, but in the intervening 30 years, we have found some evidence that this figure could be as many as 100. Still, very rare, and most are certainly gone. The only two I have seen were quite unfortunately butchered, as are many other of the limited number of 2wd wagons with the I-beam suspension. People get one not running and don’t realize what a good suspension it is and rip it out and put something else under there.

The second version had the upside-down checkmark trim many of us know about as that wide stainless steel trim became the Utility Wagon trim in 1961. It was also used on the 1960 Station Wagons, which it should be noted, Willys NEVER, EVER, NOWHERE, in any literature or company document ever called a “Maverick” or “Maverick Special” in 1960 or later. This literature was only distributed in 1959 for the mid 1959 model as advertised on the Maverick TV show. When the 1960 models came out, all the advertising and literature refers to the model as the Jeep Station Wagon. At least the early 1960 ad states, "Introduced on television as a “Maverick Special”.

After that, “Maverick” as a name within any document from Willys, Jeep, Kaiser-Frasier disappears. According to three different prior owners of Willys dealerships that contacted me back in the late 1980’s, it was just called the Station Wagon. They also reported that this model of 2wd didn’t stay on the lot long. They would be sold within a week. As to the Maverick itself, one of the dealers, and fellow from Houston, reported getting two in his allotment. The other two reported getting one. That’s all they got.

Both of the versions had the upside-down checkmark trim introduced on the Maverick in 1959. They also introduced the one piece curved front windshield. The package included the F-head 4 cylinder, two tone paint, captive air tires, and carpet. In addition, it had a “new” suspension. As I have only actually seen the Reverse Elliot I-beam front suspension on panel wagons and 2wd drive pickups before 1959, it appears to be new to the Station Wagon. At any rate, the “New Jeep Station Wagon” as referred to in the 1959 brochure states:
“Here is a new spring suspension system for extra stamina and comfort, a new wide 47 3/8 inch 1-piece windshield, attractive new carpeting and fabrics, and new exterior trim. In addition, you get Goodyear “Captive-Air” white sidewall tires, and your choice of 8 two-tone color options as standard equipment – no extra cost."

There is something different on the Station Wagon Reverse Elliot I-beam suspension as introduced in 1959. It has a sway bar. This was advertised in 1957, but in being around these things, and only really interested in the 2wd Wagons, Pickups, and Delivery Wagons with this I-beam suspension, I have only seen or been shown evidence of any of them with a sway bar before the “Maverick” introduction. All of the Panel Wagons and Pickups with 2WD I have seen have the I-beam, but no sway bar, at least not before 1959. As to the Wagons, I have personally inspected a couple Station Wagons made in 1959 that still have the Planadyne independent front suspension.

I really wish the Maverick myth had never been started. It was started by someone who will remain nameless, but was not at the Jeepsterman, nor Carl Walck. I have known him since 1987, and he has had some of the same problem with it I have.

The problem came up in the early 1990’s when a certain person wrote a book calling all Willys Jeep Wagons “Maverick” On discovering his website with dozens of gross errors, I called to ask him about how he came up with this information. His reasoning, as stated to me, was that all Willys literature and documents were wrong. He told me serial numbers were all wrong, with earlier manufactured Jeeps sold much later. He based this on the screw on serial number plates. I asked if he checked the numbers against the frame numbers. He didn’t know there were serial numbers on the frame rail. I pointed out that since the serial number plate unscrews, people have been known to just screw on another. That is really obvious when you find a 2WD Wagon with a 134 CID L head rather than a F head motor with a serial number plate with a prefix and unit number from a 1960’s 4WD. I’ve seen several really obvious examples of plate switching. I also pointed out that on original vehicles, some parts will have date codes on them. This is particularly useful on the later wagons like the one in the article if it had its original interior upholstered side panels (if equipped). The panels in both my 1962 and a 1961 I owned had the manufacturing date printed on the backside of the upholstered panels. I have also sometimes found dates on original switches in wagons over the past 35 years. He didn’t know about any of this. He also told me all Willys literature is wrong, but with no evidence of this. We ended that conversation.

Just a few minutes later, he called me back, asked if I was so-and so. I replied yes. He then told me that the president of the Willys Club had told him to contact me before he wrote his book as I was the best expert on the late model 1959 and later Willys 2wd wagons. I asked him if he would change the information on his website. He said he would. Never happened. I suspect it was because he wrote a book. How could he.

