The American Bantam Car Companys jeep under Army test in 1940.  (Photo courtesy of Wesley M Phillippi.).<br />

The American Bantam Car Company’s “jeep” under Army test in 1940. (Photo courtesy of Wesley M Phillippi.)

The president of the company that built the prototype and the very first vehicles that eventually would become known as the “jeep” predicted the wrong future.  In an article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – Oct 23, 1944 found through the Google search tool. http://tinyurl.com/fennwrong

Fenn stated that the jeep then in production by Willys Overland and Ford would not make a successful civilian vehicle after the war.  The “purely military” characteristics would “hamper its postwar future as a civilian car.”  Mr. Fenn stated that there were no plans for American Bantam Car Company to produces “jeeps” after the war.

Hindsight is most often 20-20 and Mr. Fenn was proved wrong.  The Jeep as produced by Willys-Overland was a success.  Versions of the Jeep (now owned by Chrsyler LLC) have been in production since 1941.  Not bad for a vehicle that would be “hampered” in usefulness to civilians after the war.

You know you want to find out even more about this.

You know you want to find out even more about this.

For more about Bantam and the other early jeeps, check out this great book from WW2 – Jeep – Its development and procurement under the Quartermaster Corps, 1940-1942.

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