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The Official name for the Jeep — Peep? Bantam Car? Other?

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old News Articles

By April 1942 newspaper editors weren’t sure what to call the new fangled quarter-ton bantam-willys-ford invention. The problem was highlighted in this Sarasota-Herald-Tribune article which surveyed editors’ uses of different descriptive words. Note the naval editor’s response at the very bottom of the article.

1942-04-16-sarasota-herald-tribune-jeep-or-peep

Eventually, a decision was made. In May of 1942 newspapers announced the armored division officially named the quarter-ton command/reconnaissance car the ‘Peep’, while the half-ton armored car was called the ‘Jeep’. The Milwaukee Journal published two photos to help readers distinguish between the two.

1942-04-22-milwaukee-journal-jeep-peep

That’s a Ford GP at the top, while at the bottom is what I believe to be an early Dodge Command Car. You can view other earlier examples like the one above at the Command Car site.

This article in the Pittsburgh Press, in May of 1942 confirms that the names “jeep” and “peep” had been transformed from slang into legitimate words that could appear in dictionaries.

1942-05-24-pittsburgh-press-jeep-peep

 

As late as 1984, some WWII vets didn’t know why they called the jeep a peep. According to this article in the Spokane-Review, Patton’s 3rd Army Armored Division continued to call the jeep a peep throughout the war.

 

 

3 Comments on “The Official name for the Jeep — Peep? Bantam Car? Other?

  1. SE Pennsylvania Steve

    “The jeep is a nightmare and not recognized by the navy.”
    What does that mean??

  2. Josh

    I have a navy jeep maybe I’ll name it Nightmare. LOL
    Good stuff Dave; most of what I’ve seen on naming the “jeep” has been non-cited speculation.

  3. mmdeilers Post author

    Steve: I don’t know, but it made me laugh 🙂
    Josh: Thanks Josh. Old scanned newspapers on the Google news archives and Fultonhistory.com have proven to be very interesting in terms of building a jeep-name time line. The dated press photos have helped with that too.

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