Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone but especially the GIs overseas.

Ford GP on the production line - May, 1941

American Memory Digital Item Display – oem2002000645/PP

The Ford GP body after being lowered, is securely fastened to the chassis and the headlights adjusted.  Ford River Rouge plant. The letters “GP” did not stand for “General Purpose”.  Those letters G stood  for government, and P for the jeep’s 80 inch-wheelbase.   There is evidence from the original WW2 Army Motors that the GP letters were pronounced as “GEEP.”  It only shows up twice in print to my knowledge….so it isn’t perfect proof but remains an interesting side-bar.


In the above close up we have a round nose BRC-60 in front of a later Bantam BRC-40. Note the rear fuel tank cap on the passenger side.

In the picture, we have a round nose BRC-60 in front of a later Bantam BRC-40.   Note the rear fuel tank cap on the passenger side.

Okay, sorry, this has nothing to do with Valentines Day 1943.  This is really about surplussing jeeps during WW2. The jeeps that were released were examples of the first 60 produced and also some pre-standardized jeeps like the Ford GP.

An article appeared in the St. Petersburg Times – Sep 24, 1943 dealing with the concerns over military supplies and the surplus expected when the war ended.  The Army was concerned with surplusing equipment at this stage of the war.  According to the Army to many people thought the war was just about over.  Various business concerns and farmers would be able to apply priority to purchase used equipment.

The January 3, 1944 issue of Life magazine had an article that covered surplus sales to Berg of Chicago.  He would go on to become the “king” of surplus jeep and parts after the war. What is interesting is that he obtained several of the early Bantam’s for sale.  Early as in the first order!  Check out the pictures  in What Became of the Bantam Round Nose BRCs?

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.
Just about everybody loves the movies.  A movie with a WW2 jeep makes it even better!

Just about everybody loves the movies. A movie with a WW2 jeep makes it even better!

In the early days of WW2 there weren’t  enough jeeps for the Army so there sure weren’t any jeeps for the movie industry.  Hollywood had to build their own replicas.  An audience that had only recently learned about the jeep wasn’t likely to know they were seeing a replica.  It looked like a jeep….ran like a jeep…so it must have been a jeep.  Laurel and Hardy go thru their comic antics and during parts of the movie, “Great Guns!”, they use their jeep during manuevers.

See the December 5, 1941 review that appeared in the St. Petersburg Times.

Ya duzn't have to be a cartoon to appreciate Joe Dope!

A rubber jeep to win the war?

A rubber copy of the WW2 jeep used as a decoy to fool the enemy.A rubber copy of the WW2 jeep used as a decoy to fool the enemy.

Tricking the enemy required a lot of effort.  One effort included the use of various types of decoys.  These rubber decoys were relatively light weight and could easily be moved by allied troops.  There were rubber copies of jeeps, trucks, tanks and guns–all put to good use in fooling the enemy into thinking we were where we weren’t!

The original caption from the St. Petersburg Times – Dec 22, 1945, “Synthetic JEEPS – Here’s a jeep you simply blow up like you do a tire. It doesn’t go anywhere, of course, but it is designed to deceive at distances up to 500 feet. Pneumatic jeep, high fidelity model, is one of many used as decoys during the war. Tanks and guns were also made of rubber for purposes of subterfuge. (Signal Corps Photo from Acme.)”

Jill, The Girl Next Door

Ernie Pyle, the famous WW2 war-time correspondent  was credited by Delmar G. Roos, engineering vice president of Willys-Overland for the internal expanding parking brake.  Ernie had written about the Willys jeep in April 1943 that, “I don’t think we could continue the war without the jeep.”
He went on to say the jeep needed a new parking brake because the then current brake was useless.  He said that except for the brake, “the jeep is a divine instrument of wartime locomotion.”  An article appeared in the St. Petersburg Times – Apr 21, 1944 entitled, “Ernie Pyle Credited For New Brake On Army Jeeps.”
Are your joints okay?

The joint is covered in TM 9-1803B (it covers all three used by the jeep during the war), so it’s not overly difficult to work on these….with patience.

