1932 Willys, tanker truck, stanavo, eddies rod and custom, eddies rod & custom, hunter field, hot rod, hot rod truck, classic truck

Part Truck, Part Hot Rod, and Part Industrial Vehicle – Ed Pettus’ 1932 Willys

We’re in an era where anything goes in the custom car and truck world and you need look no further than the 1932 Willys of Ed Pettus for evidence of that. Combining elements of classic hot rods, low-down rat rods, plus vintage military and aircraft influences, the Willys is a true one-of-a-kind creation that draws a crowd wherever it goes.

1932 Willys, tanker truck, stanavo, eddies rod and custom, eddies rod & custom, hunter field, hot rod, hot rod truck, classic truck, 32 willys


1932 Willys, tanker truck, stanavo, eddies rod and custom, eddies rod & custom, hunter field, hot rod, hot rod truck, classic truck, 32 willys

Ed is the father of Eddie Pettus, owner of Eddie’s Rod & Custom in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The two men dreamed up the idea of a hot rod version of a vintage aviation tanker a few years ago and searched for a prewar Ford coupe as to start with. They ended up with a 1932 Willys four-door sedan instead, which was just as well because the plan involved a lot of cutting and fabrication anyway. With an 1890s-era horse-drawn oil tank as the other piece of the puzzle, they had a foundation on which to start.

1932 Willys, tanker truck, stanavo, eddies rod and custom, eddies rod & custom, hunter field, hot rod, hot rod truck, classic truck, 32 willys



The sedan body was chopped and shortened into essentially an extended-cab pickup, with a custom bed and fifth-wheel receiver now residing between widened rear fenders. The team at Eddie’s also sectioned the grille, removed the hood side louvers, smoothed the firewall, and performed many more mods before covering the body in Glasurit Admiral Blue paint. Scott Takes of Underground Studios did the Hunter Field lettering, recalling a Cedar Rapids-area airport founded after World War II. Original Willys headlights and ’37 Olds taillights helped complete the package. The oil tank was refinished as a trailer and sprayed in a complementary silver hue, complete with a Stanavo logo – Standard Oil’s aviation fuel company.


1932 Willys, tanker truck, stanavo, eddies rod and custom, eddies rod & custom, hunter field, hot rod, hot rod truck, classic truck, 32 willys

Not surprisingly, the frame is completely custom, though the original front axle was used in conjunction with a mono-leaf spring. Parallel leaf springs support the 9-inch rearend and there are Wilwood discs all around. The 18- and 20-inch wheels originated on a 1935 Dodge and were wrapped with Firestone 5.50-18 and 6.50-20 tires. The drivetrain is equally unorthodox – a 1982 Nissan 2.2-liter diesel engine boosted by a Garrett turbo, tied to a Datsun five-speed, and breathing through an aircraft-style header protruding through the right hood side.

1932 Willys, tanker truck, stanavo, eddies rod and custom, eddies rod & custom, hunter field, hot rod, hot rod truck, classic truck, 32 willys


1932 Willys, tanker truck, stanavo, eddies rod and custom, eddies rod & custom, hunter field, hot rod, hot rod truck, classic truck, 32 willys

The interior has corresponding aircraft flavor, from the B-25 Mitchel aircraft seats, to the Convair 440 aircraft yoke used as a steering wheel, to the ’30s air speed indicator gauge in the smoothed dash. Even the shifter is a repurposed throttle control from a ’37 Bristol Blenheim bomber. Bob’s Upholstery and Chris Lint teamed up on the buffalo leather upholstery and German square-weave carpet.

1932 Willys, tanker truck, stanavo, eddies rod and custom, eddies rod & custom, hunter field, hot rod, hot rod truck, classic truck, 32 willys


1932 Willys, tanker truck, stanavo, eddies rod and custom, eddies rod & custom, hunter field, hot rod, hot rod truck, classic truck, 32 willys

Part truck, part hot rod, and part industrial vehicle, Ed’s 1932 Willys is a true barrier-breaker and a great example of where the hot rod imagination can lead. It’s also a great showcase of the capabilities at Eddie’s Rod & Custom.

1932 Willys, tanker truck, stanavo, eddies rod and custom, eddies rod & custom, hunter field, hot rod, hot rod truck, classic truck, 32 willys

Photos by John Jackson

Editor, Goodguys Gazette

Damon Lee began snapping photos at car shows when he was 10, tagging along with his father to events throughout the Midwest. He has combined his passion for cars and knack for writing and imagery into a 20-year career in the automotive aftermarket, writing for titles like Super Chevy and Rod & Custom and, more recently, working for respected industry leaders Speedway Motors and Goodguys Rod & Custom Association.

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