History and Recovery
Ford GPW was built in late April/early May 1943, and was stamped with
the date of delivery of May 6th, 1943. It has the chassis number of
GPW109375, putting it in contract F-4. Since the GPW was imported from
the USA in an untouched, unrestored state, it is most likely that it
served on the US mainland during World War 2.
The vehicle was imported from Texas to the UK, late in 2011. It appears to have been left pretty much as it was when it died, I believe after being used as a farm hack. This is based on the brackets welded to the front bumper for dragging some piece of farm equipment around. Apart from the post war wheels and lack of seats, the vehicle was fairly intact, with many original 'f' marked fittings.
|The engine bay was
fairly complete, though at some point, either in service or post war, it
was fitted with a 12 volt alternator rather than a generator/dynamo. The
engine had been rebuilt at some point, possibly due to the reputation of
the Ford blocks to crack. During the engine strip down, it was found to
have oversized pistons fitted, one of which was fitted backwards.
While it still has a Ford cylinder head, the block is a Willys unit, but not of wartime origin, but actually pre-war. This is based on the casting number and the serial number of 39-1722 stamped into the location where the usual six digit MB or GPW number is. I am guessing that 39- means the block is from 1939.
There are many Ford marked parts within the engine bay, ranging from the radiator and fuel filter to the dipstick!
The original glove box data plates were severely corroded, but the stamped numbers could still be seen and matched the plates to the numbers stamped on the chassis.
|During its life
after the war, rotting of the body set in, resulting in many tub
repairs. All round the sides of the tub, the bottom three inches had
rotted away and steel plate welded over, inside and out. The front floor
had rotted out and a 1/8 steel plate welded over the top of the rotten
material. A hump was built up from flat sheet to enclose the
The rear floor had received the same 1/8 steel sheet treatment, and in the process was welded to the chassis in places. Both rear wheel arches appear to have been cut out, I'm guessing for larger seats to give more leg room.
The fuel tank must have also rotted at some point, along with the tank well. A very heavy box tank replaced it, possibly made from the same 1/8 steel sheet as the floor.
On January 25th 2012, I set off for Birmingham with an empty flat bed, while the importer of the GPW headed North to Birmingham from Dartmouth. The trip for both of us was several hours, and yet we both arrived at the services within a couple of minutes of each other. Payment was made and the Jeep rolled off one flat bed trailer and onto mine. By the time the return trip was made and I got home, it was dark, so the Jeep was left on the trailer attached to the tow car until the following day.
|The next day, there was much shuffling around of Jeeps and trailers for several hours. This was to get the Ford unloaded, the flat bed trailer re-assembled to the box it usually carries, and photos with both Jeeps together, before both Jeeps and the Jeep trailer were pushed back into the garage. There was just enough room to walk between the two Jeeps while garaged.|