Jim Bostick’s 1942 Willys Gasser is All Steel and All Business

Jim Bostick of Yorba Linda, California was an avoid drag racing fan as a kid during the “Gasser Wars” era of the 1960’s. The ’40-‘42 Willys coupes like the popular Stone, Woods & Cook “Swindler II” ‘41 Willys, coupe was the dominate war machine of the ¼-mile. Other wild Willys of the ’60’s included Big John Mazmanian, Junior Thompson, George Montgomery, the Mallicoat Bros. and K.S. Pittman.

Jim wanted to relive those days by owning his own version of a Willys Gasser. He approached Ron Cambra at Cambra Speed Shop (CSS) in Orange California who orchestrated a previous build of Jim’s award-winning ’55 Chevy Gasser with David and Greg Engle that was featured in Maximum Drive Issue 8.

I spent so much time covering the build I was given my own timecard at the shop. I would stop by the shop three or four times a week during the day, night, late night and weekends.

Ron had discovered an unmolested, all-steel ’42 Willys complete with 392ci Hemi and trim molding. After Ron and Jim inspected the Willys they both gave it a thumbs up! So Jim peeled off a fistful of Grover Cleveland thousand-dollar bills and the Willys was loaded inside the trailer and delivered to CSS.

Maximum Drive was invited to follow along as Ron and his crew created another Gasser masterpiece. I spent so much time covering the build I was given my own timecard at the shop. I would stop by the shop three or four times a week during the day, night, late night and weekends. Every moment spent at CSS during the build was both educational and entertaining. It was an experience I will never forget. Working with Ron and his talented designer/fabricators Gregg Petersen and Rick Kersh and the rest of the crew on the Willys project exposed me a lot of tricks of the trade I hadn’t seen before, and I shot every one of them to share.

Follow along and witness the Willys journey from a concept to a truly spectacular reality.

After the frame was media blasted to bare metal, it was sprayed with sandable primer then sanded smooth. The primered frame was then given a couple of coats gloss black and cleared.

The large assortment of components were chromed or polished by Steve Jones.

The traditional “Gasser” front suspension was created by installing a Larry Wagner chromed 1 ½-inch dropped straight axle front suspension.

A pair of early Ford spindles and steering arms were attached to the dropped straight axle with a pair of kingpins.

The Vega steering box was mounted to the driver side frame rail. The original rough pitman arm square shoulder edges were radiused and filed smooth by Rick. The pitman arm was then, sent out to Steve Jones Chrome. When it was returned it was engaged and slid onto steering box splined shaft and secured. The pitman arm was then secured to the drag link.

The Steve Jones chromed Deaver front leaf spring packs pivot on the front shackles. While a pair of SoCal gas filled front shocks help dampen any wheels up launches.

Wilwood Dynalite chrome four piston front calipers and 11-inch vented rotors provide superior stopping performance up front.

A pair of CSS custom thread-on dust caps finished off the front Wilwood disc brake hub assembly.

The crew at Allen Tire mounted and balanced the Firestone/Coker 560-15 bias-ply tires and E-T Team III “Kidney Bean”, polished aluminum wheels.

The Firestone/Coker “Skinnies” and E-T Kidney Bean wheels were ready to roll.

After pressing on the outer axle bearings, Rick inserted the Mark Williams Master Line 35-spline axles through the ‘57 Olds chromed drilled backing plates and ‘57 Olds chromed rear end housing.

A pair of Bendix rear brake, shoes were attached to the top brake cylinder and bottom, adjusting star. The shoes were secured with retainer springs and return springs.

‘57 Olds brake drums were slid over the brake shoes and wheel studs.

A pair of E-T Team III, “Fueler” polished aluminum 15×10 wheels were wrapped in Radir/Speedway Motors (15×10.00) piecrust cheater slicks.

Ready to roll in style while grabbin’ traction.

A GM brake master cylinder was located under the floorboard. The polished stainless steel, brake lines were bent, flared and threaded, linking the brakes to the master cylinder.

