Big Al's Featured Car's
Phantom Willys Cabriolet
One of None!
Owned by Billy Busch
Pictures & Story by John Carollo

Wanna see a really cool Phantom Hot Rod? Check out Bill Busch’s all steel Willys Cabriolet. What’s that you say? You don’t remember Willys making any Cabriolets much less a 1941 model? Well, you’re right. Willys never did make this Cool Cabriolet; it was homemade. But that doesn’t stop it from being a fun ride. Of course, a 302 Ford with four barrel carb, headers and five speed transmission makes it a very modern Phantom that can get on down the road and still get 23 highway MPG. And the rest of the ride is comfy, too. When driving this car, you can easily forget you are driving something that was originally made over 70 years ago.

This Phantom started life as a ’41 four door sedan that first got its roof cut off. Then the doors got reworked. The front doors received an extension of five inches to mimic the doors on a coupe. What was left of the rear doors got welded to the body and filled in. The front windshield frame was chopped three inches and a new top with a steel tubing frame and covered with maroon Hartz cloth weatherproof material is held on with four bolts. The top is easily removed and replaces when wind-in-the-hair cruising is desired. The doors and trunk got shaved and now work with keyless power. A third brake light was added for safety and the license plate is now in a recessed mount. The running boards and bumpers were removed and a VW gas door was added. The rear taillights are custom and one more body mod was the removal of all emblems and trim. When all the body work was done, two colors from the Lincoln paint line were chosen – Dove gray and Canyon maroon – and applied. Pinstriping and graphics were done by Ohio’s amazing Wizard.

Inside, a set of GM intermediate front seats were matched up with the original rear seat and covered with gray tweed and vinyl and matches the leather LeCarra steering wheel on a GM column. For tunes, an Alpine system was used and shifting is easily accomplished with a Hurst shifter. The Willys dash now sports billet inserts and Stewart Warner gauges. In 2010, all new glass was installed.

Underneath is just as cool as what’s on top. A stock ’41 Willys frame was first boxed and then fitted with a Mustang II independent strut front suspension. In the rear, a narrowed Ford nine inch with 3:50 gears and traction lock was hung on eight leaf springs with gas shocks. Disc brakes with braided lines go all the way around and the steering is rack and pinion. Tires are B.F. Goodrich with 195-60 on the front and 235-60 on the back. Boyd billet 15 X 7 wheels with Radar spinners complete the package.

The Cabriolet had a 289 in it when Bill got it and he replaced that with a 302 in 2008 and rebuilt the Borg Warner five speed. He also went over the front suspension, replacing most everything with new and better pieces. He also gave it the perfect stance by using two inch drop springs that even helped the ride get better. To add a little flash, he added Cobra accessories such as the air cleaner and valve covers. An HEI ignition unit supplies the sparks and everything runs through a custom made, stainless steel exhaust system.

If you want to know how much this Phantom is driven, look at the Mullins reproduction trailer that is painted to match and offers plenty of room for road necessities such as luggage, coolers, chairs and such. That will tell you this Phantom Cabriolet is real and road worthy.
See Ya Later Mr. Wilson!