A Jeep that was gifted to General Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower in recognition of his strategic brilliance as Supreme Allied Commander in World War II goes on offer at Cheffins’ Vintage Sale in July.
Eisenhower was given the Jeep by the National Trust for Scotland in October 1946, along with the keys to an apartment in Culzean Castle, for his work in masterminding D-Day and other operations which proved so crucial to the success of the Allied Forces.
In full working order with 33,000 miles on the clock, the 1944 Willys-Overland Military Jeep has been given a pre-sale estimate of between £120,000 ($150,000 ) and $150,00 ($180,00) when it comes under the hammer on Saturday 18th July at Cheffins’ Machinery Salesground in Sutton, Cambridgeshire.
Eisenhower, who would later become the 34th President of the United States from 1953 to 1961, considered the apartment on the Culzean estate in Ayrshire, on the west coast of Scotland, a second home and a second ‘White House’ when he was in office.
He would often drive around the estate and into the village of Maybole in the leather-seated Jeep, with the registration number of ‘ESF 43’ to apparently denote ‘Eisenhower’s Special Forces 43’.
He even played golf at nearby Turnberry – now owned by the current President, Donald Trump – and may well have driven himself there in the Jeep.
After Eisenhower stopped coming to Culzean in the late 1960s, the Jeep remained on the estate and was used by the head forester until a broken half-shaft meant it was consigned to a store until sold to Mr T Lyle of Kirkcudbright in 1975.
Three years later it was offered at auction in April 1978 after that work had been carried out, when it was purchased by the current owner, the main Jeep distributor in England.
It has since been used for shows and promotions, notably the 2014 WW2 Memorial Parade at Goodwood Revival and the 2005 Anniversary of D-Day at Culzean Castle, where Eisenhower’s granddaughter, Susan, was photographed at the wheel.
The current owner has meticulously researched the Jeep on both sides of the Atlantic and built up a fascinating archive of material, including copies of letters from Eisenhower to his military aide, Colonel James Gault of the Scots Guards, and other which reference the generous gifts. The history file is included in the sale.
A full restoration of the Jeep – using all the original parts with some very minor exceptions – took place in 2014 and the bodywork is stated as entirely original with the exception of a small plate in the floor.
During the restoration, a 1944 silver quarter dollar was discovered and, with the distinct possibility it was owned by Eisenhower himself, it has been mounted on the dashboard.
Also on the dashboard is a brass plaque which records the National Trust of Scotland’s gift.
Jeremy Curzon, Director of Vintage Auctions at Cheffins, said: “Eisenhower’s Jeep is coming to market at a time when our thoughts are very much turning towards heroic contributions from Allied Forces during World War II.
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“Arguably, no one played a more significant role in the Allied Forces winning the war than Eisenhower and this is a very rare opportunity to purchase a fantastically presented vehicle with such rich provenance to such a significant man in history.” The auction is 18th July 2020.