Please, encyclopedia editors, book authors, and others, stop supplying mis-information. 'GP' DOES NOT stand for General Purpose when talking about jeeps. There are GP (general purpose) tents, but there WERE NOT any 'general purpose' jeeps.
|'GP' really stood for... G= 'Government' P= '80 inch wheelbase'.|
|'G' was used by Ford to differentiate
between vehicles produced for the Government and for civilian use. (A=
Passenger car, B= Bus, C= Commercial vehicle, etc.).
Letters where used at Ford to differentiate between different models with different horsepower ratings, wheelbase measurement, etc. 'P' just happened to land at the "80 inch" spot, which is the wheelbase of a jeep.
I have posted a scan
of the page from the very rare 1941 Ford booklet "Service School for
US Army Instructors on Ford US Army Vehicles (1941)" showing very clearly
that all Ford "G" prefixes stood for "Government" and "P" means "80 inch
wheelbase reconnaissance car". "W" stands for "Willys" since they were
the designers of the original blueprints of the MA, on which the MB / GPW
jeeps were based.
~ courtesy of Ray Cowdery - used with his permission
Enzo Ferrari commenting on the Jeep
Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower
the bulldozer, the jeep, the 2 1/2 ton truck, and the C-47 airplane.
Curiously enough, none of these is designed for combat."
Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower
Warn Winch advertisement showing a Jeep being driven on a canyon floor in the fading afternoon sunlight
posted on willys jeep newsgroup
While the H2/H3 driver yells "Can you pull me out with your Jeep?"
The anti-YJ Wrangler movement
Lots More Jeep History Below:
Today's editors rely on the previous work of other editors. Once the legend was conjured up, and someone put it in print everyone after that keeps quoting the same old incorrect sources. (I think it was Wells in 1946 in his 'Hail to the Jeep' book, but I would have to go dig out my copy to be sure).
The reference I quote (and show a scanned photograph) is from a very rare Ford document. It was not published for the public. It was not published for ‘internal use’ by everyone at the Ford Company. It was from an instruction manual for training army instructors, specifically, the Motor Pool, Driving, and Parts Dept. servicemen. By the way, jeep procurement was the responsibility of the Quartermaster Corps 1940-1942 and then the Ordnance Department 1943-1945. There were very few service instructors needed. The Army trained thousands of men to be pilots and infantrymen... but very few how to fly a blimp, or to instruct others on Ford jeeps. A lot more infantrymen and pilots needed replacing (due to death & injury) than jeep instructors. The manual is titled "Service School for US Army Instructors on Ford US Army Vehicles (1941)". This copy belongs to Ray Cowdery, author of 2 books on the WWII jeeps. Ray Cowdery has been restoring WWII jeeps for many decades. When I first met him in the early 80's, he had already attained jeep guru status.
Well we just saw that GP stands for Government 80 inch Wheelbase Reconnaissance
GPW is Government 80 inch Wheelbase Reconnaissance Car Willys (design).
See very early Ford GPW Jeep cutaway diagram. (How do I know it is very early? By the slatgrill style air cleaner).
1/2 of the Army jeeps produced for the war were Ford GP's & GPW's.
Right on the dashboard - right in the face of the driver & passenger are the Data Plates.
And on that data plate in bold letters is "Make and Model - Ford GP".
Later the GPW's were issued, and they came with glove boxes, again right in the face of driver & passenger and again clearly marked "Model - Ford GPW"
Close up of 1942 Ford GPW Glove Box Data Plates. (Early QMC 3 Data Plates set).
Photograph of 1945 WWII Ford GPW Jeep Dashboard. (Late ORD 4 Data Plate set).
Photograph of WWII GPW Jeep Dash Data Plates from distance.
Every Jeep was issued with manuals.
In 1941, 1942, 1943 there were 2 manuals issued.
The Parts List and the Maintenance Manual. They were published by the respective vehicle manufacturer.
These were stored in a zippered pocket of the lower drivers seat cushion in 1941, and into early 1942. After that they were stored in the glove box (which Ford invented). In big bold letters on the cover of both manuals would be "Part List" or "Maintenance Manual" followed by "Truck, 1/4ton 4x4. Model FORD GPW"
In 1944 & 1945 the Government took over issuing the manuals.
They issued 6 manuals for the WWII jeep.
3 repair manuals tackled different repairs (Engine, Power Train, Body & General Maintenance).
3 parts manuals were also issued. The Ordnance Dept.'s G503 Standard Nomenclature List (SNL G-503 Ord 7, Ord 8, Ord 9).
The Ord 7 Parts List was short and carried with the jeep - it only listed things that would be replaced by a driver i.e. gas cap, light bulb, headlights, wiper blades, etc.
The Ord 8 was issued to motor pools at front line areas. It listed items (read assy's) that could be repaired at the front line units with basic automotive repair tools. For example water pumps and starter motor, but it would not list windings, impeller shafts, etc. as at the front, if the motor went bad, they would drop in a whole new motor rather than try to rebuild it in the weeds.
The last was the Ord 9, it was the Master Parts list that the rear echelon units used (who would rebuild water pumps, engines etc.).
All 6 of the manuals issued (3x Ord parts & the 3 repair maintenance) would again be issued with "Model GPW" (also Willys MB) boldly written on the cover and inside pages.
GI's were issued military drivers licenses, (and you had to be qualified
or ‘rated’ to drive each type or weight class of vehicle), after studying
and completing drivers training course. (I have these manuals as well).
In class, vehicles were referred to by their official terminology, CCKW's,
DUKW's, WC's, GPW's, etc.
Drivers licenses were issued in types, depending on what types of vehicles you were qualified to operate. The ratings were; A= Amphibious, M= Motorcycle, T= Tracked vehicle, and W = Wheeled vehicle. Photograph of World War Two Amphibious, Motorcycle, Tracked vehicle, and Wheeled Vehicle (Jeep and other) Driver qualification badges.
