Curl up with a good read about your favorite vehicle or a related subject!

Curl up with a good read about your favorite vehicle or a related subject!

I just love a good read. What could be better than reading up on the WW2 jeep or how to work on WW2 era vehicles? You can’t go wrong with this publication. It will have stuff for the novice as well as the old hand.

 

Automotive Trouble Shooting for WW2 Vehicles, Volume 2 Automotive Trouble Shooting For World War Two Wheeled Vehicles, Volume 2, is a useful manual for anyone and it takes off where volume one ended! Learn about the engine oil system. Do you know what to look for when rebuilding a block? Problems with valves? Find out how to trouble shoot and adjust the valves for wheeled vehicles. Do you have problems with the clutch rattling? Check this manual out!Worried about your transmission or transfer case making noises? Check out the trouble shooting section. Any noises coming from your propeller shafts, universal joints or axles? Its discussed here. Trouble shooting the wheels, hubs, and rims? Chassis. Steering.Do you have brake problems, including Hydrovac brakes? Its all here and much more.Put a copy in your WW2 truck for those little roadside emergencies! Originally produced by the US Gov’t, Ordnance School, Aberdeen Proving Ground, August, 1945. Edited by Robert Notman. Click on the link above to find out how to order the book.

Can your jeep swim?

Can your jeep swim?

I guess there wasn’t enough boats. But if you gave a few men a large enough tarpaulin, some poles and maybe some bales of hay–you could float a jeep across a stream. Pretty amazing stuff, if you think about it. And no, I’m not about to take my jeep for a swim anytime soon. I’ll just let it take me to the swimming hole and go for a swim myself.

 

 

One of the early (first 70) Bantam jeeps undergoing river stream crossing tests. Those “pontoons” were made by using canvas tarpaulins covering bales of hay, Infantry Journal, May, 1942.

With a little help from its friends! Early during the war all sorts of testing was done on jeeps including the Bantams. As mentioned in the caption above this is a very early jeep from the first contract of 70 vehicles. Only one of these are known to have survived and it is in the Smithsonian collection. Find out more about the Bantam in BANTAM, FORD AND WILLYS-1/4-TON RECONNAISSANCE CARS. You also might be interested in Military Maintenance for MB/GPW Jeeps 1941-45.

New 1/4-ton ‘Bantam’ truck at Fort Myer, Virginia,

New 1/4-ton ‘Bantam’ truck at Fort Myer, Virginia,

When copy writers are careless with the facts! Original caption, “New 1/4-ton ‘Bantam’ truck at Fort Myer, Virginia,” dated April, 1941. Writers were pretty lose during this time and used “Bantam” to frequently describe the 1/4-ton. With three different 1/4-tons that were very similar in construction it is not difficult to understand the confusion on the part of writers and even servicemen.

Don't forget to keep track of time!

Well, it is a jeep…no matter if it is a Bantam, Ford or Willys!

Throughout the war the term “Bantam” was used to describe the 1/4-ton, 4×4, truck, no matter what company built it. Find out more about the Bantam jeep in BANTAM, FORD AND WILLYS-1/4-TON RECONNAISSANCE CARS. Don’t forget the great book by Rifkind. Rifkind wrote a great history of the jeep shortly after it was introduced to the US Army. While it is US Quartermaster Corps centric, it is still very interesting ready. Check out Jeep – Its development and procurement under the Quartermaster Corps, 1940-1942 at Amazon.com and other booksellers.

I just love the early jeep history, don't you? How about one of the first jeeps to enter civilian hands?

I just love the early jeep history, don’t you? How about one of the first jeeps to enter civilian hands?

Ford was the largest and most financially stable war-time producer of the jeep. Their production efforts begin with the Ford GP Pygmy. The Pygmy was equipped with a modified tractor engine rated at 45 hp. It was considered a fairly modern engine for its day.

The Ford GP pictured above is pretty famous. It appeared in an article of Life magazine in 1944. It was one of the first jeeps sold to the public. A mayor in a small town in Kansas purchased it in Chicago for $750 and drove it home. It stayed in the family until the mid 1970s. Eventually it ended up in the Veterans Memorial Museum of Huntsville, Alabama. This is a museum worth visiting!

