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. Each of the first 25,808 Jeeps to roll out of the Willys factory had welded flat iron "slat" radiator grille. Vehicles produced after June 12, 1942, were fitted with the now-familiar, stamped-steel grille.

"GRILL" or "GRILLE?"

Grille or Grill? You might be surprised what the correct term really is! 

Grille or Grill? You might be surprised what the correct term really is! 

Collectors and enthusiasts seem to use the two terms interchangeably have you ever wondered which is correct? 

Grammatically speaking, “grill” — both as a verb and as a noun— relates to cooking food over a metal structure placed over a fire.

Grille,” on the other hand, refers to a metal structure of bars built around or across something to ensure its protection.  

Based on that, the thing protecting the radiator on either your Willys or Ford Jeep is a "grille."  

But if you really want to be correct, Ord 9 SNL G-503, List of Service Parts for Truck, 1/4-ton, 4x4, Command Reconnaissance (Ford Model GPW; Willys, Model MB), refers to that protective piece in front of the radiator as neither. Instead, it labels it as a "guard" (part number WO-A3615). 

Whether you call a "slat grille" or an "early MB," we invite you to view a few of these lovely vehicles in original WWII photos and as restored tributes to the men and women who relied on them during WWII.

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