Sexy Thing
Hot Rod|March 2021
DENNIS MARIANI’S BRIZIO-BUILT 1941 WILLYS
John Gilbert

Straight from the factory, a 1941 Willys coupe was a sexy thing with curvaceous lines reminiscent of a larger 1940 Ford. But under the hood, it was not what men of the future would be looking for.

The Gasser Wars came, and a host of old cars with lightweight bodies would find themselves drafted. From 1933 models until the early 1940s, the bulk of Willys automobiles found themselves slaving at a drag strip.

The story of Dennis Mariani’s 1941 Willys was that of a car plundered for its body to labor long nights on the strip, but its destiny would be unlike that of its peers. Dennis worked out a deal with Don Orosco to take possession of the former drag car, then enlisted Roy Brizio Street Rods to restore the 1941 Willys to its former glory, while adding a few enhancements.

A strong foundation with a cool stance is at the heart of every iconic hot rod. Brizio’s Dan Hall completed a 102-inch wheelbase Art Morrison chassis with QA1 coilover shocks and 12-inch Wilwood disc brakes at each corner. The makeover also included rack-andpinion steering by Art Morrison, a four-link rear suspension, and 16-inch Wheel Vintiques wheels with Coker Excelsior radials.

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