Please take a look at my website’s guest book and message boards. Many vets have written there that during W.W.II, there existed a definite bias on coveting GPW's over MB's. The perceived notion was based on the belief that Ford GPW's were built better than the Willys GPW. (I own both, I don't care for one over the other - I love them both). So it seems the most requested jeep at checkout time from the motor pool was the GPW- they requested it by name!!
So, in a nutshell, before you got behind the wheel of one, you had to
be taught to refer to it in army school jargon ~ a Ford GP.
Based on the scuttlebutt on durability, you asked for the stronger "GP" by name when checking one out from the motor pool.
Then as you drove it around, the "GP" on the data plate on the dashboard stared you in the face for every foot of the miles you drove the Ford GP.
When there was a mechanical problem, you had to go into the glove box for the manuals, where you were again presented its model name "GP" in bold face type.
Upon returning it to the motor pool or bivouac area, you had to fill out the paperwork explaining why the GP was missing it’s side view mirror, or gas cap etc.
Guess who had to fill out the paperwork requisitioning a replacement? Not the Sgt., he's got more stripes than you do. You got to fill out the form, and you had to look up the part # in your GP's Ord 7 or TM, and there you would find that the rear view mirror you broke when you hit that tree branch was listed as part# "GP-17723-A at a cost of .65 cents" Reference ‘TM-10-1348 Change #1 April 10 1942 Ford Parts List’
Yes, early prototypes were called the quad, the pygmy, the peep, but when the production Ford GP's were released with GP stamped right in your face, they soon stopped calling the 1/2 ton dodges 'jeeps'. And the rest is history. The Ford built amphibious jeeps or GPA's were called "Seeps" by the way (see below for more info on them).
When the vehicle is called in writing a GP, and you’re taught that name
in class getting your driver’s license, and there, stamped on the ID Nameplate
on the vehicle itself, is the name, and when you say it’s name, GP, out
loud in a normal cadence, it's a "jeepy".
Yes, Eugene the jeep from Popeye is a cute character, and both he and the vehicle can do just about everything, well WWII Jeeps can do almost anything (WW2 USMC special "Front Line Ambulance" Jeep buried in mud), but if you dig any deeper than the folklore, it's pretty obvious how the 1/4ton War Baby got it’s name. :) How the other things prior to 1940 got to be called jeep I do not know.
Me" Army Jeeps of the AAF
The Army Air Force employed Jeeps painted bright Yellow and/or in a Yellow & Black checkerboard pattern at air bases. (Follow the link above to it's own webpage)
MBT and Bantam T-3 Jeep 1/4-ton Trailers (K38,
Converto Airborne Dump, M-100, & M416 too)
Is it military or civilian? WWII MBT, or Korean War M-100, or Vietnam era M-416? How to locate Jeep Trailer Serial Numbers. (Follow the link above to it's own webpage)
Method of Military Jeep Disposal After World War Two
At the end of the war, were jeeps just abandoned? (Follow the link above to it's own webpage)
Army Surplus Jeep in a Crate for $50?
Can you really get a Military Jeep Brand New in a Crate, packed in grease / cosmoline? Read here for details on the Jeeps in a Crate: the TUPs and SUPs.
What exactly is "Cosmolene"
Read here the details on Jeep parts and other WWII Army Navy Surplus parts packed in Cosmoline.
What was it like buying Army
Surplus and Military Vehicles ~ Looking Back
What was it like buying Army Surplus Vehicles and parts 20-30 years ago? It was better ;-)
Click here for photos & details on what it used to be like at Army / Navy Surplus Stores and Military Vehicle Truck Parts Dealers' Warehouses.
Where can I buy a WW2 Jeep? Do you have a WWII Jeep
Your best bet is looking in the Recycler, Thrifty Nickel, Truck Trader type classified ads.
Even eBay is a good source. Here are 2 links for eBay WWII jeeps for sale. eBay Jeep Search #1 eBay Jeep Search #2
Also, definitely put up a FREE WANT AD on my website Bulletin Boards.
Several vehicles have traded hands over the years this way.
That link is http://wwiijeepparts.com/WWIIJeepForums.html
Make sure you leave your contact info, what years are you looking for, and a price range.
Also, check the ARCHIVES section of my web site. All the ads on the Bulletin Board Forum get archived. Since the Message Boards drop the posts after 60 days, the archives will have all the Jeep For Sale ads that are over 60 days old. They are most often still good ads, since many people do not want to drive farther than 150 miles to look at a jeep.
Also make sure you get your hands on the books 'All American Wonder' Vol. 1 & Vol. 2 by Ray Cowdery. They are the restorer's bible.
They are like an encyclopedia set, you HAVE to get both.
I do not normally have jeeps for sale. I am strictly a parts supplier. The jeeps I have I plan on keeping.
How can I tell a Military Jeep Engine from a Civilian Engine?
The quickest way to tell the difference between a civilian engine block and a military engine block I have found is the water pump boss on the block.
First what are the dimensions of the machined boss ABOVE the water pump? Are there any #'s stamped there?
If it looks like the boss is about 2" across then it is probably a WWII military block. (Many times it has a single letter stamped on it)
WWII Military: flat spot is about
1/2" x 2" across. See #3 in this Photo
of a WWII Military Block.
Civilian: flat spot is about 1/2" x 4" across.
This long flat spot is also where they usually stamped the engine serial
# on civilian motors.
This is the sure fire way to tell it is a WWII block even when #'s are ground off.
Military Engine Blocks: The engine serial number was located
on the top front passenger side of the engine block behind the oil filter
on a machined boss. See previous question Re: Locating Serial Numbers for
Civilian Engine Blocks: The engine serial number was located at the front of the engine block on the water pump boss.
Cast Numbers on engine;
Engine block #638632 is the correct number for a MB engine block.
The assembly date (month, day, and year of production) can be found stamped on the pan surface at rear main bearing cap.
Cylinder head #639660 would be the head number for a MB engine.
It appears that WILLYS in raised letters was added to cylinder heads in mid 1943, and JEEP was added in mid 1944.
At engine # MB288835 the cylinder head bolts/cap screws were changed to studs and nuts.
