The Army is putting the new Bantam 4x4 pilot through testing.

The Army is putting the new Bantam 4×4 pilot through testing.

In many books and websites you see poor Lt. E.P. Hogan misquoted about where the name “jeep” came from. But he has some other interesting words as well.

An outstanding feature of the “bantam” is the success with which four wheel drive has been adapted to it. Its front axle can be used whether as a driving axle or an idling axle and, while the four-wheel drive feature in smaller vehicles is an adaptation of the Army’s usual design, in the “puddle-jumper” the resulting performance has been far greater even than anticipated. “Bugs” are built for maximum cross-country mobility – an indispensable requirement in modern warfare – which is greatly increased by having power in all four wheels.

Now Hogan was a QMC man but reading this it seems to say that the jeep wasn’t a “new” idea so much as its performance was outstanding.

Check out BANTAM, FORD AND WILLYS-1/4-TON RECONNAISSANCE CARS for more information about Bantam and the other pre-standardized jeeps.

How about a good book with lots of pictures covering the pre-standardized jeeps?
BANTAM, FORD AND WILLYS—1/4-TON RECONNAISSANCE CARS
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.

Print: $24.95 plus shipping.  Available through most booksellers.

 

The jeep was first built by Bantam. Even the jeep like the Bantam pilot could get stuck! Or is it!!

A salute to Bantam!

A salute to Bantam for being first!

Auto Industry Debates Credit for “Jeep” Cars – Bantam President Now Is Hailed as Real Inventor.   From the The Evening Independent – Jun 27, 1941 Poor Bantam often received little notice on their contribution to WW2 and American history–namely design of the jeep.   But at least as early as 1941 some people recognized that Bantam designed the jeep.  What is interesting is that the article…well more of a gossip column then anything, says that Mr. Fenn came up with the idea of the jeep in 1934!
Find out more about Bantam and the other early “jeeps” – Jeep – Its development and procurement under the Quartermaster Corps, 1940-1942.  It’s available at Amazon.com and other bookstores.
What were the jeeps before they were called jeeps?

What were the jeeps before they were called jeeps?

Today we know what a “JEEP” is and can easily recognize it as a product of Chrysler Group LLC.  But back at the beginning there was quite a bit of confusion as all these vehicles looked a like to most civilians and military men as well.  But there were differences to be sure and in the end only one design could be selected.

Pilots – BRC (”1″), Pygmy, Budd and Quad.  These were models required to be tested and accepted prior to production of the contracted order. The Budd was not accepted nor tested by the US Army and was returned to Ford.

Bantam on test.Bantam Pilot on test

Engineering Models or Educational Order – BRC-60s.  An educational order was used to test the merit of the proposed product and to test the ability of the contractor to deliver the contracted item.

Prototypes – BRC-40, GP and MA (orders that started with 1500 each for experimentation and further development – order totalled more than 1500 as requirements increased as the war in Europe progressed.). These were models “rushed” into production and widely tested.

Bantam BRC

Above, is pictured a Bantam BRC-40 (one of the “1500″).

Ford GP

Above is pictured the Ford GP (one of the “1500″)

Willys MA

Willys-Overland MA, pictured above (one of “1500″)

Standardized – MB/GPW (Willys awarded the contract for the first 16,000 “standardized” 1/4-tons and subsequently the QMC negotiated with Ford to be an alternate supplier). The US Army wanted to standardized on one vehicle, reducing the logistical support obligations to one vehicle instead of three very different vehicles.

girl sitting on jeep.

Postwar picture of one of the thousands of 1/4-tons built by Ford.  It is a GPW built under license by Ford to Willys specifications.  Willys-Overland  had the primary contract and built the majority of 1/4-tons (Model MB) for the war.

In my example, as far as I know only the BRC and Pygmy were “accepted” and led to further production under contract. Well, this is not exactly true–Willys submitted the Quad in Nov 1940 and according to Senate testimony it failed…but because of weight (no mention of engine failures or requiring three engines here). The Willys “pilot” was not accepted until June or July 1941! It was not fully tested according to testimony but was examined.

We see an example of “pilot” in the contract language I listed earlier. Interesting enough, the testimony by Mr. Fenn (Pres of American Bantam Car Co.) on August 6, 1941 indicated he built 70 pilot models! During the hearing those 70 are also referred to as an “educational order”.

Further testimony during the Senate hearings from a Col Van Deusen indicates at least the QMC position. The orders (1500) from Bantam, Ford and Willys were “test purposes”. Originally, it was supposed to be 500 from each supplier. “The 1,500 cars were to be as experimental development type for service tests, quantity tests in service…” A Mr. Fulton on the committee, “And that was because you wanted to experiment further before standardizing your specifications?”. Van Deusen, “That is true.” This really sounds like “prototype” to me.

For more about the early jeeps you might be interested in my book: BANTAM, FORD AND WILLYS-1/4-TON RECONNAISSANCE CARS. Another good book covering the early jeep history is by H. Rifkind, Jeep – Its development and procurement under the Quartermaster Corps, 1940-1942.

The very first 1/4-ton reconnaissance and liaison car as built by the first producer—American Bantam Car Co. This car was delivered to Holabird Quartermaster Depot on September 11, 1940. (photo courtesy of William Spear.)

