Vintage Jeeps: Willys Overland & Jeep Utility Vehicles

Rebirth Of Military Heritage

Rebirth Of Military Heritage
The story of how the Willys MB “won the war” has been told over and over again.

However, the Willys / Jeep foray into military vehicles surely did not stop there. The M38 and M38A1 battled their way through Korea. The M38A1 also saw action in Vietnam. These were joined by troop carriers like the rare M677 Forward Control.

With the advent HMMWV, Jeeps no longer saw much military action. However, the Jeep military prowess has been reborn with the new heavy-duty Jeep J8.

The First Sport Utility Wagon

The First Sport Utility Wagon
While the SUV craze has come and went the Jeep brand lives on. The Jeep brand was in fact the birthplace of the first sport utility wagon.

In 1946 the first Willys Wagon was built. Over 300,000 of these vehicles were manufactured between 1946 and 1965. This vehicle was the first 4-wheel drive wagon and was the predecessor to vehicles like the Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, Liberty, and Commander.

In 1947 the Willys Wagon was joined by the Willys Jeep Truck. This vehicle shared many of the same parts with the Wagon. From 1947 to 1965, more than 200,000 are manufactured.

Many veterans returning from World War II were now sold on the Jeep brand’s reliability and ruggedness. They purchased the Willys Wagon and Trucks to transport their family. We are fortunate enough to own a 1955 Willys Truck that is currently undergoing a full restoration.

The Softer Side

The Softer Side
Contrary to popular belief, the much-maligned Compass, is not the Willys / Jeep brand’s first foray into vehicles meant only for on-highway use. The Willys brand’s first vehicles were in fact cars. By 1914, Willys was actually the number two automaker in America, second only to Ford.

The coupes produced by Willys in the 1930s and early 1940s are now some of the most sought after vehicles by the hot rod community.

World War II brought an end to car production at Willys, but by 1952 another car was rolling off the line at the same time as the rugged CJs, Wagons, and Pickups. This vehicle was the rare Willys Aero compact car. This is a non-utility vehicle that is currently on our wish list.