Bantam-FordGP-WillysMA-EarlyJPs Research Archives

Prior to the finalization of the MB Jeep, The American Bantam, Ford, and Willys all created pilot and prototype jeeps in an attempt to win Army contracts. Bantam built the very first jeep, the Bantam BRC. They also built the BRC-60 and BRC-40. Ford built the Pygmy, the Budd, and the GP. Willys built the Willys Quad and the Willys MA. Checker appears to have built one based on Bantam parts. Finally, are rumors of a jeep by York-Hoover, but I’ve never nailed down actual pictures. See this post: http://www.ewillys.com/2010/03/14/york-hoover-all-terrain-prototype/

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October 1945 Photos that Include a Willys MA

This October 30, 1945, photo coverage from the Rocky Mount Telegram, out of North Carolina, highlights the start of the 8th War Loan drive. It included a photo of a Willys MA leading a series of elephants.

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1941 Look Magazine Article “Hell on Wheels”

• CATEGORIES: Bantam-FordGP-WillysMA-EarlyJPs, Features, Magazine

The August 26, 1941, issue of Look Magazine included this large photo of a Bantam BRC-40. The caption, presumably written by the author of the article, Henry McLemorehistor reads:

THIS MOBILE CHIROPRACTOR I am driving is a half-ton reconnaissance car known to the unit as a Peep or Bo-Peep. It’ll go 60 mph, packs two machine guns, a crew of four. It will take you anywhere, provided you can hang on–actually covering worse terrain than a tank. As soon as the Army has enough Peeps, they will replace motorcycles as dispatch and reconnaissance vehicles. Like all armored-division vehicles, the Peep has four-wheel drive and handles as easily as the highest priced pleasure car. The difference is that you sit on a thin cushion over a steel seat and buckle yourself down with an airplane safety belt. “

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The above photo is from this two page spread:

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This is the magazine cover:

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1940 News Article — Fort Oglethorpe Receives Midget Autos

This December 22, 1940, article in the Birmingham News highlights the latest arrival of “midget automobiles” at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. I would imagine these are Bantam BRC-60s.

Clipping from The Birmingham News - Newspapers.com

 
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1991 ‘The First 50 Years’ Jeep Press Packet

Thanks to Maury, I was able to get this 1991 press packet off ebay and shipped for under $10. That’s a good day. It wasn’t clear to me all that was inside, but it turned out to be a heck of a deal. The three-page tri-fold stores photos, old press releases, histories, and a few miscellaneous items.

Here’s the front of the packet:

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These are the materials that are stored inside. There are four press releases, fourteen reproduction 8×10 photos, a 40-page AMC/Chrysler history, a jeep history that’s attached to the binder (see upper right corner), one March 1963 Jeep News front-page reproduction and a late 1940s wagon ad reproduction. Just the reproduction of the Willys Quad photo was worth the cost of this package (I’d never gotten around to getting one).jeep-pr-packet-05

I haven’t read this history just yet, but wasn’t in a hurry as I’ve already read this book on AMC’s history:

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Here’s how the binder looks when opened. The jeep history starts at the page in the middle.

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Under the last page of the jeep history is a holder for all the photos and other documents:

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Here are two 1990s press releases (I only took photos of the front pages):

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These are two 1980s press releases:

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The press release on the left is from early 1942 and covers the changing situation with America’s entry into WWII, while the one on the right is from 1965:

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The Jeep News reproduction page from March 1963 is shown on the left. It includes a report on the name change from Willys Motors to Kaiser Jeep and the Willys-Overland Export Corp. to Kaiser Jeep International Corp. The reproduction wagon ad on the right is from 1948 and includes details on which magazine and dates it appeared (I wish I had that database of information!).

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April 1943 “Jeep Club” Ad with Ford GP

• CATEGORIES: Bantam-FordGP-WillysMA-EarlyJPs, Features

This April 21, 1943, ad in the Victoria Advocate, out of Victoria, Texas, might just be the first organized ‘jeep club’. Though, to be fair, this was organized to buy a jeep for the military rather than to organized a group of jeep owners.

Clipping from Victoria Advocate - Newspapers.com

 
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Photos From the UTA Digital Collections

These photos come from the University of Texas at Arlington Digital Archives. You can see a some additional photos with jeeps here: https://library.uta.edu/digitalgallery-beta/subject/jeep-automobiles

Let’s start with this photo of a Willys MA dash:

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Fort Worth Star-Telegram Collection, University of Texas at Arlington Libraries. 56th Cavalry Brigade war maneuvers. (1941). Retrieved from https://library.uta.edu/digitalgallery-beta/img/20048164 … Brigadier General Walter B. Pyron, of Houston, Texas, commander of the 56th Brigade, shown behind the wheel of a jeep. He is wearing a military uniform and a small brimmed hat. He has his hands on the steering wheel and is looking behind him. Willys MA.

