Born: 1941, U.S.A.
Designer: Karl Probst
Context: World War II
In a few words: “A perfect design for the task at hand”
Transformational Value: “The Willys Jeep changed the world”, Car of the Century Contest
Story: The Willys Jeep changed the way warfare was conducted. Before the Jeep, heavy machine guns, light artillery, men and supplies were moved by mules and men.
The US Army searched for a lightweight four-wheel drive vehicle, but none could be found. So it launched a bid for such a vehicle and chose the proposal from a small car manufacturer called Bantam. A prototype was delivered to the Army within 49 days. Bantam built the first batch of vehicles, but the contract ultimately went to Willis-Overland, a larger manufacturer. The sturdy General Purpose Vehicle, nicknamed Jeep, entered production at the end of 1941.
“Go anywhere”… and that it did on a global scale.
Wheelbase / Length / Weight: 203 cm / 337 cm / 1 100 kg
Four-wheel drive, 4 cyl. 2.2 L, 54 hp, 3-speed and transfer case, 90 km/h
Owner: Jim Elliott