An Icon – Willys Jeep

After learning that a dear friend of mine in London has just purchased a classic Land Rover I decided to have a look around the internet for a car I have always adored. Some years ago at Classic Throttle Shop I stumbled on a mint mid 40’s Willys Jeep and have vowed to own one ever since.

The Willys Jeep is a car with excellent history. As the war in Europe escalated, the United States saw their odds of being pulled into a second World War growing and began allocating money to build up all phases of their military. Reconnaissance vehicles, which were previously motorcycles and sidecars, were to be updated to light-duty trucks. 135 automobile manufacturers were contacted by the U.S. Army and asked to submit working prototypes within 49 days. Three companies responded by the target date: American Bantam Car Company, Willys-Overland, and Ford Motor Company.

Willys-Overland overcame their struggle prior to WWII and sealed the bid to manufacture Jeeps for the military and they went onto produce over 650 thousand from 1941 to 1945. At War’s end, Willys saw no need to resume production of its pre-war passenger car models. Instead, they continued to do what they did best, and soon became a world leader in four-wheel-drive vehicle production with a range of civilian Jeeps.

There’s nothing cooler than admiring an automobile throughout your childhood and then growing up and buying it. I haven’t purchased a Willys Jeep yet, I just started thinking about it when I heard about my friend buying his Land Rover. I looked online and found a few on Carsales and one on Ebay for $15 grand. It’s not pocket change but it’s certainly accessible.

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James is the Founder and Editor of The Versatile Gent.

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