Willys Jeep 1942

Willys_Jeep_1942-49_1.jpg

Here's a Jeep with a difference. It's a hybrid, built to compete in the 1997 Peking to Paris Motor Challenge, the first re-incarnation of the 1907 Peking to Paris motor race ¼- and it won, with the vendor driving and John Bayliss occupying the thinking man's seat. Built specifically to comply with the regulations for that event, it uses a 1949 Jeep chassis and running gear, just within the cut-off date for the class, and a 1942 Willys body tub for the desired appearance. All parts were overhauled and prepared to minimal tolerances. All engine reciprocating parts were shot-peened and balanced. The cylinder head was ported and gas-flowed resulting in a very torquey motor and improved fuel consumption. After the 1997 event an overdrive was fitted, operable on all gears in both low and high ranges, which further improved fuel consumption. The regulations allowed for safety modifications and as a result disc brakes from a post-'49 model are fitted all round. This is a readily reversible modification. Provision has been made for a Halda tripmeter, which is available by separate negotiation if required. The whole job reportedly cost £50,000 once you factor in the vendor's time at commercial rates.

This is an exceptionally strong vehicle, built with the philosophy: 'To finish first, first finish!' The vendor points out: "If you are serious about this sort of thing then you have to go in a vehicle that can be mended by the local blacksmith because that's all you'll find in some remote regions". After the Peking-Paris, the Jeep wasn't used again until 2000, apart from a few club events by invitation, when it came third in the 2000-mile trial (actually 5,600 miles - the 2000 refers to the year) after a hotly disputed 2-minute penalty, without which it would have won. It has been kept 'On the button' and has been in daily use from time to time so should be in fine fettle and ready to compete. The next Peking-Paris Motor Challenge leaves China on September 2010 and the vendor says: "If you are considering competing in a long-distance rally for classic cars then you should consider buying this vehicle".

Image and description kindly supplied by H&H Classic Auctions

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