J&S Gear in Huntington Beach, California stuffed the Moser, 3rd member with a Moser 4:11 gear set and Moser/Eaton posi-unit. A custom CSS panhard bar was installed to eliminate any lateral rear end movement.

A pair of 60’s style chromed Deaver ¼-eliptical leaf springs suspended the Olds rear end.

The rear end was anchored with a pair of five-foot long tubular trestle ladder bars.

The complete Willys rolling chassis.

The Hemi 392/400ci engine was disassembled, machined, assembled at Superior Automotive Engineering. The mighty Hemi was then broke in and tuned on the Superior Automotive Engineering dyno, producing 750 horsepower.

Using an engine hoist, Ron lowered the engine as Gregg and Rick guided it onto the engine mounts.

The boys aligned and bolted the Tremec TKO 5-speed manual transmission to the bell housing.

After the engine and transmission were mated Rick tightened up the engine mounting bolts. The impressive Missile aluminum HEMI roller rocker arms and valve rotating assembly was exposed for all to admire.

Ron covered the valve rotating assembly with a pair of Hot Heads, HEMI “Donovan” style, aluminum valve covers with dual breathers.

Rick mounted the Hilborn injectors and Hilborn scoop, atop the Weiand Supercharger.

A Hilborn injectors fuel rail delivered fuel to each of the four 3503 injectors.

The Hilborn Supercharger, bell cranks were set up and synced by Andy Starr.

Rick designed and machined the throttle plate linkage, and return spring assembly.

Gregg designed, bent, welded-up a very unique set of dual headers. The 2 ½-inch diameter block hugger headers were Siamesed with and set of 2-inch diameter zoomie style headers.

This Miller Speedsports header slide-plate manifold was mounted and secured to the zoomie header manifold. A pair of header slide-plate manifolds were activated, by a pair, of Patriot electronic actuators. When the plate was closed it would deliver the exhaust impulses through the block-hugger headers. When the plate was slid open, the exhaust would be directed through the zoomie headers.

An MSD distributor was connected to the HEMI head sparkplugs, with a set of Taylor 8mm ignition wires.

The 2-inch chromed zoomie header tubes were positioned and secured into the Miller Speedsports slide-plate manifold.

Very impressive dual header exhaust system.

A 3-inch wide belt was fitted to the Hampton Blower, idler and crankshaft pulleys that were set up 1:1 drive ratio producing 6 pounds of boost. A GM 6-blade fan was bolted up to the water pump.

A dual 3-inch diameter exhaust system flowed through a pair of Borla baffled mufflers with turndown tips. Check out that pinion angle on the driveshaft.

The all-steel Willys body was delivered to the PPG Training Center in Rancho Cucamonga, California then rolled into the PPG cross-flow paint booth. PPG instructors, Frank Ramos and Paul Stoll educated Hitoshi Umekage the correct way to spray PPG Vibrance VP 2050 High Performance Build Up Primer, PPG ECS 27 black sealer, PPG Enviobase High Performance “Gasser Root Bear” basecoat and PPG 530 EN-V High Performance Clear.

After the Willys body and other sheet metal parts were delivered back to CSS they were set out in the sun to bake for a day.

Giving the PPG clear coat ample time to cure, Hitoshi spend many hours cutting, buffing, and polishing ever square inch of the Willys skin both inside and out.

The front fender/hood section was the first to be mounted to the frame.

The body was mounted on the frame. Followed by installing the fenders, trunk lid, taillights, and an amazing three-inch-diameter arched chrome rear bumper. The doors were hung on the hinges and aligned, handles were installed and mirrors mounted.

Rick installed the headlight buckets, headlights and bezels.

The Willys on jack stands resembles a traditional wheels-up launch. The rear view was also a common view of many Willys competitors

After a pair of 1967 Dodge A100 bucket seats were torn down, the frames were sent out and powder coated. Pete Engel at Westminster Auto Upholstery in Anaheim, California designed and shaped new seat foam that was covered in brown leather with diamond tuck inserts finished with black piping. The seats were then mounted on a pair of custom chrome dimple-died seat pedestals.

