Of those players in the field leading to the standardized war time jeep, Willys-Overland was the mid level company with a $50,000,000 capitalization. It also had been through financial difficulties and receiverships, had applied to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation for first-mortgage loans dating back to 1939.
The Willys Quad went thru testing by the Army but it was not successful. Ultimately it was rejected as to heavy and deficiencies needed to be corrected before production could begin. Meanwhile, Bantam and Ford went on to produce their initial runs and more.
Willys-Overland did not win the bid to build the first 70 pilot models. That contract went to American Bantam. Willys was awarded a contract for 1,500 vehicles as were Bantam and Ford. The Willys-Overland net price was $949.41 per vehicle. (This compares with the net prices for the Ford ($925) and Bantam ($946.04). These pre-standardized jeeps were generally successful, each vehicle exhibiting certain pluses and minuses. The Willys was favored for its’ 60hp engine among other attributes.
The Willys MA was very almost what the military wanted. It grew into the Willys MB which used attributes from the Bantam and the Ford. The most notable attribute from Ford was the grille! A 9 slot pressed grille that morphed into the eventually trademarked 7 slot “Jeep” grille.
For more information about the Willys MA and other pre-standardized WW2 era jeeps, check out, BANTAM, FORD AND WILLYS-1/4-TON RECONNAISSANCE CARS.