c1942 Willys Jeep Utility (LHD)
One by-product of military conflict is the rapid pace of technical development and the United States Army created an entirely new class of vehicle during World War II, one that remains hugely popular today - the off-roader. Needing a reconnaissance vehicle suitable for all types of terrain, be it the muddy fields of Europe or the desert sands of North Africa, the U.S. Army contracted the Willys-Overland Company to produce what became universally known as the Jeep. Designed by Karl Probst for the American Bantam Car Company in record time in 1940, the all-wheel drive Jeep met a whole range of testing criteria and was powered by the rugged Willys "Go Devil" four-cylinder engine. With Willys-Overland unable to meet demand, the War Department turned to Ford as an alternative supplier, although the Model GPW was still built largely to Willys' specifications with only minor changes - for example, every component was stamped with the letter "F". In total some 640,000 Jeeps were built during the War and what was once merely the best method of getting G.I.'s from A to B has since been hailed as a landmark piece of industrial design, with an example kept on display in New York's Museum of Modern Art.