An ididit chrome steering column, Grant three-spoke steering wheel and one-off billet aluminum gauge cluster are the product of Rick’s design and fabrication wizardry.

Hidden in the glove box were pull/push switches; (top) lights, (bottom) ignition, toggle switch, (turn indicators). Classic Instruments volts and fuel gauges were also neatly mounted inside the glove box.

How about the period correct oversize Mooneyes gas pedal with matching Mooneyes clutch and brake pedal pads. The custom chromed brake and clutch pedal assembly was fabricated by Gregg.

Gregg fabricated a custom 17-gallon fuel tank with a trick brass filler cap assembly.

Superior Automotive Engineering’s founding wizard Joe Jill Jr. controlled the throttle, while Ted Banzuela programmed the ECU from his laptop.

The Cambra Speed Shop all-star team. Back row, standing left to right, Gregg Petersen, Mike Swan, Ronnie Cambra Jr., Rick Kersh, Ryan Cambra, Ron Cambra Sr. Front row kneeling left to right, Hitoshi Umekage and Jason Brunner.

Jim Bostick’s ’42 Willys “Single Barrel Jack” made its debut in the PPG Paint booth during the 2014 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.


1942 Willys gasser

Owner: Jim Bostick, Yorba Linda, California

Builder: Cambra Speed Shop, Orange, California

The Car

  • Frame: ’42 Willys- boxed frame rails
  • Transmission cross-member – CSS (chrome, Rick)
  • Motor mounts – CSS (chrome, Rick)



  • Straight axle – Wagner 1 ½-inch tubular, dropped straight axle kit (chrome)
  • Spindles-Super Bell early Ford spindles, w/ CSS screw-on dust caps,
  • Leaf springs – Deaver, spring clamps, U-bolts, shackles (chrome)
  • Steering – Vega box, mounting bracket, pitman arm
  • Steering – CSS drag links, rod ends/heims
  • Shocks – SoCal gas filled (chrome)


  • Rear end housing – 1957 Olds, 12-bolt (chrome)
  • 3rd member – Moser 12-bolt
  • Ring & pinion gear set- Moser 4:11 ring/pinion gears
  • Posi-traction unit – Moser/Eaton posi-unit
  • Axle bearings – Timken bearings and races
  • Axles – Mark Williams “Master Line” 35-splined axles
  • ¼-Elliptical leaf springs-Deaver (chrome)
  • Ladder bars- Tubular, trestle, (chrome, Gregg)
  • Panhard bar- (chrome, Gregg)
  • Shocks- SoCal gas filled



  • Wilwood Dynalite four-piston chrome calipers
  • Wilwood 11-inch diameter vented rotors
  • GM master brake cylinder


  • ‘57 Olds drilled, backing-plates w/ Bendix brake shoes.
  • ‘57 Olds brake drums


  • Front – E-T Team II “Gasser” 15×4-inch polished aluminum kidney bean style
  • Rear – E-T Team III “Fueler” 15×10-inch polished aluminum


  • Front – Firestone/Coker bias ply 560-15
  • Rear – Radir/Speedway Motors “Cheater Slicks” 15×10.0
  • Wheels/Tires – Mounted and balanced at Allen Tire Tustin, California Mike Williams


