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Buy Military Jeep

The man's not alone. Colwell is one of thousands who buy and sell military jeeps at auctions, swap meets and fair grounds nationwide. Some use them for farm and ranch work. Others keep them around to use for towing or volunteer firefighting. Still others collect because it reminds them of their war-veteran fathers and grandfathers.

buy military jeep


This list is inspired by the iconic designs and heritage of military trucks built during the past century by companies like Jeep, Land Rover and AM General. And by the $90,000 hand-built new jeeps a company called ICON builds each year out in California--the direct descendants of the originals, old and battered though they be.

The U.S. Army had been requesting a small, light four-wheel drive vehicle since the early 1920s, to replace the motorcycles, older vehicles, and animals used as transportation during World War I. Though early concepts were prototyped in the 1930s, the jeep's actual design and development occurred shortly before American entry into World War II. The jeep became the workhorse of the U.S. military during the war, replacing horses and draft animals in almost every role from cavalry to logistics, while improvised field modifications made the jeep capable of performing practically any other function necessary.[8] An amphibious variant of the jeep, the Ford GPA, was also produced, but its flaws compared to other Allied amphibious vehicles led to its quick discontinuation.

With almost 650,000 units built, the jeep constituted a quarter of the total U.S. non-combat motor vehicles produced during the war,[nb 5] or almost two-thirds of the 988,000 light 4WD vehicles produced, when counted together with the Dodge WC series. The jeep massively outproduced its primary Axis counterpart, Nazi Germany's Volkswagen Kübelwagen, which only had a production total of 50,000 units.[11] Large numbers of jeeps were provided to U.S. allies through Lend-Lease.

The jeep was widely revered for its reliability and wide usage. General Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote in his memoirs that most senior officers regarded it as one of the five pieces of equipment most vital to American victory in Africa and Europe.[nb 6] Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall called the jeep "America's greatest contribution to modern warfare."[13][14][15] Historian Charles K. Hyde wrote: "In many respects, the jeep became the iconic vehicle of World War II, with an almost mythological reputation of toughness, durability, and versatility."[9] In 1991, the Willys MB was designated an International Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers,[2] and in 2010, the American Enterprise Institute deemed the jeep "one of the most influential designs in automotive history".[15]

Officially, on 7 April 1942, U.S. patent 2278450 for the final design of the jeep, titled "Military vehicle body", was awarded to the U.S. Army, which had applied for it, listing Colonel Byron Q. Jones as the inventor on the patent, though he had performed no work on the design of the vehicle.[22] Filed on 8 October 1941, stating in the application that "The invention described herein, if patented, may be manufactured and used by or for the Government for governmental purposes without the payment of any royalty thereon",[23] the patent relates to a "small car vehicle body having convertible features whereby it is rendered particularly desirable for military purposes" and describes the purpose as being "a convertible small car body so arranged that a single vehicle may be interchangeably used as a cargo truck, personnel carrier, emergency ambulance, field beds, radio car, trench mortar unit, mobile anti-aircraft machine gun unit, or for other purposes."[23]

For centuries, horses were used for reconnaissance, communications, and pulling loads, whenever wars were fought, but after the start of the 20th century, motorcycles were the first motor vehicles eagerly adopted by the military, either to replace mounted/ridden cavalry horses, or to motorize infantry.

Immediately after World War I, the future use of motor vehicles was considered. In 1919, the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps recommended the acquisition of a new kind of military vehicle, ".. of light weight and compact size, with a low silhouette and high ground clearance, and possess the ability to carry weapons and men over all sorts of rough terrain." [36] The U.S. Army started looking for a small vehicle suited for reconnaissance and messaging, while at the same time searching for a light cross-country weapons carrier.[37]However, after World War I, U.S. military budgets were drastically cut, and so any development of a light 4WD car was curtailed until the late 1930s.[38]

Using off-the-shelf automotive parts where possible had partly enabled drawing up the blueprints quickly. By working backward, Probst and American Bantam's draftsmen converted what Crist and a few others had put together into drawings.[15] The hand-built prototype was then completed in Butler, Pennsylvania,[62] and driven to the Army vehicle test center at Camp Holabird, Maryland. It was delivered on 23 September 1940. The vehicle met all the Army's criteria except vehicle weight and engine torque.[citation needed] The American Bantam Pilot, initially called the "Blitz Buggy",[2] and later also dubbed "Old Number One"[citation needed]) presented Army officials with the first of what eventually evolved into the World War II U.S. military jeep.

