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.

 

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.

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.

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.

You should use the following procedure for any old military vehicle--especially if the are new or at least new to you!
Just so you know–it is pronounced like “Will liss” and not like something that gives you the willies!

The Willys Quad photo attributed to Chrysler LLC.
Willys’ entry into the jeep race was the Quad. It arrived at Camp Holabird, MD on November 13, 1940. It was not a successful model with the result that Willys was not awarded a contract to produce jeeps until 1941 (after Bantam and Ford).  The Quad was just too heavy to be accepted. This forced Willys to go back to the drawing board and trim the vehicle down to size.  Meanwhile, Bantam and Ford were producing jeeps!
For more about the early Willys,  Bantam and Fords, check out – BANTAM, FORD AND WILLYS-1/4-TON RECONNAISSANCE CARS.

Willys MB (Early) Grille

Willys MB (Early) Grille

Wouldn't you just love to have a Willys MB Slat Grille?

Wouldn’t you just love to have a Willys MB Slat Grille?

Drawing of the grille or brush guard of the Willys-Overland MB. The drawing is copyrighted by o5m6.de and is used here with permission. This is the early version of the standardized jeep. Willys had won the contract for 16,000 standardized jeeps. Early production had a welded grille. Collectors often refer to these as “slate grille” jeeps.

Check out the excellent work of Oliver at http://www.o5m6.de/ for even more WW2 vehicles. The emphasis is on Russian vehicles but also includes foreign designed vehicles as used by the Russians. It’s a great site, check it out.

You might be interested in more about the WW2 jeep — Jeep – Its development and procurement under the Quartermaster Corps, 1940-1942.

Check out our website 42FordGPW and support our sponsors by clicking on their ads.

Willys MA Grille

Willys MA Grille

Drawing of the grille or brush guard of Willys-Overland’s MA. The drawing is copyrighted by o5m6.de and is used here with permission. Willys contracted to supply 1500 MA’s as their version of the pre-standardized jeep. It took Willys many months to produce an acceptable pilot model. This caused delays in production of the MA and is one reason there are so few MAs.

Check out the excellent work of Oliver at http://www.o5m6.de/ for even more WW2 vehicles. The emphasis is on Russian vehicles but also includes foreign designed vehicles as used by the Russians. It’s a great site, check it out.

There's no sense in worry about it.  The Willys MA is the rarest of the pre-standardized jeeps.

There’s no sense in worry about it. The Willys MA is the rarest of the pre-standardized jeeps. It sort of looked like a Bantam BRC-60..well..maybe not.

For more about the early jeeps check out BANTAM, FORD AND WILLYS-1/4-TON RECONNAISSANCE CARS.

Also, check out our website 42FordGPW and support our sponsors by clicking on their ads.

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.

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.

Which pre-standardized WW2 jeep was best? Was it the Bantam, Ford or Willys?

Do you wonder which pre-standardized WW2 jeep was best? Was it the Bantam, Ford or Willys?

Which vehicle was better? It all depends on what you were must interested in.  Certainly, the Willys had the more power but it also had the heaviest weight.  While the Bantam was the lightest and slowest of the three.

Bantam Ford Willys
Overall Rating 2 3 1
Grade Climbing Ability 2 3 1
Braking tests 1 3 2
Cross Country Ability 1 1 1
Highest Level Road Speed 59 mph 64 mph 74 mph
Fuel Consumption, speed range 20 to 50 mph 23.2 mpg 20.9 mpg 20.2 mpg
Turning Radius 20.4 ft 17.3 ft 19.4 ft
Grade Climbing 28° in low ratio second gear Succeeded, no reserve power Failed to reach top Topped raise at 10mph, great reserve
Best Features steering handbrake seats engine, superior, greater torque
springs springs top
headlights transmission, greater ease of shifting
front brake line protection front brake line protection
tire carrier radiator
gear shift location stronger frame
Unfavorable Features inaccessibility of handbrake performance poor driver’s position
difficulty fastening top gear shifting difficult leg room
carburetor failure on severe slopes steering unsatisfactory, wanders accelerator pedal location
difficult top setup handbrake location
carburetor failure on severe slopes gearshift lever location
carburetor failure on severe slopes
Price, net $946.04 $925.00 $949.41

For more information you might be interested in Jeep – Its development and procurement under the Quartermaster Corps, 1940-1942.  It’s available from Amazon.com and other booksellers.

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.