Ford GP Army Jeep

The Ford GP Army jeep originated many of the design features that became part of the standard World War II Army jeep. As one of the largest manufacturers of motor vehicles in the U.S., Ford was eager to play a major role in production of the Army's new jeep vehicle. The full story of the development of the original Army Jeep of World War II is on the linked page.

Ford GP in the infrared paint booth after assembly, Ford River Rouge plant, May 1941
Ford GP in the infrared paint booth after assembly, Ford River Rouge plant, May 1941.

Today in WW II: 25 May 1940 Boulogne, France is captured by the Germans.  More 
25 May 1941 King George of Greece abandons Crete, relocating to Cairo in a narrow escape from German forces.
25 May 1942 Japanese attack force leaves Hokkaido for invasion of the Aleutians Islands, Alaska.
25 May 1945 Chiefs of Staff of US military set 1 November 1945 as start date for invasion of Japan [Operation Downfall]. The huge casualties of Downfall avoided by use of Atomic Bombs in Aug 1945.
Visit the Olive-Drab.com World War II Timeline for day-by-day events 1939-1945! See also WW2 Books.

Ford GP Prototype Jeep

Ford GP production at the Ford River Rouge plant, May 1941.   After the motor has been placed in the chassis and its connections made, the body is lowered into plane.
Ford GP production at the Ford River Rouge plant, May 1941. After the motor has been placed in the chassis and its connections made, the body is lowered into plane.

Ford's pilot jeep, the Ford Pygmy, was overweight, underpowered and had other deficiencies compared to the Bantam and Willys Quad competitors. After Army testing, Ford was approved for a 1,500 unit contract, subject to changes and improvements. Ford's redesign of the Pygmy created the Ford GP.

The Ford Model number was "GP" reflecting established Ford production coding: G for government, and P for the 80-inch-wheelbase of the vehicle. GP did not mean "General Purpose" as is sometimes claimed.

The Ford GP retained the desirable features of the Ford Pygmy pilot model, with further improvements based on Army testing and what was learned from the Willys and Bantam pilots. Ford went into production for the GP in February 1941 and, after contract extensions, completed most deliveries of about 4,500 Ford GPs by November 1941. Fifty Ford GPs were ordered with four wheel steering, an experiment that was cancelled by the Army. Most of the Ford GPs were eventually sent to England, Russia and other Allies under Lend-Lease.

The Ford GP remained underpowered and its gearbox was not optimum for the required performance. The Willys MA was eventually chosen as the basis for the mass production World War II jeep, but many features of the Ford GP found their way into the final design of the Willys MB.

Additional photos of the Ford GP are found in the Military Jeeps section of the Military Vehicle Charts.

Find additional photos and hi-res versions of the Ford GP at the Olive-Drab Military Mashup.

Ford GP Specifications

Engine 119.5 CID, 4 cal, side valve 46 bhp @ 3,600rpm (Fordson Model N tractor engine)
Torque 84 lbs-ft @ 1,500 rpm
Transmission 3 speed Model A
Transfer case Spicer 2 speed (same as Bantam)
Gear Shift Floor mounted
Axles Spicer Dana 4.88:1 23-2 rear, Dana 25 front (same as Bantam)
Wheelbase 80 inches
Weight 2,160 lbs.

Recommended Books With More About the Ford GP

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