A lineup of Ford GPs:

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Fort Worth Star-Telegram Collection, University of Texas at Arlington Libraries. Camp Bowie Army Maneuvers . (1941). Retrieved from https://library.uta.edu/digitalgallery-beta/img/20048968 … The 18th Field Artillery Brigade’s 77th Field Artillery joins in retreating from an attack during a military training exercise at Camp Bowie. The first battalion is lined up for an evacuation, riding on “blitz buggies.” This battalion is from Fort Sill, Oklahoma. The rest of the 77th is stationed at Fort D. A. Russell, Marfa, Texas. The 77th and 142nd infantry are howitzer units of the brigade. Ford GPs.

Good side shot of a Ford GP:

Fort Worth Star-Telegram Collection, University of Texas at Arlington Libraries. Camp Bowie Army maneuvers: Lietenant General Walter Krueger with Major General Claude V. Birkhead and others. (1941). Retrieved from https://library.uta.edu/digitalgallery-beta/img/20053219 ... Camp Bowie Army maneuvers. Four military officers and one military personnel are pictured here. Lieutenant General (LIEUT. GEN.) Walter Krueger, seated in the front passenger seat, Third Army Commander, was in the field almost as much as the participating troops. Here he's leaving 36th Division command post after a conference with Major General (Maj. Gen.) Claude V. Birkhead, division commander, standing by the baby jeep. In the rear seat are, foreground, Lieutenant Colonel (Lieut Col.) George R. Barker, Third Army G-3, and Captain (Capt.) R. H. Chard, Krueger's aid. Driver is Private (Pvt.) Harvey Belote. All are dressed in military uniforms. Published in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram morning edition, June 15, 1941.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram Collection, University of Texas at Arlington Libraries. Camp Bowie Army maneuvers: Lietenant General Walter Krueger with Major General Claude V. Birkhead and others. (1941). Retrieved from https://library.uta.edu/digitalgallery-beta/img/20053219 … Camp Bowie Army maneuvers. Four military officers and one military personnel are pictured here. Lieutenant General (LIEUT. GEN.) Walter Krueger, seated in the front passenger seat, Third Army Commander, was in the field almost as much as the participating troops. Here he’s leaving 36th Division command post after a conference with Major General (Maj. Gen.) Claude V. Birkhead, division commander, standing by the baby jeep. In the rear seat are, foreground, Lieutenant Colonel (Lieut Col.) George R. Barker, Third Army G-3, and Captain (Capt.) R. H. Chard, Krueger’s aid. Driver is Private (Pvt.) Harvey Belote. All are dressed in military uniforms. Published in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram morning edition, June 15, 1941. Ford GPs.

Here’s an early Slat Grille MB:

Fort Worth Star-Telegram Collection, University of Texas at Arlington Libraries. Army Day Maneuvers: Rides in Dixie Jeeps. (1942). Retrieved from https://library.uta.edu/digitalgallery-beta/img/20053248

Fort Worth Star-Telegram Collection, University of Texas at Arlington Libraries. Army Day Maneuvers: Rides in Dixie Jeeps. (1942). Retrieved from https://library.uta.edu/digitalgallery-beta/img/20053248 …. Army Day Celebration. Jeep rides were given citizens when the 31st (Dixie) Division held open house here Sunday as part of the observance of Army Day. On this ride at Farrington Field were Alice McDonald (left) and Jaymie Dobbs, both of Fort Worth, Texas. Members of the Service Company, 155th Infantry, in the jeep are, left to right, Corporal (Corp.) J. H. Reeves, Private (Pvt.) Sam Burroughs, Private (Pvt.) Clyde Russell and Private (Pvt.) Hanson Dunegan. The group are riding in a jeep through Farrington Field. Background showing a goal post and stadium bleachers. Published in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram evening edition, April 6, 1942. Willys MB Slatgrille.

