To Top

The First “Jeep”: Minneapolis Moline NTX

• CATEGORIES: Features, Other 4x4s

UPDATE: The article below is one of a number of articles highlighting the “JEEP” Tractor from Minneapolis-Moline Implement Company: The NTX. One or both units were also tested at Holabird, so the term ‘jeep’ used to describe a vehicle didn’t originate with the Bantam, Ford, or Willys prototypes. 

Clipping from Lansing State Journal -

Published in the Lansing State Journal, Lansing, Michigan, August 22, 1940.

According to a Hemmings article, the name ‘Jeep’ originated with Sergeant James O’Brian in August of 1940:

The UTX went to the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, but earned its place in history in August 1940 at Camp Ripley, Minnesota, when Sergeant James T. O’Brien of the 109th Ordnance Company of the Minnesota National Guard noted the overall proficiency of the tractors, especially when pulling a stuck howitzer out of the mud. Inspired by the “Eugene the Jeep” character in the Popeye comic strip, O’Brien first hung from the tractor’s radiator cap a sign painted with the word “Jeep,” then painted the word “Jeep” itself on the flanks of the tractor.

Minneapolis-Moline chronicled the christening in a wartime advertisement: “This new MM army vehicle was not a crawler, tractor, truck nor tank, and yet it could do almost anything and it knew all the answers. Because of this, it brought to mind the Popeye cartoon figure called ‘Jeep’ which was neither fowl nor beast, but knew all the answers and could do almost anything.”


Originally Published December of 2014:

However, the short comings of the NTX coupled with the introduction of the Bantam BRC in late September doomed the 6 NTXs produced to the role of a jeep footnote.

It doesn’t mean the NTX isn’t worth anything. An NTX in 2012 fetched $29,000 at an auction.

This article was first posted in 2016 on eWillys:

This August 1940 Spokane Daily Chronicle article is a reminder that the name “Jeep” was used prior to the construction of the first Bantam jeep. In this case, it was used on the Minneapolis-Moline NTX tested at Camp Ripley.



2 Comments on “The First “Jeep”: Minneapolis Moline NTX

  1. Steve E.

    Cool Machine! I never heard of one. Thanks for the education.
    It’s a good thing I don’t go to auctions. I couldn’t understand a word he was sayin’. He’s never make it as a newscaster.

    **Steve E.**


    They were also used in the Pacific theatre for moving aircraft around on the tarmacks. Most were sold for scrap after the war before they made it back to the USA.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe without commenting