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?
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 first jeep and it's by Bantam!

The first jeep and it’s by Bantam!

The WW2 jeep is famous around my house.  My grandsons, Marcos (10 yo) and his brother, Carlos (8.5 yo) love to ride in the jeep.  Every time they see the 1942 Ford GPW they say, “Can we go for a ride, grandpa?”  Who am I to turn them down?  Mainly we stick to the yard.  The jeep goes around trees and up and down little hills.  Next we blaze a trail through the neighborhood on familar streets.  Then it’s back to the yard and around the house a couple of more times before the jeep settles down and is put back in the garage.  The neighbors may think I’m nuts…but my grandsons think I’m the greatest!  What would you do?

You also might be interested in a book that I wrote about grandpa and WW2 jeeps, Grandpa’s War Pony is a book I wrote for my grandchildren to explain what a WW2 jeep was and how it was used.

Perhaps the greatest instrument of war to come out of the Second World War and forged into something still in use today is arguably—the 1/4-ton reconnaissance car or jeep. The jeep during WW2 was a new and speedy little vehicle designed to get in and go where motorcycles couldn’t go. It was the baby of a little company called American Bantam Car Company and the U. S. Army’s Infantry Branch.

The book is filled with colorized photos that have been stylized in a “cartoon” manner to help maintain children’s interest.

Jill, American Girl from WW2

Jill, American Girl from WW2

The Great American Pin UpThe Great American Pin Up

WW2 and pin-ups?   The pin-up was a very popular “art form” during WW2.  There are a lot of books that have been written about pinups.   The Great American Pin-Up (Midi) is one of the ones that I like.  It has a collection of art from many different artists and from many decades.  The book does a great job of covering the subject.  You might be interested in it as well. The Great American Pin-Up (Midi) is available from

There are other books celebrating the pin-up.  Here’s another one you might like, 1000 Pin-Up Girls (25th Anniversary Special Edtn).

I love to read books about WW2 jeeps, don't you?

I love to read books about WW2 jeeps, don’t you? Jeeps at War: Robert A. Fletcher This is a cute book written and illustrated by the Fletcher family.  In fact three generations of Fletchers collaborated to create the book.  The book is great for children or those casually interested in jeep facts.  The book claims that 350,000 jeeps were produced for the US and that 250,000 were built for use by our allies.  One of the many drawings shows what looks like a WW2 jeep with a postwar winter enclosure with doors.  Other facts are just as strained, “jeeps were droopped by parachutes or delivered by gliders.” Really? The only evidence I’ve ever seen is that jeeps were delivered by gliders.The book is in my collection and I won’t part with it.  It’s nearly perfect for children who won’t get caught up in the details but will enjoy the story line and the pictures.  You can find this book at – Jeeps at War.

Army Jill and the WW2 jeep.

The jeep and pin-ups just seem to go together.  During WW2 pin-ups were a highly desired commodity by most GIs.

For the Boys

According to’s website, “A lavishly illustrated scrapbook of World War II pin-up memorabilia, For The Boys showcases the morale-boosting pin-up calendars, postcards, cartoons, matchbooks, and playing cards that sweethearts, wives, and relatives sent from the home front to their men in the armed forces.  ”

Check it out – For the Boys: The Racy Pin-Ups of World War II.


Take aim at this book!  I think you will like it. I know I did.

The JEEP in every possible condition.THE JEEP IN EVERY POSSIBLE CONDITION: Or, How to Restore Your Jeep This book is written in French and English.  While it isn’t really a “how to” manual strictly speaking, it does offer enough interesting details to be well worth the price.   The book is a “step by step” outline on how to repair or restore your jeep.  Not everything is covered like indicating which year of jeep should have what specific detail.  But it did have a lot of pictures on engine assembly and things to look out for. Pictures covering the transmission, transfer case and axles, too.   The book stops being about repairing or rebuilding your jeep with page 81.  There are a few WW2 pictures that are interesting.

What is confusing about this book is that it includes some jeep oddities that frankly look like “Bubba” would be really interested in this book. The rest of the  book has pictures of a stretched jeep as well as documenting how one of the authors built a Willy MB 6×6 using some “found” Dodge parts.  It’s a part of my book collection and I encourage you to check this book out on  You can find it easily by clicking the link  – THE JEEP IN EVERY POSSIBLE CONDITION: Or, How to Restore Your Jeep.

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 and other bookstores.

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.

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.

Which book to buy depends on what you want to do or are able to do.  The most common book is the TM 9-803, 9-1803A and B, if you are going to be doing maintenance and repairs yourself this is certainly the one to get.

You might also consider the electronic version as well! It is so very important to own these manuals because they tell you the basics of what you need to know. What grade oil to use? How do you service the brakes?

If you are not mechanically inclined or understand the wartime technologies you might be interested in the following two books:


Army Jill recommends that if you don’t know how to polarize your generator or have questions on how to trouble shoot various parts of your vehicle that you consider purchasing:

Automotive Trouble Shooting for WW2 Vehicles, Volume 1Automotive Trouble Shooting For WW2 Vehicles, Volume 1 (Garage Edition)
Synopsis: The GARAGE version comes with a spiral wire binding so that the book can lay flat! Automotive Trouble Shooting For World War Two Wheeled Vehicles, Volume 1, is a useful manual for anyone. Do you know what to do when the cranking motor will not crank the engine? Engine fails to start? No spark? Misfiring at high speeds or under full load? Problems with your battery or battery cables? Do you know how to adjust your breaker points? Inspect the coil? Do you know how to polarize the generator? Use a jump wire to test your main light switch? Adjust your headlights? Trouble shoot your carburetor or fuel pump? All these and much more are covered. Put a copy in your truck for those little roadside emergencies!


Automotive Trouble Shooting for WW2 Vehicles, Volume 2Automotive Trouble Shooting For WW2 Wheeled Vehicles, Volume 2 (Garage Edition)
Synopsis: 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. 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 Hydro-vac brakes? Its all here and much more. Put a copy in your WW2 truck for those little roadside emergencies!Originally produced by the US Govt, Ordnance School, Aberdeen Proving Ground, August, 1945.Edited by Robert Notman

Buy the parts book ‘Ordnance Catalog SNL – G503, 1944’. There are several other WW2 parts books available but that one is a good start. Why do you need this one? Well, it contains a lot of pictures of the parts so that you can see either what you need to fix. Sometimes it is helpful in figuring out how the pieces go back together! See here for more!

‘All American Wonder” vol I & II and this will give you the tear down and build up sequences. These were the granddaddy books of the jeep restoration “movement”. Ray Cowdery did us all a huge service for putting this information together. When some of us started on are jeeps these were not available and when they become available it was like manna from heaven.

Ren’s book, The WWII Jeep Guidebook is likely the best book to have prior to either buying the jeep (not your case of course) or beginning a restoration. While the AA1 2 and even 3 are wonderful books, I wouldn’t call them restoration guides. More like restoration hints complete with wonderful gems of information and landmines! Forget not having your oil filter connected, bad advice.

You can always ask a lot of questions on the but you really need some basic manuals to fully understand the jeep. Here is some additional advice based on Iowa’s (a G503 reader/poster) comments: Jeep Advice.

(Prices above, subject to change)