The Go Devil 134.2 Jeep Engine
The power and torque of the L-Head engine is one of the main reasons why Willys won the contract with the War Department beating out the Bantam BRC40 and the Ford GP. The Willys GO Devil engine out-performed the engines used in the Ford and Bantam prototype jeeps. The L-Head engines uses a cast iron block and cylinder head with 3 main bearings and mechanical lifters. The engine is called an L-Head is because the valves for the intake and exhaust are in the block. (Most engines have the valves in the head). This design gave Willys the advantage of having a relatively lower profile than other engines. Part of the War Dept.'s specifications called for the vehicle to have a low silhouette to avoid detection by the enemy. The "Go Devil" engine earned its fame in the WWII ARMY MB. The L-Head continued to be used by Willys Overland in the post World War Two jeeps: CJ-2A, Willys Wagon, Willys Pickup, CJ-3A, M38, and DJ-3A The MB used a Carter W-O carburetor, while the civilian models used the Carter YF carb. They are very similar to each other. The military engines used a roughly cast crankshaft, (since it's official life expectancy in combat was only 3 months, why expend the extra time, materials, and machining), while post war engines had nicely balanced crankshafts with bolt on counter weights. The performance specifications are slightly different between civilian and military motors presumably due to carburetor, crankshafts, and compression differences between the engines. The L-Head used in 1945-1950 CJ-2A's and the 1949-1950 CJ-3A's are rated the same
The Jeep Drive Train
The MA, MB, and GPW used the L-head 134.2 cubic inch Inline 4 cylinder "Go Devil" engine, T-84 3 Speed manual transmission, Dana 18 two speed transfer case, Dana 25 front axle, and Dana 23-2 rear axle turning 6:00 x 16 tube tires mounted on 16 inch rims. Firing order is the same as the engine size. 1-3-4-2.
What is the shifting pattern for the WWII Jeep? My data plate is missing.
See original transmission, transfercase shift patterns and operating speeds in this photo of WWII Jeep glove box data plates.
The first and most important thing you can do - I mean it - (it will
save you time, and lots of money by not buying the wrong parts) is get
the 2 books "ALL American Wonder Vol. #1 & Vol. #2."
You need both because they are like an encyclopedia - A-M, N-Z, there is no overlap.
Then lock yourself in a room for 5 hours and read them cover-to-cover a couple of times.
When done - you'll know just about as much as I know. It is the restorer’s bible.
The books are available on ebay, amazon.com and many other places at about $23 each.
It’s the best $$ you can spend. When I was starting out 19 years ago I must of spent several $100 buying the wrong stuff - that was before the books came out. LOL
Reading all the pages on Jeep History, and Tools, and the Archives on my web site should help you and keep you busy as well.
Check the “what's new” page on my web site. It hosts a record of every addition and update I make to the web site.
Where to start spending $$? Well keep in mind that everyday trade schools graduate mechanics and bodymen. You can always get your jeep repaired. Getting parts? Well that's another story. The jeep parts are not always going to be available. I say get the parts 1st, repair it later.
Help! Calif. DMV wants me to pay back fees on the jeep I just bought!
"The Jeep I just bought hasn't been registered in Calif. for several years, and DMV wants me to pay 8 years of fees, plus an additional penalty fee."
All car & jeep collectors should read this information regarding DMV fees
A little publicized fact is that in California, car collectors are EXEMPT from having to pay back registration fees and non-op fees. To qualify for a waiver, go to your DMV office and you will need to fill out a 'Statement of Facts' form. On it, state that there was a reason for non-reg/late reg., (ex 1. you were unable to locate parts to restore car/keep the car running, but have now located the parts, ex 2. the previous owner was unable to locate parts to keep it running and you have just purchased the vehicle to restore it ), and you are exempt because you are a car collector. The lower level window clerk might say 'no', but ask for a supervisor. I learned about this in the newsletter from the antique jeep club I belong to. I have used it to save fee's on about 9 occasions with my jeeps & trailers.
This applies to your own jeeps which you are late on, as well as new purchases where the previous owner was delinquent.
Happy Restoring - Brian
SPECIAL LAWS for Titling and Registering your MV!
Several states have granted historical military vehicle owners special privileges regarding titling and registering their MV as both an antique and military vehicle.
Registering your vehicle in Louisiana requires a physical inspection
of the vehicle by a state trooper prior to obtaining title and registration.
Paying a $25 fee for the title and registration. Other pluses; it never
expires: and you only have to pay a $3 fee to transfer it to the new owner
of the vehicle if you sell it.
1. The former military vehicle is used only for exhibitions, club activities, parades, and other functions of public interest and will not be used for regular transportation; andB. Upon each former military vehicle, the annual license fee shall be Twenty Dollars ($20.00). Upon initial registration, the owner shall make application for the flat license fee which application shall include the year of manufacture and a description of the vehicle containing information as
2. The owner of the former military vehicle files with the Oklahoma tax Commission or a motor license agent a sworn affidavit, signed by the owner, stating that the vehicle is a former military vehicle and will be used solely for the purposes listed in paragraph 1 of this subsection.
C. A former military vehicle shall not be required to display a license plate if current proof of registration for the vehicle, in a form prescribed by the Commission, is carried in the vehicle. In addition, the vehicle shall display in a prominent location on the vehicle a registration mark prescribed by the Commission. The Commission shall allow the use of a unique identification mark similar to the mark assigned that vehicle by the branch of the armed forces in which the vehicle was used. If such a mark is not used, the Commission shall designate a registration mark consisting of numbers, letters, or numbers and letters in combination at least two (2) inches in height. To the extent possible, the location and design of the registration mark shall conform to the official military design and markings of the vehicle.
D. A certificate if title shall be issued for a former military vehicle, and the applicable fees for the issuance of a certificate of title as provided pursuant to the Oklahoma Vehicle License and Registration Act shall apply.
