2022 Shannons Autumn Timed Online Auction
1962 Hotchkiss M201 Jeep (LHD)
|Engine||In-line 4-cylinder, 2199cc|
This lot is no longer available
One of the most iconic vehicles ever built, the Jeep was designed and developed for the US Army in 1940, proving instrumental in helping the Allies win the Second World War. Hailed as a landmark piece of industrial design, with an example proudly displayed in New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Jeep was initially designed by Karl Probst of the American Bantam Car Company as a reconnaissance vehicle suitable for all types of terrain, be it the muddy fields of Europe or the desert sands of North Africa. With all-wheel drive and powered by a rugged Willys “Go Devil” four-cylinder engine displacing 134.2-cid, the Army initially contracted the Willys-Overland Company to build the Jeep since Bantam lacked both the financial resources and facilities for mass production. Ultimately Willys was unable to meet demand and as a result the War Department turned to Ford as an alternative supplier from late 1941. Integral to the success of the US military forces during World War Two, the Jeep continued to see active service post-war and was produced around the world by a variety of manufacturers, including Delahaye and Hotchkiss in France. Initially established as an arms manufacturer in 1867, Hotchkiss branched into automotive production at the beginning of the 20th Century, the earliest appearing in 1903. In the years immediately following WWII, the French Government was gifted over 20,000 ex-US Army Jeeps and soon ended up with a huge pool of spares. Over the next ten years both French entities began assembling Jeeps under licence and Hotchkiss designated their version the M201. Used in various combat zones in North Africa and French Indochina, the Hotchkiss Jeeps saw action with the Foreign Legion. Production continued for another decade, adding a Peugeot-powered diesel variant in 1962 and the M201 remained in service until 2000, 34 years after the last example rolled out of the St Denis and Stains factories on the outskirts of Paris. Unlike in America, where a civilian version proved hugely popular, attempts to market the Hotchkiss Jeep to the general public proved a failure. Very few of these French Jeeps reached Australia, making this example a rare opportunity for military vehicle collectors.