Every vehicle the Army considered purchasing was put through serious testing. The jeep was no exception! Of course back then it hadn’t yet picked up the name “jeep”. Bantam, a little known company outside of true jeep history devotees, was the company to build and deliver the first “jeep”. The Bantam Pilot in the accompany photo is being driven through mud as part of a test to see if it will get stuck.
During the initial testing the military beat the little Bantam hard. It took such a severe beating that eventually the frame was cracked. The military guys were doing crazy stuff like driving the jeep off of a 4 foot high loading dock at forty miles per hour.
Check out the book BANTAM, FORD AND WILLYS-1/4-TON RECONNAISSANCE CARS for more information about these wonderful first jeeps.
Another great book to read for those interested in the early jeeps is Jeep – Its development and procurement under the Quartermaster Corps, 1940-1942.