E. All penalties pursuant to the Oklahoma Vehicle License and Registration Act relating to the failure to register a vehicle shall apply to this section if the former military vehicle is not properly registered or is used in a manner which violates the provisions of paragraph 1 or 2 of subsection A of this section.
F. As used in this section, "former military vehicle" means a vehicle which has been, but no longer is, used by the armed forces of a national government and which displays markings indicating it was a military vehicle.
It looks like the Oklahoma law was patterned after the Texas law, and
became effective a year or two after the Texas law.
In addition, in Texas, "former military vehicles" are exempt from vehicle
emission testing, and can be exempted from the required liability insurance
laws in the State.
The Texas law became effective September 1, 1995 thanks to owners of Historic Military Vehicles who wrote the law, then found sponsorship in the legislature, and with a few minor changes got the law passed.
Increase rear lighting.
We can sure use better rear tailights. We don’t, and should not have to ruin our factory restored jeeps by throwing away the original blackout lights or drilling into the jeeps metal to bolt on a horrible aftermarket tail, turn signal, or marker light. We can however still make use of the added safety of having bigger, brighter and more lights on our vehicles.
Utilize some ingenuity on your own and using a 2x4 piece of wood, or some PVC sprinkler tubing, or metal plate, or combinations thereof fabricate a separate lighting set up for the rear, or both front & rear of your vehicle. Use modern civilian lights affixed to your assembly. Mount them permanently to your bracket assembly contraption. Have the contraption itself be a temporary thing. Make it so it lays or quickly attaches to the vehicle using wing nuts & bolts, or uses clamps of some type (C clamps, vise grips, etc.).
Some 'light and clamp assemblies' you modify could attach directly to the vehicles bumpettes or tailgate.
For electrical power – quick and fast – make the additional lights get their power from the jeep’s trailer socket. Most MV's have a trailer plug, so use it. Buy a spare WWII trailer socket (or other M-series type that matches your post war MV) and have all the additional lights’ wiring terminate there.
Now when you are traveling you will have bright and safe lighting. When you get to a show take them off and you are back to original WWII factory configuration.
Safety Placards and Triangles
Go To My Jeep Gift Items For Sale web page, and purchase Jeep size Safety Orange Reflector Triangles. They fit perfectly on rear Jerry Cans & Spare Tires, and store in the Rear tool box of your WWII Jeep
- Go to Staples or other office supply store and buy some sheets of fluorescent safety orange paper in heavy card stock. Next either:
- Grab some electrical tape and create the block letters “Max 55 MPH” in electrical tape on the cardstock. or;
- Go home and on the computer, create your sign that says ““Max 55 MPH” and print it on your card stock.
- Using boxing tape, tape it to the rear of your vehicle somewhere (canvas? You don’t want to peel your paint, but your paint shouldn’t peel if it was put on correctly – unless it is new paint)
- Get some metal sheeting.
- Spray paint it fluorescent safety orange.
- Using your leftover stencils from your hood & bumper markings, spray the letters “Max 55 MPH” in black paint.
- These metal placards can be attached to a clamp just as the lights are. These can be clamped to some part of the rear of the vehicle.
1) Make sure I had non-original front locking hubs.This way the only moving parts on the jeep are the front tires, front wheels & hubs, and front wheel bearings. The more moving parts, the more wear & tear.
2) Tie off both transmission AND transfer case cases in Neutral
3) Tie off steering wheel with about 2 inches of play
4) MAKE POSITIVELY SURE WINDSHIELD IS DOWN & latched
5) Back the jeep onto the dolly and tow it backwards.
Locking hubs, while not original, keep the wheel rotation from turning anything else other than the wheel bearings. Without the locking/unlocking hubs, the front axleshafts will turn – more wear & tear – and this in turn causes the front driveshaft and parts inside the transfercase to turn and to churn the gear oil, more heat and wear & tear then needed.
Not tying off the transmission & transfer case levers is needed because they could vibrate or bounce back into gear, resulting in wear, tear, friction, and heat.
Not tying up the steering wheel will allow the vehicle to wander and possible lock up with the wheels maxed out in one corner direction resulting in dragging and scuffing tires horribly.
Windshields should ALWAYS be folded flat when towed any distance. The wind gusts will bend and warp the windshield frame. Even a little bit of bend in the lower windshield arm will result in the top of the windshield frame being moved inches back from where it is designed to be. If your windshield isn’t where the factory spec’s say it should be, your canvas jeep top won’t fit. Be very careful about bending your windshield frame.
If you don’t put the jeep on the dolly backwards, then it is pointless
to install the locking hubs. If you are going to tow it face forwards (on
a dolly), then you really should crawl under jeep and drop the rear driveshaft
AT THE REAR DIFFERENTIAL.
Another way is to remove both rear axles shafts, and cap the openings, so that dirt and water doesn't get inside.
Flat towing the jeep behind a motorhome, is less desirable, locking hubs at the front, and a dropped rear driveshaft (or removed & capped rear axleshafts) are required.
Another area of concern should be damage to paint. Bugs, road debris, rock chips, squashed bottles & cans, and other bits on the roadway all can get kicked up by the towing vehicle and impact on your jeeps paint. Some people wrap the forward facing part of their jeep in a tarp. This idea sounds good, but I see more damage from the wind buffeting the tarp and wearing down the paint like sandpaper scrubbing the paint. Wrap the section of jeep with a soft clean blanket, and then tarping the jeep should help prevent a lot of that if done correctly. The best solution is to make a plywood shield that mounts just in front of the jeep to deflect the bad stuff.
Where can I look up where my military jeep was used in WWII?
One of the most commonly asked questions I get from new WWII Jeep owners is "Where can I look up where my military jeep was stationed though out WWII?"
The answer is: "No, there isn't. Sorry". No records were kept by the military on vehicle movements based on vehicle serial #’s, nor the hood registration #'s. Some military jeeps can be found to have unit #'s still legible under the many layers of paint on the front bumpers or rear bumperettes. A military unit’s history can be traced this way, and it can be inferred that the jeep went along with the unit. One collector / restorer actually found a ship’s USS name stenciled on the windshield, and after contacting the veterans group for that ship, found a few sailors who remember having that jeep lashed down on the deck. One vet even sent a photo of the ship and the jeep can be seen on the deck in the photograph (It’s a 1950's picture though). It’s a 1 in a 10,000 occurrence to find anything relating to the average jeep though.
