1941 Willys Jeep Built on Second Day of Production Still Runs as a Work Truck

While we’ve never seen a war documentary that doesn’t stress the importance of tank production capacity during WW II, people sometimes forget the same rule applies to less-armored military vehicles, such as the Willys Jeep.
1941 Willys Jeep 1 photo
Photo: StrangeMeetsEvil on Reddit
Judging by the details of the story told by the 1941 vehicle in the image above, when Willys kicked off production back in 1941 (upon receiving an order for 16,000 units), it was building over 500 of these Jeeps per day.

How do we know that? As we said, it all has to do with the offroader pictured above - according to a Redditor, this was the 1,163rd Jeep ever manufactured, with the machine having been born on the second day of production, November 29, 1941.

While the man does provide detailed information on the car, such as offering its #101163 serial number, we couldn’t verify the production info mentioned above.

Even so, we’re thrilled to have come across the story of this military contraption - that’s the only emotion you can experience when you stumble upon a 74-year-old vehicle that still runs.

That’s right, the Willys MB (M stands for Military, while B stands for the second design stage) in question is owned by the guy’s grandfather, who relies on the vehicle as his work truck. Given the “AgriJeep” nickname and destination of the first post-war civilian Willys Jeeps, it seems the man is doing the right thing.

Er... no, the vehicle doesn’t have number plates and the lucky grandson explains why: “He just hasn't needed it to be street legal. It's his work truck, he uses it to navigate the colorado rockies, mostly offroad. I'm pretty sure it has no lights and I highly doubt it'd pass emissions. It also currently has no windshield, no doors, and the seats are handmade replacements (i.e., no seatbelts).

While some of those details do not stand in the way of making the vehicle street legal (such a car would be exempted from emission standards), we understand the owner’s lack of such a status.

Grandpa also seems to focus on what really matters on his army Jeep. For instance, he rebuilt the seats himself, without bothering to install too much padding, while also keeping the car in proper mechanical condition over the years.

Given the Redditor’s explanation about how the vehicle is pretty close to its original state, we have a piece of rolling history here.

Almost 100% original. Some stuff has been removed but very little has been replaced. A couple of needed mods have been made, but nothing substantial,” the man says.

Some of our younger readers might need to check out the birth tale of this military workhorse

As retro motoring aficionados remember, the compact offroader that motorized America’s military for quite a few decades had a rather controversial birth. While 135US carmakers had entered the competition for designing the vehicle, three main players made it to the final: Bantam, Ford and Willys.

The original design might have been submitted by Bantam, but due to the company’s troubled financial situation, Willys ended up receiving the blueprints, which were labeled as government property. Despite the company’s hefty production capacity we mentioned above, Ford was also asked to jump on the bandwagon, as the Army needed as many Jeeps as it could get.

Eventually, all three projects submitted by the carmakers were joined in an effort to come up with the best possible vehicle for American soldiers.

Willys also had an engine asset up its sleeve, namely the Go-Devil engine. With a displacement of 134.2 cubic inches (2.2 liters), the four-cylinder unit allowed the uniform men to use 60 hp and 105 lb-ft (142 Nm) of twist. We’re curious how many of those horses are still serving the owner of the vehicle we’re discussing here.

P.S.: we've added a video showing a ride in another 1941 Willys below, just to make sure your thirst for such retro matters is quenched.

Video thumbnail
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About the author: Andrei Tutu
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In his quest to bring you the most impressive automotive creations, Andrei relies on learning as a superpower. There's quite a bit of room in the garage that is this aficionado's heart, so factory-condition classics and widebody contraptions with turbos poking through the hood can peacefully coexist.
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