The U.S. Army had commissioned the creation of the Jeep. Willys won the contract, but Ford was a close second. The Army soon decided it would need a lot more than Willys could deliver, so it awarded contracts to Ford as well. Starting in 1942, Ford made Jeeps for the Army along with Willys. They were not allowed to put their name on the vehicles during the war.
Willys Jeeps were labeled Model MB, while Ford Jeeps were labeled Model. The Bantam Company actually beat out Ford and Willys for the original contract, but was unable to deliver the Jeeps, leaving the Army to turn first to Willys and then to Ford.
As the Army had instructed, the companies cooperated and the parts were interchangeable after some initial wrangling over various issues. Early on, the Ford grille was smaller and had a slightly different design, but by the end of 1942 the vehicles were the same. Ford had its name on the vehicles it made through July of 1942.
Specifications for the two companies were exactly the same. The Jeep was an open vehicle but had a canvas top that could be used when needed.
The engine was a four-cylinder in-line L-Flathead with 134.2 cubic inches. It had a compression ratio of 6.38 to 1. The vehicle had 54 horsepower at 4,000 rpm. The transmission was a three-speed manual, with Ford and Willys using a synchromesh Warner T-84J model with a floor-mounted shifter. The transfer case was a Spicer 18, two-speed. The Jeep had hydraulic disc brakes.
The Jeep had 6-by-16-inch tires. About 10 percent of the vehicles had all-wheel drive, according to Army specs. A six-volt battery was used to start the Jeep.
The Jeep was 132.25-inches long, 62-inches wide and 52-inches tall with the top down. The Jeep had an 80-inch wheelbase and a 30-foot turning circle area. Ground clearance was 8.75 inches, and the fording depth was 21 inches.
The Jeep had a windshield that could be folded down. Doors were also optional on the vehicles. The Jeep had three bucket seats and mounting for a machine gun. Early on, some windshields had rifle mounts, but later models did not.
The Jeep had a speedometer that went to 60 mph. It had a fuel gauge as well as water and oil temperature gauges.
There were 277,878 Jeeps produced in 1942 alone, but it is impossible to say how many were Fords or even a combination of Ford and Willys.
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