1944 Willys-Overland MB (Jeep)

1/4 Ton Off Road 2.2 L

Vehicle values by condition

Condition 4
#4 cars are daily drivers, with flaws visible to the naked eye. The chrome might have pitting or scratches, the windshield might be chipped.
Condition 3
#3 cars could possess some, but not all of the issues of a #4 car, but they will be balanced by other factors such as a fresh paint job or a new, correct interior.
Condition 2
#2 cars could win a local or regional show. They can be former #1 cars that have been driven or have aged. Seasoned observers will have to look closely for flaws.
Condition 1
#1 vehicles are the best in the world. The visual image is of the best car, unmodified, in the right colours, driving onto the lawn at the finest concours.
Insurance premium for a
1944 Willys-Overland MB (Jeep) 1/4 Ton Off Road 2199
valued at £16,900
£127.38 / year*

History of the 1941 - 1945 Willys-Overland MB (Jeep)

Willys MB Jeep (4x4), 1940-1945

The Willys MB Jeep was in production from 1940 until 1945. Not styled so much as evolved for practical reasons, it is a front-engine, all wheel drive utility vehicle.

The Willys MB Jeep was a machine built to take on World War Two. But the design predated the war. The US Army had become interested in Britain's use of the Austin Seven as a reconnaissance vehicle, and following research launched a competition in 1940 to develop a similar vehicle for themselves. Only American Bantam and Willys-Overland entered the competition, which required proposals to be submitted within 11 days. Ford joined later. Willys was the lowest bidder but penalised for requesting additional time, so the contract went to Bantam. But Bantam couldn't keep pace with demand, so the competition was opened to the other two once more. Willys' iteration of the design was refined into the MA, also produced by Ford as the GPW. In 1941 the government decided to streamline to a single source of supply, which was awarded to Willys because its engine offered the greatest power and torque. The best features of Ford and Bantam were incorporated into the MA, the new model becoming the MB. The Jeep remained this way until 1945, when the end of the war meant there was no further need.

It would be pointless to talk about how the Jeep drives as if that's the reason anyone's considering buying one. But there's not as much to it as you'd think. It's got a three speed dog-leg crash gearbox, suspension that's about as firm as it gets, and no doors. But then, it has no sides either, so getting in and out isn't exactly hard. The important thing to remember when holding the large, thin steering wheel and operating the low geared steering is that it's very easy to fall out if you're not careful - better to take things slowly. The gearing means most corners are first gear affairs, which makes it easier to remember to take care.

Check to ensure that all parts are original Willys items. Many Jeeps found their way to France after WWII, and have over time adopted Hotchkiss-produced parts from when the French firm made Jeeps under licence. There's nothing strictly wrong with it, but these hybrids will never be worth the same as a wholly original WWII Willys Jeep. Beware also over-restored cars, which may contain a high number of aftermarket parts. The market as a whole doesn't like its Jeeps shiny, either. Blue smoke means worn rings or bores, while smoke when you life off indicates worn valve guides. Oil pressure should be 10si at idle and 40-50psi in use, any lower could indicate worn bearings or a dying oil pump.

As above, over-restored Jeeps aren't as desirable as those which look as they did when new - that is, ready for action. It's a peculiarity of combat vehicles that there's such a thing as "too good", and this can damage values as much as non original parts or poor condition. Willys MB prices, as a rule, are condition dependent - so those in the best condition will always be the most valuable models.

What else would you buy if you wanted a vehicle like this? The only real alternative is the Series Land Rover, a machine developed in the wake of Jeep production. If you wanted something more modern, a Mercedes G-Wagen shares the Jeep's military past. The Suzuki SJ also shares its stripped back ethos. If you want to go anywhere in a little more comfort, try a Jeep Cherokee or a Range Rover, while fans of ex army vehicles might also consider machinery like the Daimler Ferret Scout car.

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