1953 Willys Aero Lark, Hixon, British Columbia.

1953 Willys Aero Lark, Hixon, British Columbia.

A rarity even in a well-populated junkyard, this ’53 Willys Aero Lark doesn’t garner immediate recognition.

A product of Willys-Overland Motors (later Kaiser-Willys), the Willys Aero was produced from 1952 to 1955 before its parent company decided to focus solely on the iconic Willys Jeep.

While the Aero received positive reviews for its strong straight-six engines and sturdy, lightweight unibody construction (which earned it a reputation for good acceleration and gas mileage), sales weren’t scorching. The American buying public already had its hands full with the Big Three, and to a lesser extent Studebaker, Packard, Nash and Hudson.

While the Willys Aero had a short lifespan in the U.S., the design soldiered on in Latin America after Brazil purchased the tooling to bolster its own auto industry.

Willys-Overland do Brasil S.A. churned out slightly facelifted Aeros from 1960 until 1971.