1945 Hotchkiss M201
Year of manufacture1945
1945 'Hotchkiss M201' Military 4x4
Chassis no. 05009
At the end of WW2 the United States Army presented the French authorities with 22,000 Willys and Ford Jeeps to re-equip their armed forces. Maintenance of the Jeeps was made the responsibility of the ERGM (Établissement de Réserve Générale du Matériel Automobile) at a facility in the Paris suburb of Maltournée. Many of the Jeeps were in poor condition and only fit to be used as spare parts to keep the remainder in service, while the growing stock of components from broken up vehicles was such that ERGM was soon able to begin manufacturing 'new' Jeeps. Increasing numbers of new components had to be made as production progressed, with each Jeep incorporating a unique combination of parts from Ford, Willys and Hotchkiss, the latter a company with considerable experience of building military vehicles in pre-war days.
In 1952 Hotchkiss obtained a licence from Willys to manufacture parts and Jeeps as Willys Overland France, the result, known as the MB, being built at Hotchkiss' Saint-Denis factory. A merger with the Brandt company made the latter's factory at Stains, Paris available to Hotchkiss, and it was from this plant that the built-under-license M201 Véhicule Léger Tout Terrain (lightweight all-terrain vehicle) began to emerge in 1956. By the time production ceased in 1966 a total of 27,628 had been completed. Remarkably for such an elderly design, the M201 would remain in use for another 30-plus years, finally disappearing from active service with the French Army in 2000.
Since then the designation 'Hotchkiss M201' has come to apply to all French-built Jeeps of this type, although, as is the case with this 1945 example, the early vehicles were not so called originally. This Jeep was formerly owned by the late Deborah Ann Winkler, wife of Hans Günter Winkler, five-time Olympic Gold Medal winner in equestrian events. She died tragically in a horse riding accident. According to the accompanying illustrated condition report, the vehicle is in generally good condition with no defects, and is original or well restored with no missing parts and only minor traces of use. Always kept garaged and well maintained, this car is owned by a German-Irish professor who has had no time to drive it, hence his decision to sell. Offered with German Fahrzeugbrief.