Steve McQueen is well known and loved for his own love of cars and motorcycles, and even watches. He’s also known for being in a few movies you might have heard of. Like something called Bullitt, and a little movie called Le Mans. It all means that cars that belonged to McQueen can fetch big bucks. But unlike some of those seven-figure models, this one isn’t a Porsche 911, a Ferarri 250 GT, or even a vintage Mini. This one is a bit more functional. A 1945 Willys Jeep.
The Willys MB was designed for the US Army during the early years of World War II. Before the US had even officially entered the war. It was designed to be the primary light wheeled transport vehicle of the Army. Able to go anywhere with four passengers, their gear, and even some stuff on the trailer hitch. If you’ve ever watched an action movie made before about 1995, you’ve seen an army Jeep on screen
The world’s first mass-produced four-wheel drive to hit six-figures of production, Willys and Ford would build somewhere north of 600,000 before the end of the war. So it’s not exactly a rare vehicle, or at least it wasn’t at the time. But this one is special.
McQueen bought this one directly from the US Army. Not uncommon with the massive number of surplus vehicles coming onto the market following both WWII and later the Korean War. Built in July 1945, this one likely didn’t see combat. McQueen owned this Jeep, which remained as delivered from the Army, until his passing in 1980.
Four years later, the vehicle was sold at auction. The buyer was a Mr J McClughan from Texas, who paid a whopping $6,000 for the vehicle. A price that would have probably purchased a reasonably nice house at the time.
Since then, it has had just one more owner, the seller who is putting it up for auction at Silverstone Auctions’ NEC Classic Motor Show Sale next week. That means that the vehicle has had just four owners in all these years, though with Uncle Sam being the first it probably wasn’t always babied.
The Jeep comes with documentation that includes a bill of sale from the estate, a certificate of authenticity from the estate, and the original sale advertisement. The seller says it’s been completely restored by UK Jeep expert Jeeparts and it will have a UK vehicle inspection. The pre-sale estimate puts the value of this Jeep at between $136,000 and $170,000.
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