Carroll Horton's 1953 Willys

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A photo of Carrol's Willys, with Carrol seated behind the car. The 3 first letters of Davis Cleaners can be seen on the building behind the car in the photo as well. Carroll's shop was in the same building as Davis Cleaners. Photo by Spencer Murray.

1953 Willys Sedan owned by Carroll Horton of Indianapolis, Indiana. Carroll installed the engine from a brand new 1954 Mercury Sun Valley into the Willys. This gave the lightweight car more than enough power. Bob Smith worked for Carroll when he modified the car, and helped him out with the swap. Bob remembers that he started out with the Mercomatic transmission in the Willys, but that he switched to a Ford 3 speed with overdrive later on. The procedure to fit the engine was published in Rod & Custom June 1954.[1] The donor Mercury was refitted with the Canadian Mercury trim and interior. Horton found a wrecked Thunderbird 312 engine, if Bob recalls right, that he installed in the car after he had taken out the engine. Horton drove the car for less than a month before it sold. The Mercury was painted in a color called Bittersweet, sort of a Grabber Orange according to Bob.[2]

Carroll ran a shop that sold small sports cars such as Triumph TR-1, British Ford Anglia, Consul, Jowett and MG's. He rented a space for his shop by a Mr. Davis. Davis formed a company called Sports Cars Unlimited, that imported foreign cars into New York that he had delivered to Carroll's shop at 29th and Nortwester Avenue. Carroll had 3 mechanics at the time the WIllys was built. Carroll also operated a speed shop that installed high performance engines into sleeper cars for the rich farmers up north. According to Bob, they did several cars in the 1950s, mostly Cadillac engines in Fords and Thunderbird engines in Mercurys.[2]

Carroll passed away in early 1999.[2]

Magazine Features and Appearances

Rod & Custom June 1954



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