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Willys MA Army Jeep

The Willys Quad impressed the Army during the competition of 1940, but it was overweight and needed other design changes. The result of the redesign was the Willys MA, accepted by the Army to fulfill the 1,500 vehicle contract given to Willys on 14 November 1940. Contracts were also awarded at the same time for 1,500 of the Ford GP and Bantam BRC-40, intended for final field testing of all models before larger contracts would be let.

Willys-Overland MA jeep on the grease rack for maintenance at Ft. Knox, KY, June 1942
Willys-Overland MA jeep on the grease rack for maintenance at Ft. Knox, KY, June 1942.

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Willys-Overland MA Military Jeep

Photo of Willys MA Jeep, 1 July 1941
Photo of Willys MA Jeep, 1 July 1941.

The full story of the development of the original Army Jeep of World War II is on the linked page.

There were 1,553 Willys MA jeeps built and delivered to the Army in 1941, with production beginning 5 June. Of these, fifty were built with four-wheel steering. Few remain since most of the original production were subsequently sent to Russia or England under Lend-Lease. On 23 July 1941, after much controversy and behind the scenes maneuvering by the bidders, the War Department awarded the 1/4-ton truck production contract to Willys-Overland based on their Willys MA design and their low bid of $738.74. The contract came with the stipulation that the weight and other design problems of the Willys MA be corrected, and that other improvements be made based on superior elements of the Bantam and Ford competitors. The result of those changes was the Willys MB (also built by Ford as the GPW), the standard World War II jeep used in all theaters of World War II, all over the world, by the U.S. and its allies.

Additional photos of the Willys MA are found in the Military Jeeps section of the Military Vehicle Charts.

Find additional photos and hi-res versions of the Willys MA at the Olive-Drab Military Mashup:

Willys MA prototype 1/4-ton 4x4 jeep, Holabird Quartermaster Depot, Baltimore, MD, July 1941.
Willys MA prototype jeep and an M2 Halftrack in a demonstration of capability, probably Washington, DC, 1941.
Servicing a Willys MA prototype jeep at a grease rack, Fort Knox, KY, June 1942.
Santa in Willys MA prototype jeep.  Camp Lee, VA, Quartermaster Replacement Center, December 1941.
At the Ford River Rouge plant near Detroit, an assembled motor is being dropped into the chassis of a Ford GP prototype jeep, May 1941. About 4,500 Ford GPs were made before this model was combined with the Willys MA prototype to become the standard WW II jeep, the nearly identical Willys MB or Ford GPW. The original caption calls it a Blitz Buggy.
Willys MA prototype jeep, 1941.

Willys MA Specifications

Engine134ci 4 cal L-head side valve "Go Devil"
Horsepower60bhp @ 4000rpm (Other sources say 62-65 bhp)
Torque105 pound-feet @ 2000 rpm
Transmission3 speed synchromesh Warner Gear T84
Transfer caseSpicer Dana 18 two speed (same as Bantam)
Gear ShiftSteering column mount
AxlesSpicer Dana 4.88:1 23-2 rear, Dana 25 front (same as Bantam)
Wheelbase80 inches
Weight2,450 lbs.

Willys MA serial numbers fall in the range W2018932 ro W2020431.

Find More Information on the Internet

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