Willys-Overland Made More Than Just the Iconic Jeep

Jeep fans know that Willys-Overland Motors did an incredible job of producing 361,406 Jeeps in Toledo during World War II. Former President and General Dwight Eisenhower once said that “The Jeep, the Dakota, and the Landing Craft were the three tools that won the war.

But did you know that Willys-Overland also produced a long list of essential war material including the first cruise missile?

Willys-Overland manufactured the JB-2 Loon, which was the American reverse engineered copy of the German V-1 “Buzz Bomb.”  Willys was the only manufacturer of the 1,292 produced. The JB-2 Loons were being produced for use in the planned invasion of Japan. Republic Aircraft had the contract for the airframe and Ford built the engine. However, Willys-Overland was then subcontracted to build the airframe because of its capacity to manufacture in high volume. The Willys-built JB-2 can be seen on display at The Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, which is part of the National Air and Space Museum.

Willys-Overland, and its hard-working Toledo area workers, also produced:

  • (4,344,160) 155mm shells
  • (3,374) Breech Housings and Recoil Cylinders for 1.1 inch anti-aircraft guns
  • (78,735) 1/4 and 1 Ton Cargo Trailers
  • (415) Powder and Projectile Hoists for US Navy ships
  • (253,072,519) 40mm Primers and Parts
  • (2,000,460) 20mm Shells
  • (6,096) Grumman F6F Landing Gears
  • (849) Carburetor Air Scoops for Curtiss-Wright
  • (3,605) C-46 Wing Fuel Tanks
  • (37,500) Bomb Cluster Shipping Bands
  • (1,087,277,247) .30 and .50 bullet cores
  • (3,731) Vought F4U Wing Center Sections
  • (1,292) JB-2 Airframes

So when you are driving or watching the All-Jeep Parade, think about some of the distant cousins to your modern Wranglers and Gladiators.

We encourage you to check out David D. Jackson’s historical work on Willys-Overland and the automotive industry as well as the work of Jeep historian Ron Szymanski of Toledo, Ohio.