Ford Authority

1945 Ford GPW Up For Auction

While many think of, well, something like the Wrangler or a Willys when one mentions the world “Jeep,” the truth is, Ford made its own similar type of vehicle for military use a very long time ago – which served a very important role in World World II. In fact, the Ford GPW shares quite a bit in common in terms of styling with those models, and today, it’s a celebrated collectible that pops up at various online auctions from time to time. Now, that has happened again, as this very nice 1945 Ford GPW is currently up for grabs over at Bring a Trailer.

1945 Ford GPW - Exterior 002 - Rear Three Quarters

This particular 1945 Ford GPW looks just as good as the day it likely rolled into combat, thanks to a refurbishment that was completed by a previous owner, including its military green paint. There are loads of other cool features on the exterior, however, a list that includes military-style graphics, a wire catcher on the front bumper, blackout headlight covers, a frame for a soft top, excess rope, a driver-side mirror, a rear-mounted jerry can, a pintle hitch, plus an ax and a shovel.

1945 Ford GPW - Interior 001

As one would expect, the interior is far more spartan and all-business, with green canvas upholstery and basically nothing else in terms of amenities. However, there are a handful of replica firearms onboard, including an M1919-style machine gun on a pedestal mount, a couple of rifles, and some ammo cans for good measure.

1945 Ford GPW - Engine Bay 001

Pop the hood, and one will find a unique powerplant in the form of the 134 cubic-inch Willys Go-Devil inline-four cylinder engine, which was manufactured by Ford under license from that outfit. Output is unspecified, but certainly isn’t much, given the fact that the speedometer in this Ford GPW tops out at 60 miles-per-hour, but speed wasn’t necessarily an important factor in this vehicle’s original mission. Regardless, this cool piece of military history would make one fine addition to anyone’s collection, for certain.

We’ll have more cool auction finds like this to share soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for 24/7 Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. BobN

    Willys and now Stellantis generally gets all the credit for the “jeep”. In 1940 Bantam delivered the first vehicles that would become the jeep. They were much smaller than Willys in manufacturing capacity. Ford and Willys also bid on the project. The government changed the rules and ended up awarding all three contracts. Bantam’s BRC and Ford’s GP were accepted but the Willys Quad was not accepted as it was too heavy. Eventually Willys was awarded the contract in 1941 (thus the magic advertising year ). Due to lack of capacity Ford was asked to build the Willys version under license and produced nearly half of them. The grill for the jeep was designed by a Ford employee with 9 slots. After the war Willys dropped two of the slots to form the “iconic” 7 slot grill.

  2. Ford Owner

    Henry Ford was not happy with that order (he was not “asked”) although the General in charge of that order was once a Ford employee. And Henry Ford Ii (Henry’s grandson) went to serve in that war, but returned after learning that his father Edsel Ford died. I like to see who gets the credit for the Jeep’s 100th anniversary in 2041. I expect to be alive that year.

  3. Bob

    The prototypes for what was called “The General Purpose Vehicle” had between 10 and 15 rods to make the “grille” which actually made it look like a BBQ “grill”. The approved military vehicle for WW2 of both the Willys MB and Ford GPW both had 9 bars. It was Ford’s suggestion to stamp the front instead of using rods to simplify assembly. For obvious reasons, all units manufactured by both companies had to be identical with interchangeable parts. So the Ford Authority article is incorrect is saying they were similar and all engines were supplied by Willys to Ford. At the end of the war, Ford’s license to manufacture and/or assemble the Willys vehicle was terminated. Since soldiers had nicknamed the general purpose vehicle “geeps” which was catchy, Willys then trademarked the name Jeep for the civilian version along with the 7 bar grille to differentiate it from the military version. Or more likely that the 9 bar grille had been suggested by Ford. 😁. WW II total: 647,925 · incl. early production units – · Willys MB: 359,489 · Ford GPW: 277,896.

  4. Bob

    Engine 134 cu in (2.2 L) Inline 4 Willys L134 “Go Devil” 60 hp (45 kW; 61 PS) gross / 54 hp (40 kW; 55 PS) net

  5. Blackbelt

    The government gave both Willys and Ford all of the engineering drawings for the Bantam BRC. Bantam was the only company that met the original contract demands. They delivered a testable prototype. The military decided that Bantam was too small so they gave all the work that Bantam had done, to Ford and Willys, and gave Bantam a contract to build trailers. There is debate as to who invented the Jeep. It was Bantam with their original BRC.


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