Although you can't determine where you Jeep was actually used in WWII, many people desire to portray their jeep having been at a certain place or in a certain battle. If you research what Divisions were in what battle, you can use the folowing charts to determine what associated units were attached to that Division. This will help you layout the bumper marking scheme for your restored jeep.
1st Cavalry Division
Where & How do I find Hood Registration Numbers on WW2 Jeeps?
All MB's and GPW's had serial #'s in 2 places - on both Driver & Passenger side of the Hood. On Very Early Production jeeps, the Registration number was also found on the rear body panel, where the gas can goes on later jeeps. When I go looking for Hood Registration #s, I use a propane torch and a small wire brush (toothbrush size). These items are the best I know of to help in locating the Jeep & Trailer Registration (Hood) Numbers because there is usually some grease, rust, dirt, and several layers of old paint to deal with. Hit the area with the torch until the top layer of paint starts to develop paint bubbles. Then scrub with the brush. WARNING: The hot melted paint can flick and land all over you, so wear old clothes and eye protection!! Re-apply the heat and scrub till you remove the civilian paint layers. The Factory OD & White/Blue Drab Numbers are usually very well applied to the paint and with care most if not all of the overcoats of paint on the jeep will flake or peel off revealing most if not all of the Hood Registration Number.
Can you estimate my WWII Army Jeep's Hood Registration Numbers?
Yes, for jeeps where we know what the registration #'s were that were assigned to the contracts we can estimate what it MIGHT be. This link will take you to The WWII Jeep Hood Registration Number Generator that will estimate an approximate Hood Registration Number for most World War Two Jeeps including the Willys MA, Willys MB, Ford GP, Ford GPW, Bantam BRC-40 model jeeps.
Gasoline Soluble Paint used for Hood Registration Numbers, and other vehicle markings
We’ve had a lot of trouble with gasoline-soluble paint, used to paint the large service command insignia on administrative vehicles and the national symbol on tactical vehicles. The nomenclature is Paint, gasoline-soluble, lusterless (paste), white; Fed. Stock No. 52-P-2732. This problem came to a head at our last inspection by the CG, who was able to wipe the things off by hand. We’ve also found that rain causes them to run and wash away or fade.
How can we prevent this?
Lt. R. W. G.
It’s now okay to use Enamel, synthetic, stenciling, lusterless, white (Fed. Stock No. 52-E-8400-275) for the star on all motor vehicles assigned to tactical units and AGF installations, and on administrative vehicles in theaters of operations as directed by the theater commander. Says so in AR 850-5 (15 Feb. 45).
This white enamel should also be used for registration numbers. If yours are still blue, AR 850-5 says repaint ‘em by 15 Aug. 45.
For any other national symbol, as directed by the Commanding General, ASF, for vehicles assigned to service command installations, gasoline-soluble paint will still be used. Likewise for unit identification markings, tactical markings, and weight-class markings - which ain’t necessarily permanent.
from Army Motors, Vol. 6, No. 5, August 1945
WWII Jeep Paint - There's more than one Olive Drab Paint color
The original color paint used on WWII Jeeps was an Olive-Drab (OD) Green. Lusterless Olive Drab paint had an average life span of 18 months. It was to be repainted after this time with another coat of OD.
One thing to note is that WW II Navy jeeps were hardly ever, IF EVER, seen painted navy gray in WW II. An admiral painted one, and that is about it. The basic navy jeep of WW II was the same Olive Drab (OD) green as the army jeeps. More about this later.
Many people have been told, wrongly, that there is an ‘Early WWII’, and a different, ‘Late WWII’ OD paint color. Most often the incorrect info is the early war vehicles should be a lighter OD (more olive in color) paint, while a darker OD (more green in color) should be on late war vehicles. This early and late war color difference holds true for canvas web gear that the GI’s carried, but does not hold true for paint jobs from the factory in WWII. The QMC (Quartermaster Corps) and the ORD (Ordnance Dept.) were in charge of setting up the specifications for the paint & color, and seeing to it that the manufacturers of the paint and the vehicles met those specs.
This section is specifically about production paint on vehicles that were produced and delivered to the US Military in WWII.
Willys and Ford both used the same color OD paint, #319, throughout the entire production from 1941 to 1945. Documentation in the National Archives, Willys Motors, GMC, White, Mack and Ford data and QMC/ORD publications proves that only one color was used in production. “Lusterless Olive Drab” was the color used on WWII production vehicles; Jeeps, Dodges, Chevy’s, GMCs, Halftracks, Armored Cars, Tanks, etc.
QMC spec 1-173, ES-474b or ORD ES-680
In WWII, the QMC/ORD laid out the exact way to use the Lusterless Olive Drab paint and this included the proper thinner, primer and metal prep. Government specifications were very strict. QMC and ORD Inspectors would not accept paint that was not within the specifications that were set down by the agency. This is fact and research into the QMC files will prove this out. The QMC had a very specific set of specifications on not just the paint composition, but on the whole painting procedure as well. ES-474, 474a, 474b and the later ES - 680 were the painting specifications, and they included the paint, primer, thinner, metal prep and application of the paint on production vehicles and on the use of Lusterless Olive Drab. In fact, the thickness of paint, (and not the number of coats), is also spelled out in the QMC specs. The thickness specifications were the same all throughout production.
There are very rigid paint mixing and application standards in automotive production painting. A color pigment specialist was a very high paying job years ago. Many people don’t know how large quantities of paint are mixed. In factory work, paint is mixed 300 to 500 pounds (or more) of color at one time. Paints are mixed to a weight formula that is very exact. By using the formulas, you can actually be colorblind and still mix the pigments to the exact color every time. There are pages and pages of documents and formulas for paint in the Ford Motor Company Archives. The paint formulas did go through some changes, but the color was still the same.
