Eisenhower’s military Jeep could fetch up to £150,000 at auction

A military Jeep gifted to Dwight D Eisenhower in recognition of his strategic brilliance as the supreme Allied commander in Europe in the Second World War is to be sold at auction.

Eisenhower oversaw the successful Allied assault on the coast of Normandy in June 1944 and the liberation of western Europe.

In 1946, the National Trust for Scotland gave Eisenhower, who later became the 34th president of the United States in 1953, a Jeep along with the keys to an apartment in Culzean Castle on the Ayrshire coast.

This was in recognition of his work in masterminding D-Day and other operations crucial to the success of the Allied Forces.

A 1944 Willys-Overland Military Jeep that was once owned by General Dwight D Eisenhower is to be sold at auction by Cheffins in Cambridgeshire. (Cheffins Auctioneers/ PA)
A 1944 Willys-Overland Military Jeep that was once owned by General Dwight D Eisenhower is to be sold at auction by Cheffins in Cambridgeshire. (Cheffins Auctioneers/ PA)

The 1944 Willys-Overland Military Jeep, which has 33,000 miles on the clock, is described by auctioneers at Cheffins in Cambridgeshire as being in full working order.

It has been given a pre-sale estimate of between £120,000 and £150,000 ahead of an auction on April 18.

Jeremy Curzon, director of Vintage Auctions at Cheffins, said Eisenhower regarded the apartment in Culzean Castle as a “second White House” when he was in office from 1953 to 1961 and would often drive around the estate and the nearby village of Maybole in the Jeep.

The Jeep has leather seats and the registration number of ESF 43 to apparently denote Eisenhower’s Special Forces 43.

A full restoration of the Jeep, using all the original parts with some minor exceptions, took place in 2014 and the bodywork is stated as entirely original with the exception of a small plate in the floor, the auctioneers said. (Cheffins Auctioneers/ PA)
A full restoration of the Jeep, using all the original parts with some minor exceptions, took place in 2014 (Cheffins Auctioneers/ PA)

He played golf at nearby Turnberry, now owned by Donald Trump, and may well have driven himself there in the Jeep, Mr Curzon said.

After Eisenhower stopped visiting Culzean in the late 1960s, the Jeep remained on the estate and was used by the head forester until a broken half-shaft meant it was consigned to a store until sold to Mr T Lyle, of Kirkcudbright in Dumfries and Galloway, in 1975.

It was later sold to its current owner, the main Jeep distributor in England, who displayed it at shows and has researched the vehicle and built up an archive of material including copies of letters from Eisenhower.

The history file is included in the sale.

A full restoration of the Jeep, using all the original parts with some minor exceptions, took place in 2014 and the bodywork is stated as entirely original with the exception of a small plate in the floor, the auctioneers said.

During the restoration, a 1944 silver quarter dollar was discovered and, with the distinct possibility it was owned by Eisenhower himself, it has been mounted on the dashboard.

Also on the dashboard is a brass plaque that records the National Trust of Scotland’s gift.

Mr Curzon said: “Eisenhower’s Jeep is coming to market at a time when our thoughts are very much turning towards heroic contributions from Allied Forces during the Second World War.

“Arguably, no-one played a more significant role in the Allied Forces winning the war than Eisenhower and this is a very rare opportunity to purchase a fantastically presented vehicle with such rich provenance to such a significant man in history.”

The Jeep is due to be auctioned at Cheffins’ Machinery Salesground in Sutton, Cambridgeshire, on April 18.

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