20 WWII Jeep Facts You Should Know!



Originally 1,300 pounds, the vehicles proved to be too light. The weight was later revised to 2,160 pounds. Today, a Jeep Wrangler can weight anywhere from 3,900 to 4,900 pounds


The Jeeps had a minimum ground clearance of 6.25 inches and a wheelbase of 80 inches. This meant that the vehicle from axle to axle was over 10 feet long.


Payload wasn’t really an issue, but it could haul between six hundred to a thousand pounds if necessary.


Jeeps came with a spare wheel, usually located on the back, as well as a gas tank which could be attached to the side.

Ford GPW with the nine slot grill
Ford GPW with the nine slot grill


Ford designed the now famous stamped grill during World War II. This is the same grill design that you see on Jeep Wranglers today. The original grill was composed of 9 slots. Willy’s-Overland Motor would later change their Jeeps to a 7 slot grill, which is what the Jeep brand has stuck with since. The move was made because Ford Motor Company had copyrighted the 9 slot grill.


Jeeps served in all theaters for the United States and were also used in lend-lease programs by allied countries

Carrying wounded
Carrying wounded


Jeeps were used to carry the wounded, as there was a back seat which could be converted to a stretcher. Other uses included laying communication lines and transporting high-ranking officials around.


While the Jeeps primary use was for the ground, it could be converted to rail use if necessary. Once converted to a train, Jeeps had the ability to pull up to ten tons by rail.

Demonstration of a Jeep pulling a railcar, 1943
Demonstration of a Jeep pulling a railcar, 1943


Ford was commissioned to build an amphibious Jeep, to be named “Ford GPA.” Once built, the vehicle proved to be unsuccessful as it was slow, heavy and performed poorly in the water. There were nearly 13,000 of these produced. Many of these went on to be used by the Soviet Union, who used them for crossing rivers. They would later create their own design of this amphibious vehicle.

Ford GPA
Ford GPA, the Jeep Amphibious vehicle


The exact reason Jeep got the name Jeep is unknown. However, it is believed that it could be from Ford’s use of the abbreviation GP on the Ford GP and Ford GPW, with the “G” meaning “Government” and the “P” designating the vehicle as having a wheelbase of 80 inches. Other popular theories include an idea that it is based on the cartoon character, “Eugene the Jeep.” Wherever the name came from, it saw widespread use during World War II, to describe the legendary line of vehicles.