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Hidden Secrets of the WWII Ford GPW "Jeep"

While checking out the Segerstrom Collection of Shelbys and Fords, this Ford-made “Jeep” jumped out at us. Jeep enthusiasts will already know that the iconic “Jeep” was born out of government-requested bids from Bantam, Willys and Ford, but Ted Segerstrom showed us some cool details we’d never heard.

Ford GPW Jeep Paint Secret

The overall look and function of these WWII workhorses is simple; the paint, however, holds a few secrets:

Ted pointed out that the identification numbers are painted in a way that they’re clearly visible in person, but in black and white photos they disappear. As black and white was the technology of the time, this feature ensured the enemy wouldn’t be able to identify particular troops via spy shots.

WWII Jeep Paint ID Hide

The purpose of the star is not merely for decoration; its paint will change color if it encounters mustard gas! Necessity is the mother of invention, and it’s so cool to see this in the details of the WWII “Jeep” Ford GPW.

Mustard Paint Identification Paint

(Photos: Tim Sutton)

Browse through more photos of this special Jeep in the gallery below or hear from Tim Lea, an expert on '65-70 Ford Mustangs, as he's interviewed with the Segerstrom Collection.

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