WWII jeep


1942 Ford GPW

Serial Number: 20577

Date Built: April 20, 1942


General History:

The first jeep design was a product of the Bantam Car Company in Butler, Pa.  Bantam worked in cooperation with the US Army to develop the vehicle in 1940 and 1941. In the fall of 1941, just a few weeks before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the US Government awarded the first contract for standardized WWII jeep to The Willys-Overland Company of Toledo, Ohio.  Shortly after Pearl Harbor, the US Government, seeing the urgent need for many jeeps, contracted with Ford Motor Company to also build standardized jeeps using the Willys designs.  By the end of the war in the summer of 1945, Ford and Willys had together produced over 500,000 jeeps.

What happened to Bantam Car Company you say?  They were awarded a US Government contract to build jeep trailers and never built another motor vehicle after WWII...


This Vehicle:

This vehicle is a Ford-built standardized WWII jeep.  It was built on April 20, 1942, just 5 months after Pearl Harbor.  It was probably delivered to Fort Oglethorpe in Georgia and used for training of soldiers there.  It was sold as surplus around 1950 and was purchased by a New Jersey gentleman who drove it  in Manhattan and on his property in New Jersey. The jeep’s engine failed and the jeep was put in a storage shed in 1975.  The New Jersey man died in 1997 and the jeep was brought to Maine by the man’s son.  This restorer purchased the jeep in 1999 and restored the jeep to its present condition.  The jeep’s equipment and markings portray the jeep as it would look if serving in the 47th Infantry Regiment of the 9th Infantry Division during December of 1944  (Battle of the Bulge).


Restoration of This jeep:

The restoration of this vehicle required over 540 hours of restoration work .  A website with over 500 pictures showing the step-by -step process of restoring this jeep has been developed.  Visit it at:



W.W.II jeep Trivia:

•You can spot a W.W.II jeep by the fact that it has 9 slots in its grille.  Post WWII jeeps and civilian jeeps have 7 slots.

•The W.W.II jeeps engine is a 60 horsepower 4 cylinder L-head engine known as a “Go-Devil”.

•An under-the-hood mounted oilcan is one of many design features of the W.W.II jeep which helped GI’s service the jeep in the field.

•The word “jeep” does not appear on this GPW anywhere because the name had not yet been adopted in 1942.  It was officially known as a “Truck, 1/4 ton, 4x4” at that time.

•The headlamps on a W.W.II jeep swing up and back to illuminate the engine to allow repairs when dark.