Dirt Every Day Body-Swapped Willys Wagon onto Jeep YJ

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In the land of hilariously awesome ideas, this body swap ranks near the top.

Usually if you want a different motor in a Jeep, you just swap the motor. But if you’re Fred Williams from Dirt Every Day, you decide it’s actually going to be easier to do a body swap instead. For this amazing video, Fred and his skilled helper Dave take the body off the old Willys Wagon and they mount it onto a crashed YJ Wrangler. We’d give you a list of some of the stuff they fixed or changed, but it would be easier to tell you what they didn’t touch. It’s a massive project.

Dirt Every Day YJ and Willys Jeep Body Swap

The first step is straightening the bent frame, and then it gets a 10-inch stretch to match the wheelbase of the Willys. After that you slap in some Dana 44 axles, locking diffs at both ends with 4.10 gears, then start fixing the various broken bits around the motor.

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The YJ that this project started with took some relatively serious damage to the nose. Consequently, the A/C compressor, alternator and several other accessory parts and pieces needed to be replaced. Managing the relocated steering box was a bit of an issue as well, though sadly we didn’t get much info on how they overcame that obstacle.

The project was not a quick one, as it ended up taking somewhere around six weeks to finish, but the final result is hard to argue with. There are a lot of folks who prefer their Jeeps with vintage hardware, but we are much more in the camp of “new parts, old style.” The fact that a Willys Wagon with the power and capability of an upgraded YJ exists makes our heart sing. We couldn’t think of a better machine to use for a long camping weekend or wilderness fishing trip. In many ways, this conversion created a more useful, less ugly Wrangler Unlimited.

How can you hate that?

Christian Moe contributes to many of Internet Brands' Auto blogs, including Corvette Forum, Club Lexus and Rennlist.

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