Line up of jeeps that include an M422 Mighty Mite, M38A1, M151, and an M151A2

What model Jeep?  To the uninitiated, they may all look alike. But any Jeep enthusiast will tell you these military 4x4s have a lot more differences than commonalities! 

Military jeeps have nuances that will make one olive drab four-wheel-drive "truck" worth tens of thousands while another old Army jeep may only be worth a couple. Do you know which is which?

Bantam MK II (BRC-60)

Known as the Bantam "Mark II" or BRC-60, this particular serial number "7," is the earliest surviving Jeep of any kind. Rescued from an Army junkyard and then restored, it was photographed while on loan from the Smithsonian Institution to the Pittsburgh Regional History Center.

The Bantam Reconnaissance Car (BRC) pilot model was followed by 70 very similar Mark II (or BRC-60) prototypes for field testing. The squared-off front fenders and rounded grille are two indicators of a MKII.

Bantam BRC-40

BRC-40 restored by Chet Krause.

BRC-40 restored by Chet Krause. 

American Bantam Car Co. supplied 2,675 BRC-40's to the U.S. Army for testing in early 1941. A two-piece windshield, flat-hood and a "slat" grille with headlights set into fenders are identifying characteristics of BRC-40's. These are rare vehicles and, if restored to original configuration (including the correct Continental Y-4112 four-cylinder engine), will sell for $60,000+.

Willys Quad

Willys prototype that it delivered to the Army in 1940 was known as the "Quad."

Willys prototype that it delivered to the Army in 1940 was known as the "Quad."

A little more than a year before the US entered WWII, Willys delivered a small, four-wheel drive prototype to the US Army in November 1940. Called the "Quad," a Willys "Go-Devil" engine powered the small vehicle. Delmar "Barney" Roos developed the engine that featured 60 horsepower and 105 foot-pounds of torque. Not only did the engine exceed the Army's requirement, it was much stronger than the engines of other competitors for the contract: Bantam's producing 83 foot-pounds of torque and Ford's spinning out 85. When Willys won the contract, it improved on the Quad to produce more than  1,500 units of the Willys MA model.

Willys MA

Willys MA restored by Chet Krause.

Willys MA restored by Chet Krause. The embossed "WILLYS" above the grille is the most obvious identifying feature.

The MA was Willys followup to the company's initial prototype of 1940 — The Quad. The MA featured a flat hood, full-length front fenders with headlights mounted, and a column-shift transmission. Willys built 1,553 MAs from June 5, 1941, through September 23, 1941. MAs are very rare in the United States. Even outside the country, a restored MA is an "over-$60,000" purchase.

Ford Pygmy

The 1940 Ford Pilot Model GP-No. 1 Pygmy, features a low silhouette, a flat-hood and a slat-grille incorporating the headlights within the body for protection. GP-No. 1 remains almost entirely unrestored.

The 1940 Ford Pilot Model GP-No. 1 Pygmy, features a low silhouette, a flat-hood and a slat-grille incorporating the headlights within the body for protection. GP-No. 1 remains almost entirely unrestored. 

The second Ford pilot was discovered in 1998 derelict in a field in California. A private collector in the United Kingdom acquired restored it.

The second, Budd-bodied Ford pilot model more closely resembled the Bantam pilot. The Army did not test it. In 1998, the derelict remains were found in California. A private collector in the United Kingdom acquired and restored it.

Ford's entry into the Army's reconnaissance car competition was the Ford GP-No. 1 "Pygmy." Whereas the Pygmy introduced many features that would be later incorporated into production Jeeps, its modified tractor engine was no competition to the Willys "Go-Devil" engine installed in the Willys Quad.

Ford constructed a second prototype using a body supplied by Philadelphia's Budd Company. The Army did not test the second vehicle.

Because of the extreme rarity of these two, no value can be assigned. They are truly, "national treasures."