If you are interested in finding out more about the Bantam jeep, you might be interested in BANTAM, FORD AND WILLYS-1/4-TON RECONNAISSANCE CARS. Available from Amazon.com and other booksellers.

You never know what is going to show up on the Internet.  Past editions of the Field Artillery are posted on the web.  For example, one issue contains an article entitled, “The Versatile Jeep“.  The article was written by Captain George Ruhlen, 3d FA.

There are a few pictures of the early “round nose” Bantam BRCs and one picture of a Ford GP.

A note of interest in hour fuel price conscious world of today: “Gas consumption on both long and short trips on roads and trails was about 30 to 34 miles per gallon. Cross country and over difficult terrain this dropped to about 27 miles per gallon. “

There are many more articles on the website that cover various aspect of the Army and Field Artillery in particular.

You also might be interested in Jeep – Its development and procurement under the Quartermaster Corps, 1940-1942 which is an interesting historical work written shortly after the jeep entered service.

Come on over to 42FordGPW.com and check out our information about WW2 jeeps.  Visit a spell and take a look at our sponsors.

Army Tests BAntam Truck

American Bantam Car Company delivered the first vehicle that would soon come to be called the “jeep”.  Even the very first example has many characteristics of the original, general shape of the body, fold down windshield and lights inboard of the vendors.  It was also a very light vehicle and the Infantry loved it.  Though first, through an unfortunate serious of events, the Bantam lost out to Willys.  The main event is often said that Bantam was too little and couldn’t meet production.  It is true that they were on their last legs when they got the first order.  Little known is that the Army directed them to slow production!  In the final analysis, Willys had the lowest bid and the government watchdogs forced the Army to give the contract to Willys instead of Ford.

Bantam - The First To Deliver Jr. Spaghetti TankThe first 1/4-ton developed for the US Army for WW2, now on a color Spaghetti Tank.  Great for your WW2 jeep loving wife or girlfriend.Our spaghetti tank from American Apparel will keep you in style year round. Made of soft 100% superfine combed cotton baby rib, this tank provides the perfect silhouette.

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Available in FOUR colors: lemon, white, light blue and light pink.  Only 17.99 (price subject to change) plus shipping.

Purchase on line by clicking the link or by calling 877.809.1659  and giving the operator the product number 140095412.

This is a great gift for the early jeep enthusiast, order now for Christmas!

Bantam, Where it all began Mil Green or Navy T
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Questions? Order by Phone! 877 809-1659
Bantam, Where it all began Mil Green or Navy T

Bantam was the first “jeep” used by the Army.  These are great t-shirts to show support for the little company that could–build the FIRST 1/4-ton vehicle that would become known as the “jeep”.  These vehicles were built by Willys and Ford in large quantities during WW2 but it was Bantam that was FIRST.

MAKES A GREAT GIFT!

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An article on the LDI (Laser Design, Inc) website discusses how Todd Paisley wanted to resurrect a 1940 Bantam prototype jeep.  The job  for LDI was to take an original but badly rusted and damaged frame and see if they could scan it.

The purpose of the scan would be to generate a CAD plan so that a copy could be made.  The article discusses that the jeep had been in a failed parachute drop thus explaining the damage.

For more about the Bantam jeeps check outBANTAM, FORD AND WILLYS—1/4-TON RECONNAISSANCE CARS.  The 1/4-ton, 4×4, truck of World War Two started out in thBANTAM, FORD AND WILLYS—1/4-TON RECONNAISSANCE CARSe 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.

You also might be interested in A WW2 Jeep History by H. Rifkind.
If you are interested in the history of the development of the jeep there is little substitute for the first effort done by H. Rifkind. This book was written from the Quartermaster Corps’ perspective but draws on numerous resources and documentation to put together a pretty good picture of what happened. What makes it even more valuable is that it actually lists the sources. So if you can figure where and how to find them, you find a gold mine of information to research. I know that I have used this information to track down at least one of the players in the jeep story–Major General George Lynch, Chief of Infantry. The Infantry was instrumental in development of the jeep project–they saw the need long before anyone or any other agency jumped on the bandwagon.

Jeep – Its development and procurement under the Quartermaster Corps, 1940-1942 gives a great run down of the early history of the jeep written near the time that the events actually happened.  If you love old jeeps, you will want this book.

Also check out our other books at our 42 Ford GPW bookstore complete with Jeep related apparel.

History of the jeep by Rifkind is a very good read covering the very earliest beginnings of the vehicle that would become known as the jeep.

If you are interested in the history of the development of the jeep there is little substitute for the first effort done by H. Rifkind. This book was written from the Quartermaster Corps’ perspective but draws on numerous resources and documentation to put together a pretty good picture of what happened.

Even the jeep like the Bantam pilot could get stuck! Or is it!! Just put into four wheel drive and go!

What makes it even more valuable is that it actually lists the sources. So if you can figure where and how to find them, you find a gold mine of information to research. I know that I have used this information to track down at least one of the players in the jeep story–Major General George Lynch, Chief of Infantry. The Infantry was instrumental in development of the jeep project–they saw the need long before anyone or any other agency jumped on the bandwagon.

Jeep – Its development and procurement under the Quartermaster Corps, 1940-1942 is available from Amazon.com.  Makes a great gift for the WW2 jeep enthusiast!  Buy now for the Holidays.

Also check out our other books at our 42 Ford GPW bookstore complete with Jeep related apparel.