Post WWII pic:

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Fort Worth Star-Telegram Collection, University of Texas at Arlington Libraries. Circle Park School Parent-Teacher Association carnival . (1946). Retrieved from https://library.uta.edu/digitalgallery-beta/img/20058866 … Mr. R. M Baxter is giving a carnival preview ride to 2 pupils of Circle Park Elementary School, Donald Eagle, son of Mr. and Mrs. Don Eagle and Beverly Jean Burns, daughter of Mrs. and Mrs. C. A. Burns. Mr. Baxter will run a jeepney-ride concession at the Circle Park Elementary School Parent-Teacher Association annual carnival. His jeep has a banner of the PTA. Published in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram evening edition, October 16, 1946.

 
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1951 Jeepster Live Oak, FL $8500

• CATEGORIES: Bantam-FordGP-WillysMA-EarlyJPs, Jeepster, Wood bodies • TAGS: .

UPDATE: Back up for sale. 

(12/29/2017) Isn’t this just a little different? It’s sitting on a CJ-5 chassis.

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/171228887663624/

“1951 Custom Willys Jeepster Woody. Jeepster front body on 1974 CJ5 4×4 with custom woody back. Std. transmission 3 spd., 4.2 6 cyl. engine. 20″ extended frame. Runs good. Needs new tires and windshield wiper motor. Many new parts.”

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Article and Photos of the Bantam T2E1

UPDATE: An article from 1941 appears to describe the T2E1 Bantams shown in photos below (a few more photos here also). The article describes the rifles as 47mm, while the photo captions correctly describe the rifle as a 37mm. Perhaps the difference is that the article was written in July, while the photos were taken late in August? So, maybe, 47mm rifles might have been initially considered? (47mm anti-tank guns were developed by France as early as 1931)

This article was published July 21, 1941, in the Lansing State Journal out of Michigan:

Clipping from Lansing State Journal - Newspapers.com

Posted August of 2018:

“1941 Press Photo John McCloy & C.M. Drury inspect a new gun mounted on a jeep. This is an original press photo. As the Army’s first “Tank killer” battalion showed off its new fighting technique today, John McCloy (left) assistant secretary of way, and C.M. Drury, assistant special weapons–A 37m. anti-tank gun mounted on the famed “jeep” reconnaissance car. U.S. Army land vehiclesPhoto measures 9.5 x 6.5inches. Photo is dated 08-27-1941.”

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#2: Originally posted 05/08/2018

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Prototypes at Fort Custer, Michigan

Fort Custer, Michigan, appears to have been a testing ground for Ford and Willys prototypes. Along with the articles below, there are press photos posted from years passed. You’ll also note that some of the press photos have captions that are printed identically, but pencil-marked up differently. It’s possible someone was selling those as originals when they may not have been.

Here’s an article and a photo showing a couple Ford GPs being run hard, originally printed in the March 09, 1941, issue of the Battle Creek Enquirer:

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Clipping from Battle Creek Enquirer - Newspapers.com

It didn’t take long for the offload vehicles to become a hit with soldiers. This article appears in the March 25, 1941, issue of the Detroit Free Press:

1941-03-25-detroit-free-press-jeep-testing

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And, just to set the record straight, at Fort Custer a jeep was a jeep and not a ‘peep’.

Clipping from Battle Creek Enquirer - Newspapers.com

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These press photos have been gathered from older posts. First, a couple Willys MA photos from eBay:

This was posted on ebay in June 2017: “1942 Photo WW2 Era Fort Custer MI Versatile Jeep Military Push Ball Game RareYou are bidding on an original Press Photo from a newspaper archive. The photograph measures 6×7 inches and is dated 9-25-1942.”

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Learn(ing) About Blitz Buggies

• CATEGORIES: Bantam-FordGP-WillysMA-EarlyJPs, Features, Old Images

This post began as a single newspaper photo and caption titled “Learn About Blitz Buggies”  that Mario posted to Facebook. Just before I readied the post, I figured I’d see if there was a better quality version of the photo he posted.

To my surprise, when I searched for “About Blitz Buggies”, the results returned numerous seemingly press release photos over the summer and fall of 1941. No credit for the photos are provided. Given the titles are mostly identical and all showed various soldiers “working” (but probably posing) in front  Ford GPs, I can’t help but wonder if this was a subtle campaign by Ford Motors to encourage the adoption of the Ford GP “Blitz Buggy” by the military.

So, here are some random newspaper photos from 1941 (there are many more during 1941).

