The very first "jeep", a bantam is parked next to a sibling.

The very first “jeep”, a bantam is parked next to a sibling.

The WW2 jeep was one of the finest weapons of that war.  It has continued on in one shape or another for over 60 years.  Many of those WW2 jeeps are still in service–albeit, not military service but in the hands of collectors who dole out TLC. The very first 1/4-ton reconnaissance and liaison car (or jeep) was damaged in a traffic accident while enroute from Fort Knox, KY to Butler, PA after having performed a demonstration test.  The 1/4-ton collided with a 1 and 1/2-ton truck at 40 mph.  In a report dated November 6, 1940, a Capt E.L. Moseley said that this only caused minor damage and attested to the ruggedness of the vehicle.  Shortly after this report the pilot disappeared.
In a phone call, Duncan Olds shared some details about his most excellent replica of the Bantam Pilot pictured above.
For more about the early jeeps  see…
BANTAM, FORD AND WILLYS—1/4-TON RECONNAISSANCE CARS

BANTAM, FORD AND WILLYS—1/4-TON RECONNAISSANCE CARS (book)

Print: $24.95

The 1/4-ton, 4×4, truck of World War Two started out in the hands of the Infantry and a little company called American Bantam Car Company. Bantam worked with the Army’s Quartermaster Corps to produce the pilot model that was accepted and then fulfilled their initial contract for 70 trucks. During testing of the pilot both Ford and Willys-Overland were invited to check out this new vehicle. The vehicles were studied in great detail. Soon, at their own expense, Ford and Willys-Overland submitted pilots for testing too. This book covers the production prototypes–Bantam BRC-40, Ford GP and the Willys MA.

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