Old Cars is turning 50. In honor of 50 years of the privilege of bringing the old cars hobby to our valued and faithful readers, Old Cars will revisit 50 of our past featured cars in 50 days, to commemorate the half-century of Old Cars. Here's to fifty more years of Old Cars!
DAY FOUR: 1963 Willys Jeep Surrey Gala
Bill Brown found his Surrey in his home state of Ohio, but he knew right away that it belonged in a warmer, sunnier world — like the Florida Keys, which is where Brown just happens to have his own getaway home.
“When you drive it, people just look at you and smile and give you the thumbs up. It’s just a great little vehicle. A lot of people have no idea what it is or that [Jeep] even made a Surrey,” Brown says.
Indeed, many people have never seen one in the flesh, because not many were built — probably not much more than 1,000 during their entire run from 1959-’64. A more whimsical vehicle has probably never come from U.S. auto factories, and the original premise for the Surrey seems almost impossible to believe these days in the age of huge production runs, staggering tooling costs and the cold, hard bottom lines that automakers face. The Surrey Gala was a colorful option package for the Jeep DJ-3A Dispatcher intended for use at busy vacation resorts in Hawaii and the Caribbean. They were designed to be low-maintenance, cheap, fun rentals for guests who wanted to get around and do some sight seeing.
“It’s really fun to drive,” Brown noted. “I suspect it would be a lot like driving a World War II Jeep — even though I haven’t driven a World War II Jeep — but with a column shift rather than floor shift. It accelerates pretty quickly to get going and it’s just fun. My wife says it’s a ‘show-off’ car.”
To learn more about Brown's Surrey Gala Jeep <CLICK HERE>
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