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. The Pentagon, though, doubted the firm's ability to meet the military's post-Pearl Harbour demands so the major contracts went to Willys and the Ford Motor Company. Willys-Overland's final production version was the Model MB while Ford's was designated the Model GPW. There were subtle differences between the two versions, Ford's having its components marked with the letter 'F'. Produced by the million, the ubiquitous Jeep saw service in every theatre 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 Ford Jeep's chassis number indicate a manufacturing date of sometime in 1944. The Jeep was purchased directly from the British Army in the late 1960s by a Mr M Humphrey, who owned it until 2010. During his ownership Mr Humphrey completely stripped the jeep to the last nut and bolt and rebuilt it over a number of years. The vehicle was not road registered until its acquisition by the current vendor, who advises us that this is the most original Ford GPW they have ever owned or seen. It has an original Ford chassis, body and engine, a quite rare state of affairs as these components were often mixed when Jeeps were returned for repair. The body panels appear to be all original, with no welded repairs. Unusually, the electrical system is still the original 6-volt, many having been converted to 12-volt. It also has its original hand-operated windscreen wiper. We are advised that all major components are functioning as they should, with no faults, and that the engine starts 'on the button' with just a fraction of choke. The paintwork consists of a bronze green gloss undercoat that affords maximum protection, with a correct US matt olive drab top coat. Perfect for any gathering of military vehicles or themed events such as the Goodwood Revival, '634 YUN' comes with a correct reproduction canvas summer top and is offered with a V5C registration document.