Military Vehicle Spotlight: 1943 Willys MB

Restored by Paul Wirth

Photographed by John Adams-Graf

 G-503 Willys MB 1/4-ton Truck

  • Gross Weight: 3,650 lbs.
  • Engine: Willys 442 4-Cylinder
  • Displacement: 134 cu. in.
  • Fuel: Gasoline
  • Horsepower: 54 @ 4,000 rpm
  • Maximum Speed: 65 mph
  • Maximum Range: 285 miles

Historical Note:

By July 1941, the U.S. War Department wanted to standardize the 4×4 ¼-ton truck and select a single manufacturer to supply them with an order for 16,000 vehicles. Willys won the contract over Ford or Bantam because it was the lowest bidder. The first 25,808 of these vehicles are known today as “slat grille” Jeeps because of their distinctive bar-stock grilles — designed and patented by Ford. Vehicles made after June 12, 1942, had the now familiar stamped grille, also a Ford product.

By October 1941, the military contracted with Ford to produce the 4x4s as well because of the company’s immense production capabilities. The Ford vehicle was designated “GPW” (G = Government Vehicle; P = 80” wheelbase reconnaissance car; and W = Willys-type motor).

During WWII, Willys produced 363,000 Jeeps and Ford about 280,000. Approximately 51,000 were exported to the USSR as part of the Lend-Lease


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