Ford, Willys, et al, all used a very controlled environment in their
WWII Lusterless Olive Drab MUST be used with the proper rust-inhibiting primer. This was spelled out in the QMC specs. Think Red Oxide Primer.
Metal prep specs. were changed during the war however. This was because some parts and vehicles, although well painted, had rust underneath the paint, due to water being absorbed through the porous paint and reaching the metal underneath. This rusting is usually due to improper metal prep before painting the item.
Re: Spare Parts
Replacement / Spare parts sometimes had different painting specifications depending on their intended use. While there is a variation in finishes in spare parts (replacement parts to be exact) most variations are not so different as to be called another color.
Things to Consider
I have NOT said, "All OD is Lusterless Olive Drab OD".
I have said that ‘Lusterless Olive Drab’ paint and ‘Lusterless Olive Drab #319’ paint were the same color.
I have also stated that only one color of paint was used in WWII in QMC/ORD tactical vehicle production. I am talking about military vehicles. Paint specifications for items of a non-tactical nature are not the same as paint specifications for items that are tactical.
There were other Olive Drab paint colors used.
There was a full gloss OD that was used for non-tactical vehicles.
The lanterns, ammo cans, etc may have been painted with Olive Drab #108, which is a ‘gloss’ paint. A lantern or ammo can is not a vehicle, and is not an item that has to be a camouflage color.
WWII Paint vs. Today's Paint
Contrary to what several paint vendors state, it is incorrect to talk about 'early' and 'late' WWII OD Green. There was no such thing as "early” or "late" WWII OD paint. All World War Two jeeps (and other WW2 vehicles) used by the US Army were all painted 'Lusterless Olive Drab' Synthetic Enamel. There was ONLY one WW2 'Lusterless Olive Drab' color used in production for jeeps and tactical vehicles. There was NO "light" or "dark", nor "early" or "late" Olive Drab color in WWII vehicle production. 'Lusterless Olive Drab' & "Lusterless Olive Drab, #319" were the exact same color. So if #319 in WWII was the same color as WWII Lusterless Olive Drab, can the same still be said today? NO! The #319 that is for sale today is NOT the correct color for the actual WWII Lusterless Olive Drab #319 green synthetic enamel paint. The color is too light, and not as dark green as the original Lusterless Olive Drab color. I have seen actual cans of original WWII dated Lusterless Olive Drab #319 green paint. None of the paint offered by any of the current paint vendors is a correct match for this paint. This is why, when you find NOS parts that are still in their original WWII OD paint, they do not match the brand new paint that you just bought and are using to paint your jeep. This is also why when you look at color WWII photographs and WWII film that show vehicles, they all look much darker and "greener" than the paint that is now available.
Olive Drab paint is still available on the web and from dealers; however,
there is currently no commercially available paint that is 100% the correct
color for WWII Lusterless Olive Drab.
Some paint vendors will also tell you that Olive Drab #34087 is the same as WWII Lusterless Olive Drab, but this too is incorrect. #34087 is a post-war color paint and although close, it is not the same color as the WWII #319 paint. Even so, 99% of WWII Jeep restorers paint their jeeps a #34087 Lusterless Olive Drab (Semi Gloss), because; it is pretty close to WWII #319; and because it is more water & stain repellent than #24087 Flat OD.
The Paint Colors used on standard WWII Army JeepsNAVY Vehicles
- Blue Drab : The Hood #'s were originally painted on at the factories in a Blue Drab. Blue Drab looks whitish in B&W photos.
- Flat White :
- Front & Rear unit markings on Front Bumper and Rear Bumperettes;
- Stars - Hood, Front Bumper, Left and Right rear 1/4 panel, and Rear panel on early jeeps without a Gas Can Rack.
- With exceptions being;
- a short period from the end of 1941 to the first months of 1942 when White star with Blue or Red Ball in center was in use.
- Also, a yellow star was authorized early in 1942.
- Also, sometimes the "Gas / Blister Agent Detecting paint was applied to the Star on the hood.
- Flat white paint was also used in the field for hood numbers on jeeps;
- 1) If the jeep was rebuilt overseas, with a different or new replacement hood being put on.
- 2) If all hood markings had been covered over with OD paint to better camouflage the jeep for some covert mission. Once the mission was completed, the hood #'s were painted back on the hood in flat white.
- 3) Vehicles transferred to and from other branches of the service. (USA -->> USMC).
- 4) Stolen vehicles. A new or fictitious number would be painted on the newly 'acquired' vehicle.
- Olive Drab : Jeep Body, Body Parts, Frame, Wheels, Mechanical Components, Willys MB Jeep Engine (Ford GPW Engines were Gray)
- Olive Drab OR Black, Glossy : Air Cleaner Crossover Tube, Carb Elbow, Radiator, Radiator Hose Tubes, Radiator Fan Blades, Oil Dipstick & Oil Filler Tube, Oil Filter Mounting Bracket, Coil
- Black, Glossy : Air Cleaner, Oil Filter Housing & Rings, Generator & Starter, Horn, Distributor Housing,
- Black Wrinkle (also called 'Japan' finish) : Voltage Regulator
- Gray, Semi-Gloss : Ford GPW Engine (Willys MB Engines were OD)
- Unpainted : Fuel Filter (or OD), Carburetor, Fuel Pump
No Navy jeeps were delivered painted Gray. All Navy GPW's were delivered in Lusterless Olive Drab. MB's were delivered in Lusterless Olive Drab and also in USMC "Forest Green". Gray painted Navy jeeps occasionally were repainted that color in the field by individuals in the Navy.
There were a few vehicles (Jeeps are not included on the list) that were delivered in Gray. One example is the Ford GTB bomb trucks. One Navy contract was delivered painted "Ocean Gray". Also, Navy Ford station wagons were delivered painted Black.
What color did the Navy paint vehicles in combat areas? Forest Green, Olive Drab or camouflage.
Did the Marine Corps paint their vehicles Marine Corps Green or Olive Drab?
