Jeep Willys MB
1/48 Military Vehicles
Paint: Unpainted, Unassembled, Kit do not contain paints and glue.
Condition: New in Box
The Willys MB U.S. Army Jeep (formally the Truck, 1/4 ton, 4x4) and theFord GPW were manufactured from 1941 to 1945. These small four-wheel drive utility vehicles are considered the iconic World War II Jeep, and inspired many similar light utility vehicles. Over the years, the World War II Jeep later evolved into the "CJ" civilian Jeep. Its counterpart in the German army was the Volkswagen Kübelwagen, first prototyped in 1938, also based on a small automobile, but which used an air-cooled engine and was not four-wheel drive.Even though the world had seen widespread mechanisation of the military during World War I, and the United States Army had already used four-wheel drive trucks in it, supplied by the Four Wheel Drive Auto Co. (FWD); by the time World War II was dawning, the United States Department of Warwere still seeking a light, cross-country reconnaissance vehicle.
As tensions were heightening around the world in the late 1930s, the U.S. Army asked American automobile manufacturers to tender suggestions to replace its existing, aging light motor vehicles, mostly motorcycles andsidecars but also some Ford Model Ts.his resulted in several prototypes being presented to army officials, such as five Marmon-Herrington 4x4 Fords in 1937, and three Austin roadsters by American Bantam in 1938 (Fowler, 1993). However, the U.S. Army's requirements were not formalized until July 11, 1940, when 135 U.S. automotive manufacturers were approached to submit a design conforming to the army's specifications for a vehicle the World War II technical manual TM 9-803 described as "... a general purpose, personnel, or cargo carrier especially adaptable for reconnaissance or command, and designated as 1/4-ton 4x4 Truck."Only two companies entered: American Bantam Car Company and Willys-Overland Motors. Though Willys-Overland was the low bidder, Bantam received the bid, being the only company committing to deliver a pilot model in 49 days and production examples in 75. Under the leadership of designer Karl Probst, Bantam built their first prototype, dubbed the "Blitz Buggy" (and in retrospect "Old Number One"), and delivered it to the Army vehicle test center at Camp Holabird, Maryland on September 23, 1940. This presented Army officials with the first of what eventually evolved into the World War II U.S. Army Jeeps: the Willys MB and Ford GPW.Since Bantam did not have the production capacity or fiscal stability to deliver on the scale needed by the War Department, the other two bidders, Ford and Willys, were encouraged to complete their own pilot models for testing. The contract for the new reconnaissance car was to be determined by trials. As testing of the Bantam prototype took place from September 27 to October 16, Ford and Willys technical representatives present at Holabird were given ample opportunity to study the vehicle's performance. Moreover, in order to expedite production, the War Department forwarded the Bantam blueprints to Ford and Willys, claiming the government owned the design. Bantam did not dispute this move due to its precarious financial situation. By November 1940, Ford and Willys each submitted prototypes to compete with the Bantam in the Army's trials. The pilot models, the Willys Quad and the Ford Pygmy, turned out very similar to each other and were joined in testing by Bantam's entry, now evolved into a Mark II called the BRC 60. By then the U.S. and its armed forces were already under such pressure that all three cars were declared acceptable and orders for 1,500 units per company were given for field testing. At this time it was acknowledged the original weight limit (which Bantam had ignored) was unrealistic, and it was raised to 2,160 lb (980 kg).
||Willys & Ford Motor Company