Long a builder of strictly, almost starkly functional, utility-type vehicles, Willys adds a whole new dimension to the line with the Wagoneer. Up to now, most four-wheel-drive enthusiasts (of which there are thousands) have been faced with the problem of two cars in the garage. Jeeps and other FWD vehicles are the greatest for tooling over cow trails or across uncharted deserts -- but for the most part, they're either too slow, or too cramped and uncomfortable for freeway cruising. In most cases, true four-wheeling aficionados tow their rigs to the point where the modern highway stops and the real back country begins. With the new Willys station wagon in the garage, the other car is no longer a necessity -- this is one vehicle that's equally at home anywhere. It's also big enough for the whole family, and even th~ little lady wouldn't be ashamed to drive it to her weekly bridge club.

The Truck Trend test wagon was loaded with just about everything offered: power steering, power brakes, automatic transmission, independent front suspension, radio and heater, plus a host of minor accessories. One other small, but important, accessory was the Warn hubs installed on the front wheels. These enabled us, by a simple twist of the wrist, to "cut out" the front drive in two~whee1 drive. This means less drag, therefore, better gas mileage, as well as less wear. We were favorably impressed with the recently introduced "Tornado-230" engine. This is the only single overhead cam engine produced in America at this time and could mean that if Willys is successful with it, other manufacturers might follow suit. This in-line Six features an aluminum head, 8.5-to-1 compression ratio, two-barrel carburetor, and 230 cubic inches. Horsepower is very conservatively rated at 140 at 4000 rpm. The relatively long stroke-to-bore ratio brings the torque peak in at a rather low rpm (210 pounds-feet at 1700 rpm) which means that this engine will really buckle down and pull when the going is tough and slow. Out on the highway, the high horsepower peaking speed allows the Wagoneer to keep up with traffic and still have plenty left for passing. The power flow is smooth and even though this is an ohc engine, its operation is very quiet.

The automatic transmission, made by Borg-Warner, is hooked up to the front and rear axles through a single-range transfer case. Models with three-speed manula transmissions are equipped with a dual-range transfer case (Hi and Lo). Two-wheel-drive models can be had with three-speed manual overdrive transmission. Our test car had the standard (for automatics) 3.73-to-1 axle ratio. Wagons with manual transmissions have 4.09 rear axle ratios.