John North Willys was the founder of the Willys-Overland Corporation,
the company that would eventually develop the WWII jeep.

The Overland company was near bankruptcy in 1907, but by 1918 this salesman
surpeme had turned Willys-Overland around, and they garnered the second
highest sales in the United States.

B/W WWII Jeep The Army set forth a list of requirments for a military vehicle and solicited
manufacturers to produce a prototype that met these requirements. Willys and
Ford, following an extensive road test, both on the highway and off road, were
awarded the contract to produce the vehicles for the Army. Willys, however,
had to modify its design to meet the Army's spec's for vehicle weight, needing
to pare off 263 pounds, off of an already bare-bones vehicle. And, they had to
do this with no sacrifice of either the strength or power. An engineer, Delmar B.
"Barney" Roos, had worked on the Jeep project and with his patience, determination,
and resourcefullness, disassembled the vehicle. Every bolt, every bracket was analyzed.
Surplus material was cut away wherever possible. Studs, screws, even cotter pins were
shortened. The sizes of clamps, nuts, and washers were reduced. The heavy carbon steel
frame was replaced by one made of lighter alloy. Lighter steel was employed for the
body and fenders.

Finally, the task came down to weighing the paint. It was determined that one coat
would have to suffice, for a second would have meant exceeding the weight limit.
The final product did meet the Army's specified figure--2160 pounds--with just several
ounces to spare.

By October 1941, it was apparent that the jeep's versatility and usefulness would far
exceed the Amry's orginal expectations. A second source was sought, partly to increase
the supply, but apparently also largely to insure against the possiblity of sabotage at
the Willys plant. Quartermaster General E.B. Gregory sought out Edsel Ford with the
unprecedented request that his company manufacture jeeps according to the Willys design-- including the Barney Roos "Go-Devil" engine. All parts, Edsel was told, were to be interchangeable between the Willys vehicles and their Ford-built clones.
Incidently, despite its similarity to the Willys MB, the Ford-built GPW is readily distinguished by its inverted U-shaped front frame cross member.
The Willys version uses a tubular brace.

Coming soon....more details on the history as related to serial /vin numbers, grills, and book list of references that I used to rebuild my jeep and track it's history!