1942 Willys gasser


  • Machined and assembled – Superior Automotive Engineering Anaheim, California.
  • Engine – Chrysler HEMI 392/400ci, 750 horsepower
  • Crankshaft – Mopar
  • Crankshaft dampener – Fluidampr
  • Connecting Rods – Molnar
  • Pistons – Ross forged aluminum
  • Rings – Total Seal
  • Camshaft – Crane
  • Lifters – Manley
  • Push rods – Manley
  • Cylinder heads – Chrysler HEMI cast iron 112cc,
  • Valves – Manley
  • Springs – Manley
  • Rocker arms – Missile
  • Valve Covers and breathers – Hot Heads Donovan style
  • Headers – (Gregg) custom 2-inch dia. Block Hugger / 2-inch dia. polished stainless steel Zoomies
  • Supercharger – Don Hampton GMC 671
  • Supercharger manifold – Weiand
  • Injectors – Hilborn four-port set up by Andy Starr
  • Injectors barrel valve – CSS (Rick)
  • Throttle linkage – CSS (Rick)
  • Header/exhaust – Miller header cutout slide valve manifolds
  • Header slide valve electric actuators – Patriot
  • Exhaust – (Gregg) custom 3-inch diameter
  • Mufflers – Borla, 3-inch diameter
  • Supercharger manifold – Hilborn
  • Supercharger – Don Hampton GMC 671 Blower
  • Injector – Hilborn 4-port, setup by Andy Starr
  • Distributor – MSD
  • Coil/Ignition box – MSD
  • Ignition wires – Taylor 8mm
  • Timing gear – Jackson Gear Drive
  • Pulleys – Weiand
  • Oil filter remote – PB Performance
  • Alternator – GM 80-amp
  • Water manifold – Hot Heads crossover aluminum
  • Water pump – GM
  • Radiator – CSS top/bottom flow with bottom in-out ports
  • Radiator core support- CSS
  • Engine break-in and dyno – Superior Automotive Engineering, Placentia, California.
  • Engine final tune – Eclipse Engineering, Whittier, California.
  • Transmission – Tremec TKO 5-speed manual
  • Clutch – McLeod dual-clutch (set up by Fred Taylor)
  • Throw-out bearing – McLeod (hydraulic)
  • Shifter – Custom CSS (Gregg)
  • Driveshaft – Drivelines Inc. Mission Viejo, California


  • ’42 Willys coupe (all steel)
  • Hood – exit hole for supercharger bug-catcher
  • Rear fender wheel opening lips – fabricated by Brady Fabrication and installed by Gregg and Rick
  • Trunk lid- Brady Fabrication
  • Doors handles – Willys stock
  • Mirror – Willys stock
  • Headlights – Willys stock
  • Taillights – Willys stock
  • Rear chrome bumper – 3-inch dia. CSS (Rick & Gregg)
  • Window glass – Eddie Kotto Glass
  • Bodywork – Cypress Auto Body Cypress, California
  • Paint location – PPG Training Center Rancho Cucamonga, California
  • PPG Instructors Frank Ramos & Paul Stoll
  • Painted by – Hitoshi Umekage CSS
  • Paint materials – PPG
  • Primer – PPG Vibrance VP2050 high build epoxy primer surfacer
  • Sealer – PPG ECS27 black sealer
  • Base Coat – PPG Envirobase H.P. “Gasser Root Beer” custom mix (3 coats)
  • Clear Coat – PPG EC530 EN-V Performance Clear (4 coats)


  • Westminster Upholstery Anaheim, California, Pete Engle
  • Seats – ’67 Dodge A100 Van, brown leather w/ brown diamond, tuck inserts
  • Door and window crank handles – Willys
  • Seat pedestals – CSS custom steel dimple died
  • Door panels – Brown leather w/ brown diamond tuck, inserts Pete Engle
  • Headliner – Black sued Pete Engle
  • Sound deadener material – Dynamat Pete Engle
  • Carpet- Brown/tan tweed Pete Engle
  • Trunk interior – Carpet brown/tan tweed, side panels brown leather Pete Engle
  • Gauge cluster insert – Custom billet aluminum then shot-peened by Richard Garcia
  • Gauges – Classic Instruments black face water temperature, speedometer and oil pressure. Hidden inside the glove box were volts and fuel gauges.
  • Glove box – pull switches were lights, ignition, toggle switch was turn indicators.
  • Steering column – ididit chromed
  • Steering wheel – Grant three spoke, brown leather
  • Brake/clutch pedal assembly – Custom CSS throttle linkage (Rick)
  • Gas pedal – Mooneyes
  • Brake/clutch pedal pads – Mooneyes
  • Roll bar – Custom CSS 1 ¾-inch diameter, chrome