Jeep Buyers Guide
If you're thinking about buying a jeep this year, Cliff can help guide you through that all important decision with excellent advice. Here he gives his best advice on what to look for in a Jeep if you’re new to the hobby
Don't buy a Jeep before looking at it
It may seam obvious, but I see this all the time. So many jeeps are not what they seam. Go see it and drive it, get a feel for the Jeep.If you can, take an expert with you who may pick out red flags. If you don’t, this could be a very expensive mistake.
Go look at lots ofJeeps
You’ll see some beautiful well looked after examples, and some real howlers; this will allow you to understand what’s about and reach a middle ground. You’ll find it easier to come to a decision where you’re confident you’re really getting the pick of the bunch.
Do your research
Swat up on all things GPW and MB by reading essential handbooks like The Standardised War-Time Jeep Volume 2 by John Farley and the all important Maintenance Manual For Willys Truck 1/4 ton 4X4, Ford GPW – we sell both of these in our shops and have seen these books be the departure point for well thought through Jeep ownership.
Don't buy a Jeep on credit or loan
Jeeps ARE expensive and the cost of parts could put you out of scope. Always ensure you’re getting good value for money on parts by shopping around for quality parts by top dealers. A cheap part may cost you dearly later on, and lead to an unsafe vehicle. Be careful buying new parts from auction sites. Remember, with every Jeep we sell, we offer 10% off all parts for the that project so do enquire with us and perhaps we can help you with your Jeep purchase.
If you know what you’re looking at, check out the gear box.A rebuild could cost around £1,200 so ensure that this part of the jeep is in good running order. If in doubt, ring us and we can help.
It’s a labour of love
Remember you’re not buying a modern second hand car which will be reliable til the day it ceases and you trade it in for another; even the most expensive, original and beautifully rebuilt jeeps will need an element of care and maintenance. Things will need to be replaced. This is an antique vehicle, much of which parts may have seen action, either on the way to the pub or in battle, so go easy on your expectations. You wont be the same at 75 years old as you are now, after all!
Price range (as of 2021)
0 - £5,000
Expect to find a project which may or may not be intact and will need full restoration. This may be a whole jeep or part thereof, but remember to ensure this gets you a good chassis as the basis for the project is the most important.
£5,000 - £10,000
This Jeep would start and drive but needs a complete restoration. Expect to spend around £12,000 - £15,000 to get this up to standard. This could take 2 – 5 years once all parts have been restored and sourced.
£10,000 - £20,000
This is the most common price band. A jeep in this price range will be in good all round condition which may need work later on like body panels and cosmetic attention, but will be great to use on trips abroad all the time it’s maintained properly. A good set of canvas would be expected here, and a V5 for registering for the road in England.
£20,000 to £30,000
Restored showroom condition Ford GPW and Willys MB’s from top dealers will sell at this price. Or if rebuilt by the private seller, will have been looked after and garaged, maintained and serviced throughout ownership. This jeep may have been rebuilt, or been overhauled, so be sure to look at as many original parts as possible. Don’t get blindsided by extras like sirens and frills – these can be purchased separately later. No jeep is the same, and you will have a chance to make it your own.
£30,000 - £50,000
Fully restored showroom condition early Jeeps such as prototype Ford GP’s and Willys MB Slat Grill Jeeps from 1941 are of this price range. The earlier the jeep – the more you pay. Look out for original pancake air filters on FordGP’s – as they’re rare to find if you need to add on, and have been seen to cost £3,000!
Unrestored, raw jeeps in original condition are getting evermore popular and untouched examples can fetch more than restored examples, its all about the type of condition that suits you.
It's not unheard of that an early rare Ford GPA amphibious Jeep sells for £150,000; these are usually from collections and don’t come up onto the market that often. But be careful to inspect these jeeps thoroughly, as a poor judgement will be very costly. These highly sought-after jeeps often are released to much anticipation, so it's worth understanding more by discussing the 'find' on notable Facebook pages, or by contacting jeep clubs such as the IMPS
Where to find them
- Milweb.net Classified ads will show you a large selection of jeeps in the UK and Europe.
- Ebay.co.uk – be aware of false listings and scammers. Always view before taking delivery - and transfer money in person, never online.
- Classic Military Vehicle magazine, quarterly, at all good newsagents. Find the classifieds section on the back page.
- Word of Mouth - Join a club, the IMPS is great - we are members too
Whether you are looking for a project to rebuild yourself, a second hand jeep to take custody of, or thinking of ordering a perfectly rebuilt bespoke restoration from our Surrey workshop, call us on 01483 860403 or email us for more information and availability.