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1944: Mayor Heine buys the first Jeep for Civilians

• CATEGORIES: Bantam-FordGP-WillysMA-EarlyJPs, Features, Old News Articles, Women & Jeeps This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

UPDATE 3: Cblynch posted an update to this information on site.  He notes that Randy Withrow in Alabama owns the below GP and also owns all the original photos.  Apparently, the woman driving the GP died a few years ago. (Thanks Simon).  Also, you can see an additional photo from Bergs yard in this thread. Finally, to GP1942 from G503, I’m glad you are enjoying the content, but please add a link saying you found the info at ewillys when copying and pasting it into other sites.

UPDATE 2: After further review, and based on Lindsay’s comments, I would say that the first BRC is a BRC-40.  The TWO jeeps in front of that are BRC-60s (made after the original BRC prototypes and before the BRC-40).

UPDATE:  A reader named Lindsay was kind enough to provide an update to this story:

Lindsay writes, “An interesting note about the article with the mayor that purchased the GP in 1944. That vehicle was tracked down by Ken Hake years ago and restored several years later. The 3 smaller photo’s at the bottom bottom right is a photo of Bergs Jeep parts in Chicago note the first one is a Bantam BRC 40 the one in the front of that is a very early “round nose” BRC of which only one still exists and belongs to the Smithsonian. This proves that round nose BRC’s were released and sold to the public. I sure would like to find one of those in a barn.”

The military started selling jeeps to civilians in 1944.  By all accounts, Mayor Heine, of Lucas Kansas, and his family were the very first purchasers of a Military jeep for civilian use.  Here is a Life Magazine Article about the Heines and the related images from the January 4, 1944, issue of Life Magazine (page 24 & 27).  I bet they wished the jeep came with a top and a heater!

NOTE:  The jeep below is a Ford GP


Fred Heine would late purchase an early CJ-2A, as captured in these press photos that landed for sale on eBay in 2014:

This is a second press photo of a photo sold two months ago. The caption is the same, though it has slightly different marks.

“1945 Press Photo Hutchinson Kansas Fred Heine buys Jeep for farm, H Woodring”



For comparison, here is what the photo and caption from October 2014 looked like:




14 Comments on “1944: Mayor Heine buys the first Jeep for Civilians

  1. Mitch

    Sad to see them all lined up like that looking in as good of shape as they did probably being scrounged for parts…Makes you wonder what happened to all that history…

  2. deilers

    Hi Simon,

    I clicked on that link, but I could see any particular post. If I posted there, it would be under the username ‘moabman1’. However, I don’t remember posting there.

    – D

  3. Jason Feil

    The owner of this first civilian purchased Jeep was my great-great uncle. I grew up in Lucas, Kansas and spent much time on the family farm. I believe this Jeep makes it rounds on and off display in the Smithsonian, but not 100% sure…… Cool article !!!

  4. Wyatt H.

    I researched the History of this Jeep last year when my Dad asked about it. I found that it’s on display at the U.S.Veterans Memorial Museum in Huntsville Alabama. My father was there when it arrived in Lucas. He performed the first civilian repair when Fred was unable to start it.

  5. Mark S.

    Wyatt, Thanks for the video link, one of the best historical films I have seen on the subject. I have seen some still photos taken from scenes depicted in this video, I believe Dave has posted some of them. The middle of the video depicts an MB instead of the GP, I wonder if that also belonged to Mayor Heine?

  6. David Eilers

    Definitely an oldie, but a goodie. I just saw that one hit Facebook tonight, too. Merry Christmas Dan!

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