Willys MB Jeep

In Detail

Our Willys jeep was acquired on impulse. An auction in the late 1990s promised a vehicle that was very complete and original. It was bedecked with every optional extra – radios, antennae, Browning 30 cal. medium machine gun with pedestal mount and Parachute Regiment insignia including a Pegasus shield on the bumper. This was a rare opportunity to acquire a complete Willys jeep and avoid the long process of parts location.

The initial enthusiasm prior to the auction ebbed away once we took delivery of the vehicle. There was no evidence of the radios having been originally fitted or that it had a Browning .30 cal. fitted during its operational service. All of these very interesting and desirable objects were stripped leaving a basic and original Willys jeep without a history.

The vehicle has undergone a comprehensive overhaul. We still face a number of challenges with her. The previous owner had changed her original 6-volt starter for the more reliable yet incorrect 12-volt option. Two data plates are not original. Originals are infinitely more desirable. We have yet to explore the data plate and starter quest with the dealer community.

We are well out of depth with this vehicle given that our time and research have long been focussed on the opposing side of WWII. We have been told on a number of occasions that there is no central register for these machines by many friends in the Willys fraternity. We have applied no markings or insignia to the jeep given its unknown heritage.

Of all the vehicles we have in the collection, the Willys is the most pleasant ride, the least complicated to operate and the most exhilarating to drive. Changing gears is not the dread-filled, heart-stopping event when changing down or stopping in traffic in a VW166 Schwimmwagen.

The chassis number of the Collection’s Willys is 361128. The date of delivery was the 9 September 1944.

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