The WWII Jeep Hood Number Estimator / Generator
for estimating and generating WW2 Registration Numbers
found on Willys & Ford MB/GPW, MA, GP, BRC Jeeps
What are WWII Army Jeep Hood Registration Numbers?
WWII Military jeeps had Registration Numbers also commonly called hood numbers assigned to them. On Military Vehicles these numbers took the place of and performed the same function as license plates do on civilian vehicles. They are a unique identifier of the vehicles owned by the various US Military branches. How were these numbers assigned? Hood Registration Numbers were assigned by the U.S. military accounting/procurement dept. The military got an authorization to purchase a specific number of jeeps, say 40,000 jeeps for example, so in the contract the military assigned a block of 40,000 numbers to the vehicles produced under that contract. Willys or Ford was then given the contract, and the jeeps were stenciled with a hood number as they rolled out the door at the end of the assembly line at the factory. So it was all specified in the contract that they would have an assigned block of numbers, but there isn't a perfect correlation between the hood number & the serial number because the numbers did not go hand-in-hand. For example the jeeps might have been parked left to right in numerical order, but the men doing the hood registration number painting might have painted jeeps from the front jeep to the jeep behind it progressing till they reached the last jeep in a column, then they would move to the next row and start painting towards the front. This would have an end result of numbers being assigned randomly, but it close proximity to their serial numbers. This allows for estimations of a jeeps hood number and vice versa for a jeeps serial number when one is known. It's close, but not exact. The only thing for sure is that all Army Jeep hood numbers start with a "20" followed by 6 digits. The "20" indicates it's weight/model classification as a quarter-ton jeep (G-503 1/4ton Reconnaissance Vehicle). The USN (and USMC through the US Navy Dept.) purchased jeeps under their own US Navy contracts. These US Navy contracts did not follow the same "20" + 6 digit (8 digits total) hood numbering system that the US Army used on their Jeeps.
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.
Yes, for jeeps where we know what the registration #'s were that were assigned to the contracts we can estimate what it MIGHT be. Below is a Hood Number Generator that will estimate an appropriate Hood Registration Number for most World War Two Jeeps including the Willys MA, Willys MB, Ford GP, Ford GPW, Bantam BRC-40 model jeeps.
I started working on a generator about 6 years ago, but never got it completed to my satisfaction. In the meantime, my friend Terry at Classic Military Automotive made one of his own that works nicely, so above is Terrys until I get back to working on my own.
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