News, WW2

WW2 Jeep to Cost a King’s Ransom at Auction

Restored World War 2 Ford Jeep used by King George VI to auction for £45K

  • Silverstone will auction a World War Two Ford Jeep in Febuary 2023.
  • King George VI used the Jeep at RAF Chelveston’s morale-boosting parade.
  • The Jeep underwent a full restoration and is expected to sell for up to £45,000.

The Silverstone Auction is auctioning the classic military Ford jeep, manufactured and used during World War Two in 1942. According to some estimates, the highest bid for the Jeep will go up to £45,000 in February 2023.

The Jeep is of particular significance because of its royal connections. None other than King George VI used the vehicle during a visit to the RAF Chelveston base in Northamptonshire during WW2. Until now, the Jeep has covered only 18,550 miles in 80 years.

Life and restoration of the Jeep

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The US military used the Ford GPW for various functions. First, it was a military jeep used to move soldiers.

However, this Jeep, in particular, has had an illustrious history. On 14th November 1942, His Majesty King George VI and American General Carl A. Spaatz, Commander of Strategic Air Forces in Europe, used the Jeep for a morale-boosting visit to RAF Chelveston.

During the visit, His Majesty talked to Liberator and Fortress crews and inspected aircraft.

The vehicle has the chassis number 45259 and was dispatched in a crate to Bristol in the summer of 1942. According to a certificate on file, the Jeep retains its matching engine and chassis numbers, with many other components confirmed by the vendor as original equipment.

The historic military vehicle underwent a ‘thorough, detailed and documented ground-up restoration.’ It still carries the original US Serial Number 20118614 and the UK registration number PXS 475.

It even has period features, including heavy-duty rope, an axe, a shovel, and an arch-mounted fire extinguisher.

Silverstone Auction

Silverstone Auctions is a world-class, specialist auction house selling classic cars, modern supercars, competition cars, historic cars, and many more. They are holding an auction in February 2023 in which the Royal Ford jeep will also be up for bidding.

The vehicle is ready for the highest bid after being meticulously restored. Experts predict that it could sell for up to £45,000.

Silverstone Auctions said: “Accompanying the Jeep is the history file with fascinating documentation outlining the provenance of this historic Jeep, including its current V5C registration papers.”

Land Rover Series I
Queen Elizabeth’s Land Rover Series I is expected to fetch between £100,000-£150,000 in the same auction

According to the auction house, the vehicle is ready for transfer or export with photographic evidence of the Jeep used during the Royal visit. Additionally, the Jeep will come with an inspection report by the Norfolk Military Vehicle Group, detailed receipts for restoration works, receipts for change of ownership, and written accounts of its history.

“In summary, this is a super opportunity to take ownership of a fine example of an iconic military Jeep with a rather interesting history,” Silverstone added.

Moreover, another classic 1953 Series I Land Rover with Royal connections will also be sold off. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II received that 4×4 whilst at Balmoral.

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The vehicle underwent restoration with help from her son, King Charles III. Last year, it led a Land Rover parade during the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. In addition, the auction committee predicts bids in the region of £100,000 to £150,000.

Ford Jeep GPW

The Ford Jeep GPW is the sister vehicle of Willy’s MB Jeep because both have interchangeable parts. Interestingly, the ‘W’ in the GPW name references the ‘Willys’ licensed design.

During World War Two, Ford produced as many as 277,878 of these Jeeps. At the same time, Willys made 348,849 vehicles between 1941 to 1945.

The Ford Jeep has a four-cylinder petrol engine and a three-gear manual transmission. The vehicle was not fast, but it had a lightweight design which made it suitable for all terrains and across rugged landscapes.

King George VI in WW2
King George VI on his visit the base of the USAAF 352nd Bomb Squadron at Chelveston, England Nov 1942. The aircraft is B-17F “Holey Joe”

RAF Chelveston Airfield

Chelveston Aerodrome was initially opened in August 1941 by the Air Ministry as a wartime RAF base. The base accommodates three runways laid out in the standard RAF triangular format.

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However, RAF Chelveston was also known as Station 105. It was used by the American Army Air Force (USAAF) from 6th December 1942 until 25th July 1945 to execute bomber operations over German-occupied Europe. The airfield was used by the 301st and then the 305th Bombardment Groups, who flew the four-engine Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber.