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Lot 350: Willys Jeep

Collectors' Motor Cars, Bonhams (30 April 2012)

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'. Produced by the million, the ubiquitous Jeep saw service in every theatre of the Second World War and continued in military service with armies worldwide for several decades thereafter. Today the Jeep remains highly sought after by discerning military vehicle enthusiasts. This Jeep was purchased in Cyprus by P F Foley Land Rovers in 1985 and brought to the UK where it was sold to a Mr Muir of Watford, Herts. In March 1986 Mr Muir sold the Jeep to the current vendor's father (now deceased), who used it on the family farm and at local shows. A most original survivor, the Jeep comes complete with a Willys maintenance manual and period items such as telephones, a Morse code transmitter, gas masks, fuel cans, etc. Last run in 2006, the vehicle is described as in generally good condition but will require re-commissioning before returning to the road. Offered with Swansea V5, this would be ideal 'period' transport for the Goodwood Revival meeting.

Lot Details
Auction Collectors' Motor Cars
Bonhams, The Royal Airforce Museum, London, UK
TypeCar
Lot Number350
Estimate£8000-£12000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£10500
Hammer Price (inc premium)£12075
Year1942
Condition rating3
Registration numberQ585 MPP
Mileage-
Chassis number453798
Engine number660051
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors