Trying to buy a WW2 "Jeep In The Crate" - Military Trader/Vehicles

WW2 "Jeep In The Crate"

Did the famous WWII "Surplus Jeep" for $50 only exist in the back of magazines?

“Jeep in the crate.” In our hobby, that one phrase causes more eyes to roll than Kelly’s Heroes’ Oddball declaring, “Always with the negative waves Moriarty, always with the negative waves.” 

Period photo from Life magazine with a WWII Jeep in a Crate. Attached is one of the ads that appeared in many magazines advertising these boxed wonders for only  $50.

It seems everyone has heard of them, many even claim to know someone who bought one, but nobody can actually provide evidence of ever having purchased a "WWII Jeep in a Crate" for $50. 

Not being one to stir the negative waves, let me simply state, if WWII jeeps are still in the crate, they are sitting on the bottom of the Atlantic or Pacific.

WWII photo of work crew with a Jeep-in-a-crate with a Christmas tag saying "Merry Christmas to the Boys in Service."

Nearly as legendary as Santa Claus, the Jeep-in-a-crate myth is just as resilient.

Period advertisement for military surplus, including Jeeps

This is the type of ad many looked at and dreamed of inexpensive military surplus including Jeeps, and apparently, a 19th century naval deck cannon, by the looks of the ad!

Okay, okay, so the “jeep in a crate” is a bit of an urban legend. Yes, jeeps were shipped in crates. Yes, those crates were warehoused. And yes, even some of them may have been sold after the end of WWII. But mention that you heard about a secret warehouse stacked with endless rows of Willys MBs or Ford GPWs and you won’t get a diehard military vehicle guy or a militaria collector to put down his McMuffin and look you in the eye. Most folks in the hobby recognize that the “jeep in a crate” is more myth than fact.

John Bircheffe's  M151A2 "MUTT" in crate

Not a WWII Jeep, but John Bircheffe does have a M151A2 "MUTT" in crate!

However, the 21st Century does offer a new version of this story—and this one is more reality than urban legend. For years, the U.S. military has been selling big trucks—2½-ton “deuces” and 5-ton cargo trucks—for a fraction of what the trucks originally cost. Today, someone wanting an “army truck” can search the government auctions and, for a couple of grand, come away with a heck of a deal.

For example, at a Government Liquidation auction, a drivable 2½-ton M35 6x6 trucks sold for as little as $4,500. The U.S. government paid around $40,000 for each of these! Maybe a deuce is a bit bigger than a jeep, but that is a lot of truck for $4.5K.

M38A1 Jeep in a crate.

Still not a WWII jeep, this is an M38A1 in a crate. 

Not a Jeep either. These workmen are crating a WC-63 for shipment from the Lima Tank Depot. 

Not a Jeep either. These workmen are crating a WC-63 for shipment from the Lima Tank Depot. 

All that said, don’t let me deter anyone from looking through those warehouses for crates of military surplus. It’s still out there. 

In another rare discovery of WWII items "in the crate," Jeff Shrader of Advance Guard Militaria just located a few crates of or WWI and WWII T-Handle shovels. Okay, maybe that isn’t the coolest thing, but man, just to find and open a box of material originally destined for Pershing’s doughboys had to be pretty darn exciting! Click over to Jeff’s site at and check them out in the “U.S. Militaria Early Through WWI” and "WWII" categories.

Keep opening those crates...if you find some goodies that have been forgotten to history, drop me an email. We all love those “jeep (or any other militaria) in a crate” stories!

WII Jeeps being assembled in the field--fresh out of their CRATES!

Okay, I will stop playing...Here are some WWII Jeeps being assembled in the field--fresh out of their CRATES!

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