Custom 1/8-scale ’41 Willys

Custom 1/8-scale ’41 Willys

Henry Martinez is a hardcore Chevy guy going back decades — he currently owns a ’57 Nomad and a ’68 El Camino SS396 that he’s done full frame-off restorations on. He says he can’t do as much building and restoring of the full-scale stuff as he’d like to anymore, so he’s focused his talents on building scale hot rods instead. The results are jaw-dropping. Henry uses salvaged radio-control car chassis’ as his starting point, but he ends up replacing just about everything by the time he is done. This ’41 Willys sports a scratchbuilt frame with functional custom rack and pinion steering. He scratch-built the independent rear suspension as well using custom billet aluminum. He did the grille, headlights, wheels and most of the trim out of billet aluminum too. He made his own stainless steel gas tank. The interiors are all handmade custom work too. The engine is one GMP’s 1/6-scale 392 Hemis the company did several years back — and it’s never looked more at home than between the frame rails of this Willys! Check out the removable valve covers with detailed valvetrain parts beneath. Its got that Muscle Machines feel to it, only twice the size and infinitely cooler! Henry estimates he has 2 years and $4500 into creating this masterpiece. All we can say is “WOW!”

A buddy of Henry’s was so impressed with his workmanship that he made a YouTube video about his cars. Check it out:

Custom, Hot Rod, Willys, On-Road, 1/8 scale, GMPCustom, Hot Rod, Willys, On-Road, 1/8 scale, GMP IMAG0196 copy  Custom, Hot Rod, Willys, On-Road, 1/8 scale, GMP Custom, Hot Rod, Willys, On-Road, 1/8 scale, GMP Custom, Hot Rod, Willys, On-Road, 1/8 scale, GMP Custom, Hot Rod, Willys, On-Road, 1/8 scale, GMP

Custom, Hot Rod, Willys, On-Road, 1/8 scale, GMP

Updated: February 16, 2017 — 4:28 PM


  1. My name is Henry Martinez. I’m the one who built the 41″ Willy’s 1/8th scale coupe. I built it from a well used R/C car I got for $25.00. All I basically used was just the body. Everything else was scratch built. My goal was to make it look like it was a store bought kit that anyone could buy from a hobby store. Also I wanted it to look believable if it were blown up to a full scale car. I also have on the frame master cylinder and brake booster, transmission cooler, transmission linkage, working drive shaft complete with u-joints, and working independent rear suspension. The battery and battery box are also hidden under the frame. The brake rotors are slotted and drilled and they are directional as well. There are many other small details that would take a whole page to mention. I want to thank Die Cast X magazine for post my model on line. I have been a subscriber to your magazine since it first came to print. I wish it could be a monthly magazine, however. Thanks again, Henry Martinez

    1. Hi Henry!

      Beautiful workmanship! We actually got turned on to your Willys through our sister-publication RC Car Action, but one look at this car and we knew we had to show it here on DCX too! We’re thrilled and very thankful that you’ve been with us from the beginning.


  2. Matt, Thanks for your reply and nice comment, too! I was wondering if my story and Willy’s will be in Die Cast X Magazine? If so how can I get extra copies? Thanks, Henry Martinez

  3. We would be very interested in talking to you about doing a story on your model and how you built it. Look for an email to the address you used to log in.

  4. Matt, Thanks for doing the article on my models in the Fall 2017 edition of Die Cast X Magazine. What a great layout you did with the pictures and my story. I didn’t expect a four page spread…WOW! It really made all the time and effort I put into building my models well worth doing. It is so nice to be recognized in the modeling field. Thanks again! Henry Martinez

    1. Hi Henry,

      Hey Henry —

      Thank YOU! You did all the hard work and sent us great material — we were happy to give it coverage. I’m glad you enjoyed what we were able to do with it. I’m sure other readers will enjoy it too — and be blown away by your craftsmanship. Definitely stay in touch, and when you get the urge to build another amazing model give us a heads-up so we can follow along!


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