More can be found out about the Ford GP in BANTAM, FORD AND WILLYS-1/4-TON RECONNAISSANCE CARS.

The Bantam pilot model being put through its paces at Camp Holabird, MD. (photo courtesy of Wesley M Phillippi)

The Bantam pilot model being put through its paces at Camp Holabird, MD. (photo courtesy of Wesley M Phillippi)

 

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.

The Howie-Wiley Belly Flopper?

The Howie-Wiley Belly-Flopper?

The Howie-Wiley Belly-Flopper. ( photo courtesy of Thomas Lynn )

The Howie-Wiley Belly-Flopper. ( photo courtesy of Thomas Lynn )

 

According to Major E.P. Hogan of the QMC, the “Howie-Wiley Belly-Flopper” was the only military produced predecessor of the 1/4-ton, 4×4, Truck. The vehicle did not find favor with the Chief of Infantry who was seeking a replacement for the motorcycle and the horse in a light-weight reconnaissance and liaison car. (photo courtesy of Thomas Lynn )

Find out more about pre-standardized jeeps in BANTAM, FORD AND WILLYS-1/4-TON RECONNAISSANCE CARS

Look out, Maw, here he comes again!

While the 4×4 jeep was a new concept in military vehicles, the 4-wheel steer jeep was a wild new concept.  The following article is from Army Motors, November, 1941.

There’s a strange new jeep out in the field. Not very many of them but the minute you see one hopping across a meadow, you’ll know it’s something new under the sun.

It’ll be tearing along a perfectly straight course, when suddenly at a flick of the driver’s wrist, it’ll make a right angle turn that’11 make you blink your eyes and look again. At cruising speed it will do an “about face” smartly as a bee stung donkey.

You’ll rush right home and throw the bottle out the window.

Bantam BRC60 4 Wheel Steer. Photo courtesy of Jacco van Snippenberg. The Netherlands.

Bantam BRC60 4 Wheel Steer. Photo courtesy of Jacco van Snippenberg. The Netherlands.

But you’re all right – you’ve just been watching the amazing performance of the jeep with the Four—wheel—steer.

The four—wheel—steer is another step toward making the 1/4 ton reconnaissance a right-tight little car fully able to scoot out promptly from under the bright face of danger and fly away home. It has no arms (so far) and it has no armor — so it’s got to have git—up—and—go.

The idea is not new — back in the last World War, many a driver gasped and turned pale as the terrifying quad beneath him responded too quickly and too much to the slightest touch on the wheel. Imagine threading delicately in and out of traffic with a truck that answered the wheel like a crazy grasshopper?

But today’s four-wheel—steer has a delayed action on the rear wheels that permits the driver to make all those delicate curves and turns without the rear wheels coming into play. Perhaps an even better device is the declutching arrangement that allows the driver to throw out his back wheel steering.

This is not to say that driving today’s four—wheel—steer jeep is a cinch. It still has keg of dynamite characteristics. Its the closest thing on the ground to piloting an airplane. That’s why every Tom, Dick and Harry won’t be driving one — that’s why, in the final analysis, the four—wheel—steer may not even be accepted.

But if it is, you’ll see some artful dodging that’ll make lubricated lightning look like Grandma Pettibone doing the big apple.

Ultimately, the 4-wheel steer 1/4-ton trucks were not to be built aside from a few built for experimentation.  It was not for a lack of interest.  The Cavalry was very interested in the 4-wheel steer because of it’s extreme maneuverability which I suppose reminded one of the agility of the horse or Army mule.  However, this interest was over-ruled on at least two practical counts.  First, agility of the 4-wheel steer was a plus. But in the same breath it was also a negative in that it took greater skill and care to drive the vehicle.  Second, manufacturing of the u-joints needed for 4-wheel drive front axles was a bottleneck to production.  One of the reasons Ford was asked to produce the Ford GPW.  Introducing, the 4-wheel steer “jeep” into production would have effective doubled the bottleneck.

As history played out—the 2-wheel steer, 4×4, 1/4-truck was an extremely effective tool of war.