MB Willys: A Brief History
In 1940, a list of requirements for a military vehicle and solicited manufacturers to produce a prototype that met these requirements. Willys and Ford, following an extensive road test, both on the highway and off road, were awarded the contract to produce the vehicles for the Army. Willys, however, had to modify its design to meet the Army’s spec’s for vehicle weight, needing to pare off 263 pounds, off of an already bare-bones vehicle. And, they had to do this with no sacrifice of either the strength or power. An engineer, Delmar B. Barney“ Roos, had worked on the Jeep(r) project and with his patience, determination, and resourcefulness, disassembled the vehicle. Every bolt, every bracket was analyzed. Surplus material was cut away wherever possible. Studs, screws, even cotter pins were shortened. The sizes of clamps, nuts, and washers were reduced. The heavy carbon steel frame was replaced by one made of lighter alloy. Lighter steel was employed for the body and fenders.
Finally, the task came down to weighing the paint. It was determined that one coat would have to suffice, for a second would have meant exceeding the weight limit. The final product did meet the Army’s specified figure—2160 pounds—with just several ounces to spare.