Ford GP

1941 GP in autumn leaves owned by Dan Plank.

1941 GP owned by Dan Plank. 

The "GP" was Ford's entry into the bid to procure the government contract for a 1/4-ton, four-wheel-drive truck in early 1941. Contrary to popular legend, "GP" does not standard for "general purpose." Rather, it is a combination of Ford code letters: "g," indicating a government contract vehicle, and "p," indicating an 80-inch wheelbase reconnaissance car. A total of 4,458 GP's were built, including 50 of which were equipped with four-wheel steering. A welded slat grille that incorporates the headlights under the hood and an embossed Ford script on the left rear panel are hallmarks of the GP. Expect to pay $30,000+ for a restored, non-four-wheel-steer GP.

Even though all four tires are pointed straight ahead, the steering linkage running below reveals this is one of about 50 four-wheel steering GPs.

Even though all four tires are pointed straight ahead, the steering linkage running below reveals this is one of about 50 four-wheel steering Ford GPs.

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Willys MB "Slat Grille"

Willys MB "slat grille" Jeep owned by Louis Larson.

Willys MB "slat grille" Jeep owned by Louis Larson. 

After Willys fulfilled its initial Army contract of 1,500 vehicles in 1941, it received a second order for an improved version of its 1/4-ton truck, which it called the "MB." Early MB's featured a grille made of welded flat bar stock. Another feature of the "Slat Grille Willys" is the embossed Willys logo in the left rear panel. Prices for a restored Slat Grille Willys run from $15,000-$22,500.

MB/GPW

1942 Ford GPW Jeep owned by Brevan Addington.

1942 Ford GPW Jeep owned by Brevan Addington.

As World War II progressed, the U.S. government wanted its two jeep suppliers -- Ford and Willys -- to standardize production so that the parts could be used for either. The result was a jeep with a stamped grille. Ford's version was designated as the "GPW," and Willys' as the "MB." Stamped logos on the rear panels continued only through July 1942 when the government deemed it inappropriate for a manufacturer to advertise on goods produced for the military. A restored MB or GPW driver will run $15,000-$20,500.

Willys MB with "stamped grille," date of delivery: 11-21-1942. Restored by Ralph Doubek

Willys MB with "stamped grille," date of delivery:  11-21-1942. Restored by Ralph Doubek.

Holden Jeep restored by Russ Jones

During WWII, the Marines turned to General Motors-Holden in Australia for an agile, 4x4 ambulance solution based on the Jeep. The company modified 200 vehicles (now known as “Holden Jeeps”). 

1944 MZ-2 restored by Howard Coomer.

Willys developed the first WWII-era purpose-built radio jeep in fall 1942. These MB radio jeeps were manufactured by Willys throughout WW II and received different model designations as the jeep itself evolved during the war: the NOM-12, the MZ, MZ-1 and MZ-2. The pictured Jeep is a 1944 MZ-2 restored by Howard Coomer.

Ford GPA

1943 Ford GPA restored by Phil Nelson

1943 Ford GPA restored by Phil Nelson

At the request of the Quartermaster Corps, Ford worked with the National Defense Research Council to develop an amphibious 1/4-ton truck. The GPA shares the same type engine, transmission, transfer case, and axles with its land-locked sibling, the GPW. Ford built 12,778s GPAs by the end of its contract in 1943. Today, amphibious vehicles are in high demand. A GPA in #1 condition can sell for more than $150,000. 

Hotchkiss M201

While extremely similar to is GPW and MB siblings, an M201 is readily identifiable by the U-shaped stiffeners on the horn frame, single hole in the bumper, shallow stamped grille, and 13-segment hood hinge among other subtle differences. 

While extremely similar to is GPW and MB siblings, an M201 is readily identifiable by the U-shaped stiffeners on the horn frame, single hole in the bumper, shallow stamped grille, and 13-segment hood hinge among other subtle differences. 

The Hotchkiss M201 was the standard light utility vehicle used by the French army from shortly after the WWII until it began retiring them from French service in the 1980s. 

In the early years (1946 - 1956) only original WWII jeeps passed through the Etablissement de Réserve Générale du Matériel Automobile (E.R.G.M.) at La Maltournée. Jeeps that required only minor repairs or modifications retained their original MB or GPW chassis identity.

Badly damaged or scrapped jeeps were  completely stripped down to component parts. These parts were reconditioned and reassembled on a production line. These jeeps were given a new "Inspection Technique du Material"  (ITM) chassis number and build date.

In the early 1950s, Hotchkiss started making spare parts for Willys jeeps under license in France.  In 1955, 465 new Jeeps were produced. These were called Hotchkiss License MBs. From 1956, the vehicle was known simply as the Hotchkiss M201. Until 1960, these were all 6-volt models.

Very little changed on these jeeps during its forty+ years of service. It was as late as 2000 before the last M201 was taken out of French active service.

Willys M38

M38 Jeep with distinctive headlights with guards and gas filler cap near the driver's seat.

M38 Jeep with distinctive headlights with guards and gas filler cap near the driver's seat. 

Between 1950 and 1952, Willys produced more than 45,000 Model MC jeeps, commonly known as the "M38." At first glance, an M38 looks like a World War II MB/GPW, but there are significant differences. An M38 is slightly larger than its World War II counterpart. The fuel filler was mounted on the outside of the body, instead of under the driver's seat. Most obvious though, is the one-piece windshield (the World War II jeeps had two-piece windshields) and the protruding headlights, usually with a protective bar in front of each. An M38 in restored, driving condition will sell for $14,500-$19,500.

Willys CJ-V35/U

Bill Goodwin's 1950 CJV35

Bill Goodwin's 1950 CJ-V35/U.

In February 1950, the Department of the Navy contracted with Willys-Overland to build 1,000 CJ-V35/U quarter-ton trucks that it intended to be used by the Marines as communication vehicles. The CJ-V35/U looks a lot like a civilian CJ-3A. Differences, however, include the unique headlight bezel combat rims, and a 12-volt auxiliary generator mounted between the front seats to power radio equipment. Instead of a back seat, the CJ-V35/U has a radio cabinet. The electrical system was waterproofed and the Jeep came with provisions for deep-water fording. A fully restored example with all the accessories will sell for at least $22,000. 

Willys / Kaiser Jeep CJ-3B and M606

M606 Jeep with US Army markings.

Tommy Bruhn's M606. Note the distinctive "high hood."

While the US military did buy some CJ-3Bs, "M606" may simply have been a Kaiser Jeep designation for a CJ militarized for foreign sale, as opposed to a design created to U.S. military specs. 

The M606 designation applies to units built in the 1960s for the Mutual Defense Assistance Program (MDAP). Essentially, the the M606 was a CJ-3B straight off the assembly line, even within the same serial number range. The military version featured larger tires and springs. Other unique features included a pintle and bumperettes on the rear and a black-out lamp on the front left fender. It also had a specific windshield not used on civilian models.

Interestingly, the M606 was built a 6-volt electrical system rather than the standard military 24-volt system. An F-Head, 4-cylinder Hurricane engine powered the M606 accounting for the the “high hood.”

Frank Votava's USN-used CJ3B.

Frank Votava's USN-used CJ3B. It has a Navy Department 1958-dated data plate with the serial number 47154. The Willys Motor data plate is stamped "57348."

After Willys introduced the CJ-3B in January 1953, production of M606s followed, running into the mid-1960s. Relatively few M606s went to the U.S. military, however. Most were exported.

While scarce, restored examples are affordable, selling from $13,000-$20,000.

Willys M38A1 Series

The distinctive "round" front fenders are the distinctive trademark of the M38A1 Jeep.

The distinctive "round" front fenders are the distinctive trademark of the M38A1 Jeep. 

In 1952, Willys-Overland Motors began production of the Model MD or "M38A1." Equipped with the new F-head "Hurricane" engine, the M38A1 is characterized with a hinged front grille (to facilitate engine and transmission removal), narrower front bumper and, most noticeably, curved or "round" fenders. U.S. and foreign sales accounted for more than 100,000 M38A1's when domestic production ended in 1957. Restored, running M38A1's command prices from $12,500-18,000.

M38A1 in USAF "stata blue" livery, restored by Tim and Sue King.

