1944 Willys Jeep

Summary

  • Year of manufacture 
    1944
  • Chassis number 
    MB320184
  • Lot number 
    303
  • Drive 
    LHD
  • Condition 
    Used
  • Number of seats 
    2
  • Location
  • Exterior colour 
    Other
  • Drivetrain 
    2wd
  • Fuel type 
    Petrol

Description

1944 Willys Jeep 4x4 Light Utility
Registration no. KXS 656
Chassis no. MB320184

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 was up and running by 1940, meeting the 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 Harbour 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 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 excellent, museum quality example was fully restored in Italy, where it may well have seen service during WW2, before being placed in dry storage for many years, seeing only occasional use. Offered with a V5C document, this restored Willys Jeep would be ideal period transport for next year's Goodwood meetings and other prestigious motoring events, particularly those devoted to military vehicles.