A NEW APPROACH IN AN AGE OLD BUSINESS+44 (0) 1926 691 141
Sold for: £24,190
In early 1940, the United States Department of War had determined it needed a light, cross-country, four-wheel drive reconnaissance vehicle and was anxious to have one in time for, what may possibly turn out to be, America's entry into World War II in Europe. The U.S. Army solicited proposals from domestic car manufacturers for a replacement for its existing, ageing, light motor vehicles, mainly motorcycles and sidecars, and some Ford Model Ts. Recognising the need to create standard specifications, the Army formalised its requirements on July 11, 1940, and submitted them to 135 U.S. automotive manufacturers. It's a matter of history that ultimately two manufacturers were successful, Willys with their MB (US quarter-ton Army truck) and later, Ford with their GPW (in production designated GP.) Impressively the time taken from conception and tenders being sent out, to the production lines starting to roll, was less than two hundred days, amazing for a vehicle that has stood the test of time and become an unlikely motoring icon. This ability to get things done quickly and well was the deciding factor in America being asked to produce military hardware in vast numbers and build hundreds of ships, arguably influencing the outcome of the Second World War. Considering the manner in which the Jeep was conceived and its role in warfare, it's remarkable that most of the finest classic car collections will include a Willys or Ford WWII Jeep, making the restored example offered here a candidate for serious consideration should one of these yardstick cars have, so far, eluded you, with these Jeep particularly popular at the Goodwood Revival and other motoring events. This consignor is a huge fan of the Land Rover Series I, but it is the rarer sight of the inspirational Willys Jeep, trundling down the road and parked purposefully at classic car shows that draws attention. It is the Jeep that became the icon first, driven by victorious soldiers into newly liberated towns and villages during the closing stages of World War II. Cheered on by the ecstatic inhabitants, more used to seeing tanks and armoured cars, Jeeps with their open air insouciance posed no threat and were welcomed across the theatre of war, with the final curtain drawing to a close. This wonderful 1943 example, was first registered in the UK on the 20th March 1981, and our vendor informs us that it was left to a gentleman in a Will along with a Humber Snipe. He decided to lend both vehicles to the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) Museum at Arborfield, Berkshire, where it remained on display for the last fifteen years until the museum was relocated to Wiltshire in 2015. Upon purchase by our vendor, he replaced the four wheel cylinders, front brake shoes, hub seals and water pump. Presented to auction with a Swansea V5C and an odometer reading of some 44,000 miles which is probably a touch academic on a vehicle of this nature. This "museum quality" Willys Jeep is generally in very good order and ready to do the things that Jeeps do. As a 1943 example, it almost certainly saw some action somewhere, which will make an interesting research project for the successful bidder.