logo

Willys MB Jeep 'The Little Lady'

Manufacturer: Willys
Model: MB 1/4 ton
Year of build: 1943
Censorship No.  
Known History:

The Little Lady arrived at the Sawmills in 1993, loaded in the back of a Nissan Cabstar.  She was a pile of worn out parts collected up by a well known enthusiast in Honiton.  The chassis was built in 1943 and had various signs that it had been modified for airborne use, yet the body had clearly been painted Navy Blue.  The Jeep had such a mixed identity it was decided she would be restored in the marking of 56 Rgt. HAA, the unit served by Capt. DW Shopland.

Having restored a number of larger vehicles, the Jeep was affectionately called the Little Lady by James Shopland and she served as his first car, passing her first MOT post-restoration in the same week James passed his driving test.  The Little Lady was regularly seen dashing around North Somerset, and for that matter all over the country and beyond.

Late one Sunday night in 2008, on the way back from Kent, the Little Lady was involved in an altercation with a National Express bus.

The Jeep was declared a financial write-off by the Insurance Company but after a difficult wrangle they allowed me to retain the Jeep and its original number. Initially, we decided we would have the Jeep professionally rebuilt due to having so many other projects waiting, but five years later, little had happened.

The Little Lady was returned to Clevedon to be restored in the Collection workshops. On her return we realised it was twenty years to the day that we originally bought her in a little apple orchard above Honiton, in a very similar condition. Like in 1992 one thing is for certain, the Little Lady will bereturned to her former glory and a firm favorite within the Collection.

The restoration has now seen the engine rebuilt, chassis repaired and straightened, and a replacement body tub sourced. The rolling chassis made an appearance at the Dig For Victory Show 2014, and the final dash is in sight.

Click here for specifications and history of the Willys MB

little-lady-returns-1a.jpglittle-lady-returns-1.jpglittle-lady-returns-2.jpglittle-lady-returns-3.jpgmb chassis repair.jpgmb chassis repairs2.jpgmb chassis repairs3.jpglittle-lady-returns-4.jpgLittle_Lady.jpgLittle_Lady_1a.JPGlittle-lady-1.JPGlittle-lady-rebuild-1.jpglittle-lady-rebuild-3.jpglittle-lady-rebuild-2.jpglittle-lady-rebuild-4.jpglittle-lady-running-1.jpgLittle-lady-wedding-1a.jpgLittle-lady-wedding-2.jpgwillys-little-lady-thumb-3.pngLittle-lady-wedding-3.jpg