|Willys MB Jeep 1942|
In 1940, the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps released a tender for ‘a general purpose personnel or cargo carrier’. The first respondent was perhaps the most unlikely manufacturer, the American Bantam Car Company, which had begun as a licensed builder of the Austin Seven. Eventually, Willys-Overland received the largest of the military contracts for this ¼-ton 4x4, which soon became beloved of American GIs for its versatility and reliability.
The Willys MB model shown here was built after the Willys model’s change to a stamped vertical-slot steel grille later in 1942. It was acquired by the present owner from a fellow European enthusiast who had acquired it from the military, and it was subsequently restored to very authentic 1942 United States Military specifications. Among the accessories are a first aid kit, a fender-mounted emergency siren, a hand-operated klaxon horn, a military radio and communication set, and an authentic machine gun mounted on the rear turret (a Stevens Manufacturing M31C gun mount), as well as a gasoline can and rear-mounted spare. The olive drab livery, decorated with the appropriate stars and insignias, is authentic.