USMC vehicles were painted Forest Green.
All Ford GPW Jeeps diverted to the Marines were delivered in Lusterless Olive Drab.
Willys MB Jeeps produced under contract were painted either Lusterless Olive Drab with a fog coat of Forest Green, or delivered in Forest Green.
This was a Lusterless (meaning flat) green.
USMC jeeps on Iwo Jima, and other places in WWII were painted a camouflage scheme. They were painted that way in the field and were not delivered painted that way.
In 1942 Canada acquired it's first jeeps from Willys. These Willys 'MB' Jeeps were made to specific Canadian contracts and varied from the US Army Jeeps and US Marine Corps Jeeps. They were unique vehicles. These Canadian MB's were not painted US olive drab, but a darker, browner 'Khaki No.3'. Canada later purchased both the standard model Willys MB and the standard model Ford GPW. Both came in the standard American Olive Drab color, a color that Canada adopted for all Canadian military vehicles in mid 1944. For more on WWII Canadian Jeeps.
What is a "Script Body Tub"?
The early production jeeps (and other vehicles) carried the manufactures name in embossed letters on the back body panel. “WILLYS” in block letters and “FORD” in script letters. About ½ way through 1942, the U.S. Government decided to stop advertising vehicle brand names on ‘their’ military hardware. They told all the manufacturers to stop. The script is found on the lower left side of the rear body panel just below where the jerry can / gas can rack is found on the mid 1942-1945 jeeps. Photo of an early Willys Script WWII Jeep rear panel (1942 MB). These Very Early jeeps are most commonly found in the USA today, especially on the west coast. They were the first jeeps issued and they were rushed to training centers immediately. Training centers such as Patton’s Desert Training Center in Ariz. and Calif. When troops were deployed overseas, they left the old used ‘script’ jeeps behind and were issued fresh new jeeps to go to war with. This is why 1943, 1944, 1945 jeeps are more plentiful in Europe. Photo of early Ford Script WWII Jeep (1942 GPW). Recently I received an email from a gentleman in England questioning if the invention of the jerry can & mounting bracket was the real cause of the demise of the script name on the script jeeps. I appreciate the dialog and feedback from him & others. It allows me to fill in information on the web site and make improvements to it. This letter alludes to a magazine story about the surprised allies finding out a mystery device the Germans had which was discovered to be a 5 gallon gas can. The letter:
Dear Sir,Well the reason I didn't mention the discovery' and mounting of jerry cans above is because for the most part it's not true. The 'jerry can story' was often repeated, but is now pretty much dismissed as false folklore re: jerry cans. Gas cans were known about in 1939, and the German cans were manufactured in a completely different way than the US produced cans. German cans are a 2 pc clamshell style, while the US used a 3 pc assembly with a Top, a Bottom, and a Side section. I talk more about Gas cans on the The WWII MB/GPW Jeep Spare Parts Kit, Tools Kit, Standard Issue Equipment & Accessories, Special Issue Equipment & Accessories Web Page. The problem with attributing the demise of Script logos to gas cans is two-fold; #1) Logos could be moved, and #2) It fails to address other size vehicles.
As owner of a late '42 GPW, may I make the following observation?
Your piece on 'script Jeeps' misses one important factor. You say that the Government decided to stop advertising etc., during mid 1942. The prime reason for this was, in fact, the 'discovery' of the jerrycan in the north African desert, as the Allies pushed the Axis forces back for the first time. With such an efficient fuel container now being copied by the British and the US, it was natural to fill the otherwise empty space on the back of the jeep with spare fuel. At that point the manufacturers ceased stamping their names on the back because they could no longer be seen.
The key features were:The set back and the fact the triangle was upside down was important because it allowed any one at foot level the see the lights clearly. However, anyone flying over and trying to spot the vehicles or get their bearing from automobile lights on the road were unable to see them because the angle would not allow it. The higher the angle, the less of the triangle was visible because of the overhang. Low output bulbs limited the distance the lights could be seen. The next key was the spacing of the triangles. The front marker light had 2 triangles. The rear stoplight had 2 pairs of triangles.
1) The upside down triangles,
2) The fact that the triangles were set back from the front face of the light's lens,
3) The spacing of the triangles in relation to each other.
Photograph of Standard WWII Black Out Tail Lights - Right Hand.
Configured like this: Y Y Y Y
This means you would see 2 red lights per taillight. This allowed you enough stopping distance, and kept you from getting left behind as well. As the driver, you were to also watch your rear view mirror and keep an eye on the guy behind you. His front marker lights to be exact. Those 2 triangles should merge into 1 if he was following you at the correct distance. If you could make out individual triangles, then he was following too closely and you should tap your brake lights to get his attention. If the lights faded and couldn’t be seen, then you might be driving to fast, or there could be a problem that would require halting the column.
From this (too close - under 60 feet): Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 8 points of light is too many To this (correct distance - 60 - 180 ft): V V V V 4 points of light is correct To this (too far back - over 180 feet): V V 2 points of light is too few Left Blackout Tail Light Right Blackout Tail Light
The Universal Rifle Racks were also issued with zippered canvas covers
to jeeps and other vehicles used farther back from the front lines. The
canvas cover served to protect the gun from dust & rain. Photograph
of WWII Ford GPW Jeep with empty Rifle Rack mounted to inside of windshield
frame. The first mention of the Universal Rifle rack appears in October
1942 in Army Motors Vol. 3, pg. 205. Jeeps produced prior (and most likely
for a time after) would not have the Universal Rifle Rack. The early jeeps
were able to use the leather scabbards that were available for the different
weapons. Field Modification kits were issued to add a Universal Rifle Rack
to a jeep that originally came without one from the factory. Univ. Rifle
Racks evolved over time. The earliest Rifle Racks (version 1) did not have
the swivel loop for the Grease Gun, nor did they have the metal reinforcement
straps stapled to the bracket to hold the canvas cover on. The metal swivel
loop for the grease gun barrel (version 2) appears to have been added rather
quickly as very few of the Univ. Rifle Racks come without it. The next
change was adding the zippered canvas cover (version 3) which was held
in place by two long strips of metal that were placed on top of the canvas
along the backbone of the Univ. Rifle Rack and stapled through all 3 layers.
