PHOTOS BY JAN VAN DER WALT
Alwyn Behmer found this original rusted 1940 Willys coupe in Elsburg and bought it from Deon Hermann in 1997. Alwyn started with a Pro Street build and completed it in 1999 when he was 31 years old.
Pro Street is a style of street-legal custom car popular in the 1980s, usually built to imitate a Pro Stock class race car. Pro Street cars should appear to be more at home on the drag strip than the street, while remaining street legal and not gutted like a Race Car or Bracket Race car
Alwyn totally stripped, sand blasted and removed all rust and repaired all panels to perfection. It was sprayed a unique purple with a red pearl over a blue base. This was done by Henk Spannenberg. He also built a strong, boxed chassis with extra durable components to enable it to take the punch and keep it in line during vicious launches.
It runs a low compression (8:1) 454 Big Block Chevy, Scat forged crank, Manley conrods, DSS Racing pistons with a 6:71 Dyers Blower and was built with ARP bolts throughout. This monster engine was also built by Alwyn. On top of the stack sits two Carter 750cfm carbs. Joined to this mill is a beefed up 3-speed 400R Chevy gearbox linked up to a custom narrowed Ford Galaxie LS 9″ diff. The front suspension is Jaguar (XJ6 Mk2) with 4 pot Jag rotors and calipers. Audi calipers & BMW rotors in the rear, assisted by a Nissan Langley brake booster and master cylinder that’s tucked away under the floor!
It rolls on Centreline wheels with Mickey Thompson 33×19.5×15 drag tyres in the back and modified VW Beetle Lite (Smith Wheels) solids with 26×7.5×15 (Beetle tyres) in the front!
I was very lucky to be able to buy this little gem from Alwyn in 2002, and I have recently started doing a couple of small upgrades, such as a custom 4-core aluminium radiator with two transmission coolers in the front opening and an extra engine oil cooler, with a fan, transitioned to the back under the custom built stainless steel fuel tank. Bern van Gass manufactured air scoops for under the radiator and rear oil cooler. Bern also resprayed the block and many of the engine components purple as well as spraying the chassis silver!
It fires up with a Redicon starter and Autometer Sport Comp gauges supply all the essential info. (Three of which have been retrofitted). A slick gasser-style steering wheel has now also been fitted. New purple Taylor plug wires have replaced the old and tired blue ones!
A new hexagon-shaped overflow bottle was made and fitted. All plumbing replaced with Aero-spec braided hose & A/N fittings and with some individually insulated to prevent any heat build-up. We have re-chromed the front grille, headlight surrounds, valve covers, dipstick, mirror stalks, door handles and various other small items. Most nuts and bolts have been replaced and upgraded to button head stainless steel!
We have changed the Hyundai seats and side panels from purple fabric to black calf leather, installed Dynamat and laid fresh carpets. I have replaced the Teardrop tail lights with Willys LED’s and have given it an 8-ball pool theme. We have blacked out the pedals, side kick plates as well as the gear shift surround. The exhaust headers have been ceramic coated, and the tips are FX!
The following creature comforts are not available:
- Radio or any sound system
- Power steering
- Electric windows
- Heated seats & on-board navigation
All-steel 1940 Willys coupes are highly sought-after world-wide, due to their split grill (unique to 1940 only) and in South Africa these all-steel versions are rare indeed!!
It is an awesome ”WILD” ride & a head-turner of note!!