On the Kaiser-Willys website blog, there is a supposed aid in how to identify the approximate year of your Willys Wagon “How to Identify your Willys Truck or Station Wagon if you don’t have a VIN number, but want to know your approximate year and model:”

Since the answer to:
A2: If single windshield, go to #6
is:
6. Is your 6 cylinder motor a flat head motor or an overhead cam?
A1: If it’s a flat head motor, go to #7.
A2: If it’s an overhead cam motor, go to #8.

7. You have between a 1954-1964 Willys Truck / Station Wagon.
8. You have between a 1962-1964 Willys Truck / Station Wagon.

The OHC is correct, but there is no stock Willys Wagon that has a curved 1-piece front windshield before 1959. In 1959, it is only the 2wd Maverick with a 134 CID F head motor that has the curved glass. In 1960, 58147 and 58167 Wagons got the 1 piece curved glass from the beginning of the year.

And how do I know this? My first Willys Station Wagon was an early serial number (maybe the earliest serial number) 4 cylinder F head single color blue, upside-down “Maverick style” trim with wood rails, heater, overdrive, and factory limited slip differential. It was not a Maverick. I bought it from the original owner, and it was still all original, and well used. When my dad and I saw it, he told me that these were the best they ever made. But he didn’t explain it. Fred Marsh, an old Willys Jeep repairman even back in the 1970’s also told me these were great. But since all Willys Station Wagons look pretty much alike, it is hard to imagine they can drive so differently.

It ran like a top. It could cruise at 65 mph. It could easily outclimb any 4wd I came across, climbing a 70-75 degree slope. It was actually a cliff I used to drive up and down as a shortcut to the beach. I took to ambushing 4wd’s, goading them to make it up the slope. No one could ever do it. Then again, no one showed up in a 1960’s Land Rover or a CJ2A to 3B. CJ5’s, Land Cruisers, Broncos, etc, but none of them could make it up that cliff. Being young, still brave, and skilled, I even would race motorcycles and dune buggies on off road trails …and beat them because I knew I could get 4 feet in the air and it would just stick when it landed. I owned it for two years and knew I would want another after I bought a 74 Cherokee Cheif with a 360 V8 4 speed and found it inadequate, except on the highway. When I started searching for another one, I drove dozens and dozens of 2wd and a few 4wd Wagons, and hated every one of them. The 2wd wagons weren’t like mine. They had that funny transverse leaf and A-arms we know as the Planadyne. None of them were stable above about 40 mph. This even included one I drove about 4 years into my search that had a well modified Planadyne with a heavy sway bar and a Panhard rod and links to try to make it stable, Even that didn’t help much. That is when I knew I had to figure out when they made wagons with this I-beam suspension. I knew some of the delivery wagons and pickups had it because I knew of two in my area.

So I did real research, looking through Willys files, documents, and searching for serial number sequences that might have this suspension. Along the way, I learned that not all 58147 Station Wagons have an I-beam, Willys produced the first production OHC engine and even put just a few into the 2wd wagons in 1962-3.

I ended up having a computer search done by a company that does data analysis on DMV files in 1987. I had them search back 10 years. Searching 10 serial number prefixes still only turned up 6 vehicles that had been registered in the state of Texas over the past ten years.

I bought one, an actual, original 1959 Maverick, all original, and in need of restoration. I owned it until the end of 2022. I have also had a 1961 and 1962 with the trim the vehicle in the article has. I also briefly had a 1956 4wd that I got to trade for the 1962 and bought in 1991. I still have the 1962. It could really use a paint job, but runs like a top.

BTW, if anyone sees a 1959 Willys Maverick that is not two tone, but just painted solid blue, a bit faded, but with a great, nearly original looking interior, please contact the Jeepsterman to contact me. I accidently sold it to a flipper. He said he was going to restore it for his father, but outright lied. He relisted it only 3 days after buying it from me for 3x the price, dropping it over about a month’s time. I’m hoping the new owner has a clue as to what he’s got. As far as I can tell, it may be the last true “Maverick” that hasn’t been butchered. It would be a crime to put it on a Colorado chassis or stuff a V8 in it.

Scott Kilgore

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