By November 1940, Ford and Willys each submitted prototypes to compete with the American Bantam in the Army's trials while American Bantam had already kicked off mass production of their second-generation Mark II, also known as the "BRC 60". The Willys "Quad" and the Ford "Pygmy" prototype models were similar to the American Bantam Pilot and were joined in testing by American Bantam's BRC-60. By then the U.S. armed forces were in such haste, and allies like Britain, France, and USSR were trying to acquire these new "Blitz-Buggies",[nb 11] that all three cars were declared acceptable and orders for 1,500 units per company were given for field testing and export. At this time it was acknowledged the original weight limit (which even the American Bantam BRC-60 could not meet) was unrealistic, and it was raised to 2,160 lb (980 kg). On 22 January 1941, the Quartermaster Corps Technical Committee advised standardization of the jeeps across all manufacturers.[63]

Eventually, virtually all of the Willys-Overland and most of the American Bantam and Ford GP early production jeeps were provided to Britain and USSR, leaving a few hundred American Bantam BRCs and under 1,000 GPs for the home troops.[64]

The jeep, once it entered mass production, introduced several new automotive technologies. Having four-wheel drive for the first time introduced the need for a transfer case, and the use of constant-velocity joints on the driven front wheels and axle, to a regular production car-sized vehicle.[67]

In early October 1941, it became clear that Willys-Overland could not keep up with procurement needs, and Ford received government contracts to build 30,000 units,[68] according to Willys' blueprints, drawings, specifications, and patents, including the more powerful Willys engine.[69] When Ford offered to increase the displacement and power of the tractor engine in their GP model, the government declined and insisted that Ford produce jeeps identical to the Willys, both for the much stronger engine,[clarification needed] and for complete commonality/interchangeability of the components. Willys received no license fees, and Ford complied. The Ford was designated "GPW", with the "W" indicating the "Willys" licensed design and engine. Ford retooled at a cost of $4 million to build Willys engines and produced the first GPW as quickly as 2 January 1942. Just days before, in late December 1941, the Quartermaster Corps had ordered another 63,146 GPWs. [68]

One extra condition to Ford's jeep orders was to manufacture them in several different Ford assembly plants, in addition to Ford's primary 'River Rouge' plant in Dearborn (Michigan). The QC expressly demanded Ford decentralize their jeep manufacturing to facilitate the Army's logistics, shipping from all three coasts. Besides Dearborn, Ford also assembled jeeps in their Louisville, Chester (Pennsylvania), Dallas (Texas), and Richmond (California) plants. Ford's Edgewater (New Jersey) plant also built jeeps in the first four months of 1943. [68]

During World War II, Willys produced 363,000 Jeeps and Ford some 280,000. Some 50,000 were exported to the USSR under the Lend-Lease program.[11] Ford's assembly across plants distributed as: River Rouge 21,559; Dallas and Louisville almost tied at 93,748 and 93,364 units respectively; Chester 18,533, and Edgewater just 1,333 units.[68] Bantam stopped further jeep production and made two-wheel jeep trailers. This was sufficient to keep the firm going until it was taken over in 1956.[70]

Ford built jeeps with functionally interchangeable parts and components, in part facilitated by using components from common sources: frames from Midland Steel, wheels from Kelsey-Hayes, and axles and transfer cases from Spicer.[69] However, Ford had replaced the welded grate front grille by a single pressed/stamped sheet steel part, with nine vertical open slots to ventilate the radiator, and circular openings in front of the lights, to simplify production, and save costs. Willys also adopted this in their production of the MB after unit 25,808. Predictably, there were still many minor differences; the Ford chassis had an inverted U-shaped front cross member instead of a tubular bar, and a Ford script letter "F" was stamped onto many small parts.

Approximately 13,000 additional amphibious jeeps were built by Ford as the Ford GPA (nicknamed "Seep" for "Sea Jeep"). Inspired by the larger DUKW, the vehicle was produced too quickly[citation needed] and proved to be too heavy, too unwieldy, and with insufficient freeboard. In spite of participating with some success in the Sicily landings in July 1943, many were passed on under the Lend-Lease program; some 3,500 to the USSR alone.[72] The Soviets were sufficiently pleased with its ability to cross the many rivers and swamps in their territories, to develop their own version of it after the war, the GAZ-46. 041b061a72


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