Willys-Overland Motors, Inc., Toledo, Ohio Truck: Utility 1/4 Ton 4 x 4 (M38A1) Jeep designed 1952 (this example 1953)

  • Not on view

The Jeep, designed for the United States Army during World War II, is a pragmatic, no-nonsense tool. When MoMA first exhibited one, in 1951, the curator described it as a "sturdy sardine can on wheels." Its flat body rides high above the ground for clearance over rough terrain, and the gas tank has been tucked up under the driver's seat. The overall height is low, and the windshield can be folded down on the hood. The lack of doors makes it easy to hop in and out of. Basic shelter is provided by a foldaway canvas hood, and there is no attempt to conceal the nuts and bolts, inside or out. The Jeep's standardized parts are designed for quick assembly and replacement; the top and the wheels can be removed and stacked, and the cars can be arranged like boxes for easy transport. This version is slightly larger and faster than the original. Known by its model number M38A1—it's considered by many the best military Jeep ever built.

Gallery label from Born out of Necessity, March 2, 2012–January 28, 2013
the artist
Steel body
6' 1 3/4" x 60 7/8" x 11' 6 5/8" (187.3 x 154.6 x 352.1 cm)
Gift of DaimlerChrysler Corporation Fund
Object number
Architecture and Design