Veteran Navy Ford Jeep Comes Ashore to the Auction Block
Rare 1943 Ford GPW is one of several vehicles to come from Texas’ soon-to-be-closed Dick’s Classic Car Garage.
Nearly a decade ago, Richard Burdick opened his second museum, Dick’s Classic Car Garage, in the Texas town of San Marcos, located on I-35 between Austin and San Antonio. According to Hemmings, upon his passing earlier in 2018, the Burdick family decided to liquidate the collection of unique vehicles and memorabilia through RM Sotheby’s over the course of 2019 to fund the Richard L. Burdick Foundation, which will provide scholarships to those in need.
One of those vehicles from the collection, a 1943 Ford GPW, will hit the auction block at RM Sotheby’s Fort Lauderdale, Florida, event taking place March 29 and 30.
While the shape has been synonymous with its namesake since it first served in combat during World War II, Ford was among the few to build a Jeep during wartime. This particular model wears the gray blue of the U.S. Navy, and bears the markings of the U.S.S. Saipan, “a light aircraft carrier commissioned in 1946 and serving until 1970,” according to the auction house.
Behind the nine-slot grill is the Ford’s 134-cu in L-head inline-four, which made a serviceable 60 horses back in the day. The inline-four is backed by a three-speed manual with a two-speed transfer case to send the warhorses to the corners.
The interior is spartan, as is expected for a Ford built for the battlefield. A canvas strap on either side serve as doors, the driver’s side has a shovel and axe mounted on the outside behind the front fender, and the rear has a Jerry can and full-size spare to help get the Ford out of danger if needed.
This is one Jeep we can get behind, and not just because it’s a Ford. We can’t wait to see it at the next Fourth of July parade.