1953 Willys Aero Lark 4 Door Sedan

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  • Item location: Cassopolis, Michigan, United States
  • Make: Willys
  • Model: Aero Lark
  • SubModel: Lark
  • Type: Four Door Sedan
  • Trim: Base
  • Year: 1953
  • Mileage: 35,150
  • VIN: 653KB110914
  • Color: Burgundy
  • Engine size: L head 161 cubic inch (2.6 L)
  • Number of cylinders: 6
  • Fuel: Gasoline
  • Transmission: Manual
  • Drive type: Rear Wheel Drive
  • Interior color: Gray
  • Drive side: Left-hand drive
  • Vehicle Title: Clear

Willys Aero Lark 1953 Description

This 1953 Willys Aero Lark was rescued from an Illinoisbarn in August 2014, where it had sat since 1989. The engine was seized, the floors rusted through, and the interior had become a mouse condo. The fuel tankcontained foul smelling black ooze thatno longer resembled gasoline.I purchase the car and had it taken to a service garage that specializes in restoring old cars. They rebuilt the original engine, installed new bearings and seals, installed new valves and hardened valve seats ( to permit today's fuel to be used), rebuilt the starter, generator, fuel pump, boiled out and lined the original fuel tank, installed a new sending unit and float, replaced fuel lines, rebuilt the brakes with OEM original Willys parts, rebuilt the clutch and transmission, adjusted the steering to OEM specification and replaced worn out shock absorbers. The paint on it is the original color, but it was repainted at some time in the past. I just cleaned it, waxed it, and left it stock. They repaired the cracked thermostat housing that caused the original overheating and engine seizure back before 1989, and re-cored the original Harrison radiator. They rebuilt the water pump, as well.

After the mechanical rebuild, I had it taken to a Detroit area custom and hot rod shop where a new headliner and new seat covers were installed. New foam was used in the seats, but the springs and frames are original. They made and installed new floor pans that exactly match the original bead pattern. They are thicker gauge than original and they are painted on both sides and undercoated beneath. The woman that did this work is a genius with a bead roller and welder. I had them install dual outside rearview mirrors that are period correct, but not original Willys. They mounted four brand new period correct bias ply wide white wall tires and balanced the wheels. I purchased NOS Willys tail lights and an original NOS Willys trunk liner. All gauges and lights work, even the original dual horns work. I had them install a NOS Willys dash clock I had and a NOS Glove Box, which were dealer options in those days.


As original and stock as humanly possible

Matching number original engine rebuilt to OEM specification

New floors and structural steel in the chassis. No rust under the car and no accident damage other than a small crease in the front bumper.

New seat foam and covers, New headliner

Safe to drive, new brakes and tires

Clean, lined fuel tank, and rebuilt fuel pump compatible with modern gas

Several dealer options added using original OEM parts

Original LOF safety glass with no cracks or damage

Stainless body-side moldings and wheel beauty rings. 4 original wheel covers are in the trunk.


Trunk latch mechanism is missing. The deck lid "W" is there, but the latch is gone

Wiring harness is original and functions well, but it will need to be replaced. Harnesses are available for this model.

It needs new rubber seals on the doors and trunk

Some rust bubbles on the leading edge of the hood and bottoms of two doors, probably from stone damage that never got properly repaired. Small areas of about 3-4 square inches. No rust-through anywhere on the car

Overdrive wire is broken and it needs to be re-connected and tested for function. Solenoid is good.

Radio is original and does not work

Oil light stays on at idle, but goes out at higher revs after warm up. Oil pressure checks out at 45 psi. Mechanic says the rings are so new, they need time to seat properly by driving it.

Pitting on the chrome hood ornament, trunk hinges, and chrome lettering. Not severe, but it should be re-chromed to make it a show car.

Usual scratches and scrapes in the paint. Some staining from when it was in storage, but the car takes a good wax job and buffs out to a good shine. A "ten footer" for appearance.

The single driver side sun visor was found in the trunk after the headliner was installed and it needs to be put back on the car.

It needs a set of carpets. The original rubber floor mat was worn out and removed to repair the floors. Carpet sets are available for this car at a reasonable cost

Overall, this little car is a rugged survivor that can be driven and enjoyed for years to come.

I have a spare cylinder head and thermostat housing for the engine and engine gaskets, as well as a spare carb, carb rebuild kit, and some tune up parts that go with the car

I have the original Illinois title. No liens on the title.

Why I am selling: The factory where I work is closing soon and has been sold to new owners. I will be needing the money and I feel that this car needs to be used and enjoyed by someone who values it and will give it care. I probably will not have time to finish the restoration. I really hate to give it up. I have spent well over three times the selling price bringing it back from the grave, but that's because I love these old Willys Aeros. They were 25 years ahead of their time. Its a beautiful design that grabs people's attention and admiration wherever it goes.

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