1942 Ford GPW 'Jeep'
Chassis no. 37594
Although forever associated with Willys-Overland, the original Jeep military vehicle was developed by American Bantam, formerly American Austin. Designed to meet the US Army's requirement for a rugged, go-anywhere, four-wheel-drive vehicle capable of surviving on the barest minimum of unskilled maintenance, Bantam's prototype Jeep was up and running by 1940, meeting the US Army's requirements apart from the engine, which was deemed insufficiently powerful. The Pentagon, though, doubted Bantam's ability to meet the military's post-Pearl Harbor demands so the major contracts went to Willys - the only other firm that had submitted a tender - and the Ford Motor Company, which would be responsible for the Jeep's trademark slotted radiator grille.
Willys made various modifications to take advantage of a revised maximum weight requirement, which meant it was able to use its relatively heavy but adequately powerful 'Go Devil' engine. It was in this revised form that the Jeep would enter volume production. Willys-Overland's final production version was the Model MB, Ford's being designated the Model GPW.
There were subtle differences between the two versions, Ford's having its components marked with the letter 'F'. After extensive field testing, the Jeep's off-road capability was first publicly demonstrated early in 1941 when one was driven up the steps of the United States Capitol by Willys's test driver, Irving 'Red' Haussman. Produced by the million, the ubiquitous Jeep saw service in every theater of the Second World War and continued in military service with armies world-wide for several decades thereafter. Today the Jeep remains highly sought after by discerning military vehicle enthusiasts.
This fully equipped GPW was the recipient of a frame-off restoration and has traveled only 750 miles since. Finished in USMC drab green with Navy/USMC markings, its has everything one could possibly need to storm Omaha, or East Hampton, beach. If the cell service is poor, fear not as a full radio, with microphone, speaker, headphones, antenna, and storage bag is installed on the driver side gunnel. When the going gets rough (or it cools off in the evening and a fire pit is needed), just grab the axe, shovel, rope, and jack stand to get the job done. And should an opposing group require some extra convincing, one need only point out the presence of the M31C machine gun mount with M1919A4 cradle or the M1 Garand (stock only, though) stowed in its leather scabbard along the windscreen.
Instantly recognizable and certainly capable, grab your standard issue uniform (or Madras blazer), alert the enlisted men (or the kids), and head off to battle (or the beach)!
- Please note that this vehicle is titled with chassis number GPW37594.