M38A1 in USAF "stata blue" livery, restored by Tim and Sue King. 

1954 M170 Ambulance restored by Gary Keating

The ambulance version of the M38A1 was the M170 Frontline Ambulance. This 1954 belongs to Gary Keating.

M38A1C restored by Angelo Salvadore.

The M38A1C carried a 106mm recoilless rifle and had a special windshield to accommodate it. 

M38A1D Jeep

Several dozen M38A1s were converted to M38A1D. Each mounted a tactical nuclearundefinedDavy Crockett Weapon System, fired by a large diameter smoothbore recoilles rifle – either an M28 120mm, or an M29 155mm gun. The vehicle carried two M388 projectiles, mounting the Mk-54 nuclear warhead. This vehicle/weapon combination was also referred to as the "Battle Group Atomic Delivery System."

M151 Series

This 1962 Ford is owned by Larry and Bonita Elsasser and was restored by MV Specialities.

Ford began delivery of the M151 in March 1960. In 1952, Willys Motors underbid Ford and began production of 14,625 vehicles. This 1962 Ford is owned by Larry and Bonita Elsasser and was restored by MV Specialities. 

Between 1960 and 1988, Ford, Willys, Kaiser Jeep Corp. and AM General all produced Military Utility Tactical Trucks (MUTTs). Designated the M151 (with subsequent versions labeled "M151A1" and "M151A2"), MUTT's can be recognized by the horizontal slat grille and unibody construction. Parade-ready M151s usually sell for $13,500-$20,500.

The M718 Frontline Ambulance is based on the M151 or M151A1 while the M718A1 is based on the M151A2.

The M718 Frontline Ambulance is based on the M151 or M151A1 while the M718A1 is based on the M151A2.

The M151A1C Weapons Platform was a specially modified M151A1 1/4 ton jeep, revised to accommodate the M40 106mm Recoilless Rifle on an M79 mount.

The M151A1C Weapons Platform was a specially modified M151A1 1/4 ton jeep, revised to accommodate the M40 106mm Recoilless Rifle on an M79 mount.

The the marker lights in the "scooped-out" front fenders are distinctive of the M151A2. This 1970 M151A2 Ford was restored by Doug Diedrich.

The the marker lights in the "scooped-out" front fenders are distinctive of the M151A2. This  1970 M151A2 Ford was restored by Doug Diedrich.

1969 M718A1

The frontline ambulance version of the M151 series was the M718. The pictured vehicle is based on the M151A2 and is known as the M718A1. 

The M825 is a specially modified M151A2 jeep, revised to accommodate the M40 106mm Recoilless Rifle.

The M825 was a specially modified M151A2 jeep, revised to accommodate the M40 106mm Recoilless Rifle on an M79 mount.

The M825 was also later used as a platform for the M220 TOW Anti-Tank Missile, replacing the M40 Recoilless Rifle and its mount with the TOW mount and weapon.

The M825 was also later used as a platform for the M220 TOW Anti-Tank Missile, replacing the M40 Recoilless Rifle and its mount with the TOW mount and weapon.

M422 Series

Only 1,2500 M442s were made. It is six inches shorter than the M422A1.

Only 1,2500 M442s were made. It is six inches shorter than the M422A1. 

Resembling a miniature jeep, the M422 was designed for the U.S. Marine Corps to fill the need of a small, lightweight, very maneuverable truck. Labeled the "Mighty-Mite," the 1/4-ton truck came in two versions: the 65-inch wheelbase M422 and the 71-inch wheelbase M422A1. Between 1959-'62, American Motors Corp. built 3,922 Mighty-Mites. Each one featured an aluminum body and an aluminum air-cooled 108-cid V-4 engine. Parade-ready M422s and variants sell for $13,500-$19,500.

The M422A1 has an additional reinforcing rib forward of the rear tire.

The M422A1 has an additional reinforcing rib forward of the rear tire. Paul Sanders restored this Mighty Mite.

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*M151 MUTT in the Field

*Historic photos of the Holden Jeep

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