1944 Ford GPW Willys Jeep

Jeep’s 80th Anniversary: From Willy’s To Wrangler

With 2021 marking Jeep’s 80th anniversary, they’re releasing special edition versions of the Renegade and Wrangler SUVs. The unique editions will come with an “80th Anniversary” badging, unique 18-inch alloy wheels and Granite Crystal paint.

Jeep forged their way into the automobile world in the height of world war two. Jeeps were designed to be nimble and versatile on the battlefield, tackling any terrain and light enough to be pushed when stuck. Although there are many versions of the founding story of Jeep, there are a few facts that remain trusted.

The American Military put out a request to American automobile designers to come up with an appropriate vehicle however the only responses they received were from two, small companies: Willys-Overland Motor Co and Bantam Car Co. However the American Military had it’s concerned so it invited Ford Motors to join the assembly.

All companies produced a vehicle that was intended to meet the specifications however both fell short in varying aspects. The Willys Quad had a powerful 60-hp Go Devil four-cylinder engine which put it head and shoulders above the other in terms of power. The Ford Pygmy unique and advanced craftsmanship, as it was designed with a flat hood and flat fenders that the War Department saw as useful and intuitive features. Bantam, who has previously provided a vehicle design that subsequently failed, produced an updated design that became the lightest and most fuel-efficient of the three.

In 1941, Willys-Overland Motor Co. received their first contract to produce the Willys MB for the American military that featured design aspects from each contribution. A second contract was then awarded to Ford to keep up with the demand. Bantam was given a contract to build trailers used alongside the Jeeps.

After the war, the designs were adapted for civilian use, and so the Jeep franchise grew but not without gaining the ‘Jeep Curse’ as it chewed up and spat out several owners over its long history.

Back in 2018, in the midst of the Beast From The East, we worked on a 1944 Ford GPW Willys’ Jeep that had an issue with a valve stuck open. This model was one of the original American Military Jeeps and an absolute pleasure to work on. Even at 77 years old, nothing could stop this little Jeep.

We’re not scared of the ‘Beast From The East’

With the engine work now complete on our 1944 Ford GPW Willys Jeep we couldn’t resist a quick photo opportunity this morning, out in the snow as we are set for another day of blizzards from ‘The Beast From The East’.

Diagnosing the Willys running issues

Having stripped our 1944 Ford GPW Willys head Peter has discovered a valve that is stuck open.

Parts have been ordered in from Sweden and once they arrive we can start working on getting her back on the road.