The MB 1/4-ton truck is one of the most iconic vehicles in the US military. The ‘Jeep,’ as it is more commonly known, filled the Army’s much-needed role of a standardized, light, general-purpose vehicle.

In 1940, the Willys-Overland Company won the contract to produce their own light vehicle design. However, in early 1941, the company was incapable of producing the amount needed to fulfill their contract. Later that year, the Ford Motor Company stepped in to fill the gap. As a result, two types of Jeeps were produced: the Willys ‘MB’ and the Ford ‘GPW.’ Very little differed in their overall design from 1941 to 1945. By the end of the war, both companies had produced over 630,000 Jeeps in different variations. The most common is the standard, cloth-top Jeep, such as our August 1945 Willys MB, ‘Lois.’

The First Division Museum also operates a 1942 Willys MB named ‘Marilyn.’ She is outfitted as an ambulatory vehicle. The Jeep has been modified to medical corps specifications, which were used to carry wounded soldiers on stretchers quickly from the battlefield. The ‘Jeep’ name and general design stuck with other models of light trucks such as the M38, M38A1, and M151 well into the 1980s. The original MB and GPW jeeps ceased production with the end of WWII and were primarily phased out of use by the 1950s.

Technical Data

Weight: 1 ton (1,975lbs) Empty
Engine: Willys L134 ‘Go-Devil’ Straight-4 L-head (60bhp)
Transmission: 3-speed, Hi-Lo with 1-reverse
Crew: 1 (driver) with co-driver and/or rear gunner on certain models
Top Speed: 45mph
Fuel: Gasoline, 15gal capacity with 300-mile max range
Total Produced: 363,000 (Willys MB), and 280,000 (Ford GPW)