That Time Ford Built a Jeep to Help in World War II
Nowadays, Jeep and Ford are locked in a battle royal for supremacy, but in the not-to-distant past, they worked together to help the United States military defeat the enemy in World War II. The Willys MB and the Ford GPW were similar vehicles designed for troops in the battlefield, and became the basis of the modern-day Jeeps you can pick up at a dealership today.
If you happen to be wandering through the New Orleans international airport, like our friend Tim Esterdahl recently did (and obtained these photos), you’ll notice the Ford GPW 1/4 on display along with a promo for a movie about World War II. Looking at the GPW, it’s really hard to tell the difference from the Willys we’re all familiar seeing.
According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, the Willys MB and Ford GPW were produced from 1941 to 1945. Ford initally lost the bid to produce the vehicle for the military, but after Willys Overland couldn’t keep up production, Ford was contracted to meet the demand of the military.
The “G” in GPW stood for government, as that was the buyer and user of the vehicle. Ford commonly used “P” to designate passenger vehicles. The “W” in GPW was in reference to the Willy’s trademark design of the vehicle.
Without the help from Ford, our GIs in World War II might not have had all the tools they needed for victory. The Willys MB and Ford GPW went on to be the basis for the Jeep CJ, and the rest is history.
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photos via [Tim Esterdahl]