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MV Spotlight: 1942 Willys MB

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1-JAN 1942 Willys MB John Bochnicka

1942 Willys MB
Restored by John Bochnicka
Photograph by Cassie Misch

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


By July 1941, the U.S. War Department wanted to standardize the 4x4 ¼-ton truck and and select a single manufacturer to supply them with an order for 16,000 vehicles. Willys won the contract mostly due to its more powerful engine and its lower cost. The first 25,808 of these vehicles are known today as “slat grille” Jeeps because of their distinctive bar-stock grilles. Vehicles made after June 12, 1942, had the now familiar stamped grille.

By October 1941, it became apparent Willys-Overland could not keep up with the production demand. The military contracted with Ford to produce the 4x4s as well. The Ford vehicle was designated “GPW”—the "W" referring to the "Willys" licensed design. 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 program. By the end of the war, Willys had produced 359,489 Jeeps.

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