What goes into the knuckle?

The WW2 Military Jeep Manual
and the lubrication guide says to use CG Grease. This is grease, general purpose either No. 1 for temps over 32F or No. 0 for temps below 32F. This is more or less the same grease you would use for your wheel bearings (except that calls for No. 2 grease).

I have the the Rzeppa knuckles and these are not all that difficult to take apart and clean and then put back together (though it is a puzzle and I would not want to have to do this blindfolded).

When you take apart the knuckle do not reuse the old seal. They are not that expensive and it is relatively easy to install.

Now there are others that would have you put a liquid or semi-liquid in the axles. I’m not sure why.

Putting grease in and on the knuckle s have never left them “dry” in the 30 years I’ve had my jeep…and I have taken the axle apart way too many times. These folks swear by “knuckle pudding”, you just mix it up some grease and some oil, blend till smooth yet liquid and then all you have to do is squirt this stuff in like it was a differential. I personally trust the original manufacturer instructions….and for 26 years I have never had a leak….well, from the steering knuckles anyway!

In the differentials use what is specified by the manufacturer. All of the parts (transmission, transfer case and differentials) take SAE 90 (32F and above), or SAE 80 (32F to 0F) or SAE 70 (below 0F). Here I have compromised and usually go with a “mixed” blend rated as 80w90. You can also find 75w90 but I don’t many would need that. And of course at places like NAPA you can find straight 90. Being in the UK, I doubt naming a brand here will do you much good. It should be easy to purchase any lube that meets a generally accepted standard.

But do stay away from things like 80w140 as this may help your components to generate excessive heat and lead to failure. I believe this is what I was running (Before I knew better) when my T-84J suffered major tooth failure on the cluster gear.

If the knuckle is a Rzeppa, I know for certain it will not just come apart in your hands — unless maybe it is damaged. I do the work generally by myself so I don’t have three, four or five hands to pitch in.

Read the manual, read the manual then read the manual…ask questions. Do it! You will be surprised at how easy this is. I have taken apart the entire knuckle and king pin assemblies and installed all new parts and set the tension, etc. It took me awhile but wasn’t all that difficult.

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 G503.com 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)

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 subject of using silicone versus regular brake fluid comes up several times a year among old vehicle collectors.

Silicone brake fluid: yes or no?

Silicone brake fluid: yes or no?

Regular brake fluid can be a good paint remover. Of course, if you plan ahead for a spill, it isn’t that big a deal. But is silicone brake fluid the be all, end all cure for poor paint surfaces and poor maintenance technique? Consider that while silicone will not remove paint, it can lead to what is called “cupping” where paint will not adhere to the surface being painted. So it could be a concern if you have to do any touch ups at a later time.

Which to use? Appears to settle upon a few factors:

1. If your preventive maintenance skills are lax then the use of silicone is likely your best bet. If you are capable of changing your brake fluid every couple of years then perhaps glycol is best for you.

2. If you can’t fill the master cylinder without spilling it all over your painted surface then perhaps silicone is the way to go. However, be forewared that while silicone doesn’t eat paint it keeps it from adhering to the surface and leads to “cupping”.

3. If you have more money then time then silicone is perhaps best for you. In most places the same quantity of silicone is several times the cost of glycol. But on the flip side you will need to replace your glycol several more times than silicone.

4. Do you drive your jeep thru water, wet roads when it rains? The jeeps’, like many brake systems are open to the atmosphere. Glycol is designed to absorb moisture and has inhibitors designed to reduce corrosion. Silicone is not designed to absorb water.  Moisture will pool in silicone and can lead to corrosion.

5. Spongy feeling. Silicone has a higher compressability then glycol which can lead to a spongy brake pedal sensation. Silicone has a slower pour rate (higher viscosity) than glycol. This may explain why it can be difficult to bleed the air from silicone equipped brakes. Once air is mixed into silicone (bubbles) it can take a long while to bleed it out.

Check out these articles:

http://www.adlersantiqueautos.com/articles/brake1.html http://www.adlersantiqueautos.com/articles/brake2.html

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