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The Story of the Bantam BRC … A Movie?

• CATEGORIES: Features This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

UPDATE: Paul Bruno (aka the History Czar) provided a nice response to this post about his movie effort.  Please check it out.

Some of you might remember the video I posted back in 2009 of the recreated, original BRC (if you haven’t, check it out here).  It seems that the Bantam and its owner, Duncan Rolls, have been touring a bit, landing in an interview with the History Czar in August of 2010 (both the History Czar, seated, and Duncan are pictured below from Nov 2010).

In December of 2010, the Czar blogs about “his and his wife’s 11 year odyssey, along with Max Freedman these past 5 years, to have a feature film made about the creation of the first Jeep, the Bantam Reconnaissance Car (BRC),  in Butler, PA USA during the summer of 1940.”  So, the Czar seems to have a real passion for the Jeep story.

You can go here to check out their facebook page and follow their journey to make a movie:!/pages/The-Jeep-An-American-Triumph/110738008090

Read more about the premise and synopsis here.

I read through the premise and synopsis.  Personally, I’d take a little different tack with the story.  I would place the true story of the original jeep as the background for telling another, fictional story about some type of relationship (love story like the Titanic, father/son, coming of age, etc).

I’ve thought a lot about this because I too have wondered about developing a jeep themed movie, though it would be about the heyday of jeeping/trail riding/clubs/racing of the 70s.

A good example of how such a story, like the Bantam story, doesn’t work as a stand-alone story line can be seen in the Tucker movie.  While I enjoyed the movie, because it was a story about the struggle to make a cool car, most people weren’t all that compelled to go see it, because of the same reason — it was only about the struggle to make this cool car.

That’s just my 2 cents, which might not even be worth that much.


5 Comments on “The Story of the Bantam BRC … A Movie?

  1. Bob

    If I made a movie about Jeeps it would be based on the book “The Year of the Jeep.” I loved that book as a kid.

  2. Jean Luc

    I totally agree with your suggestion that the (film) history of the prototype should be meshed with a parallel romantic story involving people.
    Like it or not, not many younger people today know or care about the first jeeps or, for that matter, about WW2 or Korea.
    I was driving my GPW the other day and some teenagers asked me if I built that “contraption” myself…
    Not very encouraging but we can not blame them.
    I got my first ride in a jeep in 1944 when the Allied Armies liberated Belgium. The GIs of the 238th Combat Engineers were extraordinary people. I’ll never forget them and their jeeps.

  3. mmdeilers Post author

    Hi Jean,

    Thanks for the feedback. Given the American culture’s enduring fascination with WW2, one of my favorite history questions to ask people is which day did the US declare war formally and enter WW2. It just seems to me that Roosevelt ‘imfamized’ that date with the speech he gave the following day.

    I made the mistake once of overhearing a conversation with 2 people, who were both in their 40s, at a Trader Joes grocery store in California. They were trying to decide when WW2 started. When I could see they were completely clueless about the years, I piped up and said, well it depends. For the US it started on Dec 8, 1941, the europeans had other dates, depending on the country, and the Asians had still other dates.

    As I left, I overheard one of them ask the other, ‘does he just sit and watch the History Channel all day long’? I just shook my head walking out of the store, answering them in my head, “No, I read books! You all should try it sometime.”

    Wow, sounds like you have quite a story! I would really enjoy hearing or reading more about it if you have the time. Feel free to email me at!

  4. Paul Bruno


    Thank you for blogging about our movie and Duncan Rolls’ recreated BRC. It was a real privilege to be able to sit in that vehicle. You could just feel the history!

    I appreciate your comments on the film. Actually, our first script was more like you suggested, so we understand where you’re coming from there. However, as we learned more about the real events surrounding what happened in Butler in the summer of 1940, we realized that truth was better than fiction. As it is said, you can’t make this stuff up.

    Our movie centers on how Roy Evans became “The Father of the Jeep” by building the very first Jeep; his story, therefore, as it relates to the creation of the prototype. We focused on him and the experiences of the people who did the impossible, and dealt with all the pressure surrounding them — the war, the politics of the procurement vis a vis Detroit, and the challenges they had to overcome to build the prototype in such a short time.

    Different from Tucker, you have much more going on than just a guy trying to build a car and much more at stake, basically, the winning or losing of the war. Without Bantam’s prototype, there may have been no Jeep. The Jeep was credited by Dwight Eisenhower as one of the three reasons we won the war, because of the mobility it provided allied troops.

    Thanks again for mentioning our project.

    Paul Bruno
    Creator, The Jeep: An American Triumph film project

  5. David Eilers

    Hi Paul,

    Thank you for your comments and thank you for clarifying the history of your project. And please don’t interpret my comments as any less than 100% hope that your film succeeds, because I’d enjoy seeing the film made! Any cursory web search reveals that most people have no clue how the jeep began with Bantam. For example, a co-founder of Paypal Peter Thiel, now a premier Silicon Valley mover-shaker, informed the world of Wired Magazine that:

    “The Internet may be culturally important, just as the automobile was culturally more important in the ’50s than the ’20s, as we got suburbia and built the Interstate Highway System. But the last successful car company started in the US was Jeep in 1941.”

    Peter Thiel, Wired Magazine, January 25th, 2010

    Naturally, I responded to Wired with a letter-to-the-editor about the correct history of the three main jeep competitors involved. As you can imagine, my letter hardly shook the venerable and virtual halls of Wired Magazine. While the editor politely thanked me for my “interesting correction” and noted that he forwarded my information to the letters’ editor, the correction never appeared in print and, as best I can tell, never saw the light of internet on the web.

    So, if I or readers can do anything to help you, please let me know! (

    Best of luck,


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