There was also a Field Mod kit for the canvas cover. You can tell
a field mod canvas cover from a factory canvas cover by whether the metal
strips are held in place by staples (factory) or by 2 small sheet metal
screws (field modification) on each strip. I have examples of all types
in my collection.
My best estimate re: time frames.
|prior to late 1942 -||- Leather scabbards only|
|4th Quarter 1942 -||Version 1||- no swivel, no canvas cover|
|2nd Quarter 1943 -||Version 2||- swivel, no canvas cover|
|4th Quarter 1944 -||Version 3||- swivel, canvas cover|
Re: Winterization Kits
Winter canvas grill covers, and hood blankets were produced late in the war in limited quantities. Small kerosene, gas stove heaters were also produced in very limited quantity. Full canvas Top enclosure assemblies were produced in much larger quantity than the other Winterizing kits, and even they were in short supply. Here is a photograph of a full canvas winter enclosure on a 1941 Willys Slatgrill jeep. Hard tops were made in the field from whatever materials were at hand. The war produced all sorts of interesting scrap materials to build jeep tops from, including tops made of wood, steel, aircraft aluminum, and even clear plastic airplane bubble canopies. Here is a photograph of a field made WWII Jeep Hard Top. All hard tops were for the most part one-of-a-kind. There was probably an instance or two of some field unit constructing a dozen similar units, but I don’t have any writen records, instructions, or diagrams, just a few photos showing a few hard tops of similar design & construction.
Re: Canvas Tops and Doors
From the very first design on paper of what was to become known as a jeep, they have always had a canvas top. The tops for the prototype Jeeps, The Bantam BRC 40, Willys MA, and Ford GP (from 1940 to 1941) were supported by only one upright bow at the rear. The flapping of the top caused by the wind when driving was beating on the driver’s heads. It proved to be unbearable, so they fixed that problem on the standard production Ford GPW and Willys MB jeeps (late 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945). The standard production MB/GPW jeeps came with 2 top bows. The 2nd support bow was added to the main rear bow on a pivot a few inches up from the bottom of the main rear top bow tube. The pivot allowed the bow to pivot forward to support the top right behind the driver seat, or to fold flat for storage when the top was not in use. And after MB # 3000 they raised the height of the windshield as well. Photograph of WWII jeep with canvas top up. Canvas top were originally stenciled with information on them, but they are seldom seen today since most original canvas tops have ripped, torn, faded, shrunk over the years and been thrown away. Even the stenciling itself can fade away or be hidden by dirt and stains. Here is a picture of a typical stencil markings on a canvas jeep top. Army Jeeps also came with canvas 1/2 doors. They attached with 7 complex snaps to the side of the body. These snaps are not the kind of snaps seen today. Both the snaps and the ½ doors were next to useless, and that is why you almost never see them in pictures. Photograph of WWII Jeep 1/2 Doors in use on 1942 Ford GPW.
Re: Windshield Covers
The Windshield Cover is another item that is seldom seen today. The army and marines infrequently used them in combat as well, although you can find several late war photos from the ETO showing them in use. Many times they were utilized as an extra storage place for personal belongings. The windshield cover consisted of 2 long pieces of OD canvas sewn together at the top and both sides. The bottom was left open to allow the windshield to slide into it, and then the bottom was closed with snaps. At the top, there were cutouts to allow the loops screwed to the top of the windshield to come through so the windshield could to be folded down and secured with the hood clamps. Occasionally a star was stenciled to the windshield cover since it covered the star painted on the hood when folded down. The purpose of the windshield was to protect the glass from falling debris, and to stop the glass from acting like a mirror and reflecting sun/moon/star light to enemy observers thereby giving away your position. Here is a photograph of a WW2 jeep with the windshield cover and 1/2 doors in place.
WWII Willys Canadian Scout Car Jeep - The "W-LU 440-M-PERS-1"
In 1942 Canada acquired it's first jeeps from Willys. 5,000 custom made World War Two Willys Scout Car (MB Jeeps) made & modified in the US to Canadian specs. The Canadian model name for this jeep is W-LU 440-M-PERS-1 (Willys Light Utility Military 4 wheels, 4 wheel drive, 80 inch wheelbase, Personnel, 1st Model).
These Willys 'MB' Jeeps were made to specific Canadian contracts and varied from the US Army Jeeps and US Marine Corps Jeeps. They were unique vehicles. These Canadian MB's were not painted US olive drab, but a darker, browner 'Khaki No.3'. Canada later purchased both the standard model Willys MB and the standard model Ford GPW. Both came in the standard American Olive Drab color, a color that Canada adopted for all Canadian military vehicles in mid 1944.
WWII Russian GAZ Jeeps
Russia copies and modifies the early prototype American Jeep designs and creates its own version. (Follow the link above to it's own webpage)
'Jeep-like' war vehicles - The Kuebelwagen and the Schwimmwagen
Germany builds it's own amphibious 'GPA-like' and it's own general purpose 'Jeep-like' vehicles for World War Two. (Follow the link above to it's own webpage)
WW2 Wartime Civilian or AGRI-Jeeps
A very few test Civilian / Agrijeep Jeeps were made during WW2 - Experimental CJ-2 Photo (not a CJ-2a)
Jeepney of the Philippines
After World War Two, the US Military had many extra jeeps for sale. Many of the Army Surplus WWII Jeeps were sold and then heavily modified in the Philippines. Most commonly used as Taxi Cabs. (Follow the link above to it's own webpage)
WWII MB/GPW JEEPS & HOLLYWOOD
Here is a list of movies and TV shows that Military Jeeps can be seen in. There are also links to several web sites dedicated to Hollywood productions, in some the jeep was a star, in others it only had a supporting role. All are fun to browse through.
Archives & Photo Libraries
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