February 15, 2013
When my quote came back from the fabricator and I found it to be less than 1/10th the price of a reproduction bed, it felt like I’d discovered some secret restoration cheat code. Granted, the bed I designed does not have a corrugated floor, and none of the alignment holes have been drilled, but for savings of about $3100 over a reproduction bed, I can easily live with that. The other plus with this bed was that the difference between 16 gauge and 14 gauge was only about $20, so I opted for the thicker steel, giving me an extra .015” over stock thickness. This may not sound like much, but the heft is considerable, and should stand up to years and years of use without showing as much wear.
Getting this load home in the little echo was not a task for the faint of heart, as it hung out the back of the trunk and touched the back of my seat. I did manage to mock it up in my garage for some pictures and an oiling, since I won’t be welding it for a little while. Note that the bed floor is placed in upside down, otherwise the centre flange wouldn’t let it sit flat.
This bed looks great, and only the trained eye would be able to spot it as a 'homemade' reproduction, since it was made using most of the same methods as the Willys factory some 53 years ago.