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South America 3 Door Wagons

Who knew there was a 3 door version of the Willys Wagon? Certainly not me - until Marcus Reddish enlightened me. I'm still unclear how the three door fits into both the Brazil and the Argentina models - whether it was both or one and whether the four door was also available. Paul Barry tells me there are US built three door wagons also and indeed I've found a couple (see below).

Here's what Marcus had to say:

I did a bit more research and have come to the conclusion that Willys produced 3-door versions in South America just like the early 3-door Chevy Suburban.  The extra door was on the passenger side.  If you search "tres puertas" or "3 puertas" for the IKA Estanciera (Argentina Willys wagon) you will get pictures. This wagon was also called the "Rural" in Brazil.

The Mitsubishi (J-36, J-38) has more body mods and the rear doors are more integrated into the design.  The South American 3-door models look a little more streamlined to me without the extra vertical bars before and after the door opening (see pics below)."

Jorge Garreta Mendoza from Buenos Aries, Argentina, tells me the Willys Wagon was made by Industrias Kaiser Argentina (IKA) from 1957 to about 1974 with a six cyl Continental engine, never a 4-cyl. He believe in Argentina the three door version was only produced in 1963 and 1966.

Wikipedia has some info on Kaiser's Argentina manufacturing arm. The three door wagons were called "Estanciera Taxi."

US Suicide 3 Door Wagon

Suicide 3DR Willys
Suicide Door Willys Wagon

Paul snapped these pictures of a suicide 3 door wagon in Texas he tried to buy (turned out the guy trying to sell it didn't own it) but someone else beat him to it.

Is this suicide door wagon the coolest thing ever or what?!


US 3 Door Wagon

3 Door Wagon
3 Door Willys Wagon
Door interior of 3 DR Willys

Here's pictures Paul took of a 3 door wagon he saw in the Northeast US. While it so far appears that every three door is identifiable by recessed panels continuing through the door edge, the Kansas 4DR has the same body stampings, so that isn't a feature unique to 3DR variants.


Jim's Extended 3 Door

Check out this 1948 3DR wagon. It has an extended wheelbase, no body stampings in the sides or 3rd door, and the 3rd door doesn't have the cutout for the rear wheel.

Jim Lape of Geauga county, east of Cleveland, Ohio, bought this 3DR wagon which he'd known about for a while but just picked up in May, 2009. It was built as a people hauler with provision for three rows of seats. It's 4WD, about a foot longer than the regular wagons and has the F-head 4 cylinder engine in it. He doesn't know much about it's history, except that it spent the 60's in a mining camp in north central Pennsylvania.

Even though it looks like it is an aftermarket conversion, he hasn't found any signs of the roof or frame having been stitched together. The frame does have an extra cross member and the floor is one piece of sheet metal with reinforcing ribs exactly where they'd be if this was a normal 2 door wagon.

The rear panel on the wagon does have stampings on it like the front doors, however, the rear is not hinged - no upper and lower gate - just a solid panel with a small window. This is a first to come across for me.

A friend who lives in the area tells him that it was most likely sold new at the Willys dealer in Clearfield, PA and was probably used at a mining or tree camp. With 4WD and a 4 cylinder F-head engine, it was built to run along any terrain...albeit very slowly!

He's in the process of cleaning the wagon up a bit and will send along more pictures as he progresses. If you recognize this wagon or any that may have been built like it, I'll put you in contact with Jim as he'd like to learn more about it's history.

Check out Jim's website,, where he covers the history of Kaiser Frazer vehicles.



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