June 26, 1941, Manhattan Mercury out of Kansas:

1941-06-26-manhattan-mercury-ks-learning-about-blitz-buggies-fordgp-lores

June 17, 1941, Montgomery Advertiser out of Alabama (looks to me like the same person as above, yet the caption shows a different name):

1941-06-27-montgomery-advertiser-learning-about-blitz-buggies-fordgp-loresJuly 13, 1941, Akron Beacon out of Ohio:
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August 16, 1941, Star Gazette out of Elmira, New York:

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August 24, 1941, Austin American out of Texas (that Ford logo looks a little too obvious):

1941-08-24-austin-american-tx-learning-about-blitz-buggies-fordgp-lores

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September 1941 Article on Loosing The Army Contract

This September 28th, 1941, article covered the ‘cold shoulder’ given to American Bantam by War Department.

1941-09-28-pittsburgh-sun-telegraph-blitz-buggy-output-curbed-lores

 

 
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Bantam BRC-40 Photo

• CATEGORIES: Bantam-FordGP-WillysMA-EarlyJPs, Features, Old Images

This photo of a Bantam BRC-40 advertising for the Butler County, Pennsylvania, war chest is undated. It was posted to Facebook by the Butlers Standard Eight, a group the preserves early vehicle related information pertaining to Butler County.

https://www.facebook.com/ButlersStandardEight/photos/a.235857016453226/3119845178054381/?type=3&theater

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January 1942 Article From Scientific American “Meet the Jeep”

UPDATE: Don makes some good points in his comment below as to why there might not be any MBs pictured.

The January 1942 issue of Scientific American included an article titled “Meet the Jeep”, one I’ve been waiting about 7 years to snag. For some reason, though MBs were already being produced, no images of the MB were included. Instead, the first image shows a Ford GP. The second photo shows a Bantam BRC-40 T2E1.

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WWII Jeep Gets an Honorable Discharge

• CATEGORIES: Bantam-FordGP-WillysMA-EarlyJPs, Features, videos

UPDATE: Steve spotted a second version of this on Youtube (same video, but different URL address). I first posted the video below in 2015. It’s worth a second look.

This video is called “WWII Jeep Gets an Honorable Discharge” and shows Mayor Fred Heine’s Ford GP. The video shows the jeep working on the farm. Lots of great shots. Wyatt’s father was the first person to work on it when Fred Heine couldn’t get it started. The jeep is now at the U.S.Veterans Memorial Museum in Huntsville Alabama, which was featured last week.

 
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1941 Ford GP Lebanon Junction, KY **SOLD**

• CATEGORIES: Bantam-FordGP-WillysMA-EarlyJPs

UPDATE: **SOLD** Was Make Offer. Seller had an offer for $15k, according to the ad.

“I have a 41 ford gp for sale or trade. Feel free to make offer I currently have a 15k offer feel free to offer anything you might think I’d want.”

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1941 BRC-40 Columbiana, OH $115,000

• CATEGORIES: Bantam-FordGP-WillysMA-EarlyJPs • TAGS: , .

Another nice Bantam BRC-40 for sale.

http://www.nsjp.biz/bantam-prototype-jeep-for-sale.html

“100% Fully Restored and One of a kind!
This is from our private collection.
This Restoration is Beautiful, it is certainly Show or Museum Quality.
We spared no expense on the details.
This vehicle is 100% fully operational & complete.
Vehicle is located in Columbiana OH, Zipcode 44408.”

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1941 BRC-40 Bantam Gering, NE $110,000

• CATEGORIES: Bantam-FordGP-WillysMA-EarlyJPs, Features

UPDATE: I wasn’t sure on the price for this, but it seems this is the asking price for a nicely restored BRC-40 these days. More pics here: https://ibb.co/album/b7Nv1F

http://www.warjeeps.com/mjs/sale20/adm034/adm034.html

“This is a completely restored Bantam BRC witch is show quality. Original correct in every part. May be nicest one in existence Please send me an email for link to picture page or follow link below.

Will consider trades, offers, or just negotiate price.”

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1949 CJ-3A Eagle, ID $5500

• CATEGORIES: Bantam-FordGP-WillysMA-EarlyJPs • TAGS: .

UPDATE: Price dropped to $5500.

(11/07/2019) This looks in good shape. The Koenig hardtop has a useful carrier on the top.

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/726587544508549/

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“JUST DROPPED $1000 asking $5500 OBO 1949 Willys Jeep Fresh rebuilt 4 cylinder engine with about 5000 miles. Great hard top by Koenig Iron Works out of Houston TX. Square hardtop which gives the Willys a Range Rover defender look. Aftermarket heater, windshield wipers, etc. Locks up all around. Only vintage Jeep that you have to turn the heater down on. Ramsey 9000 wench. Spare tire can go on the top or the side. The paint and top have great weathered and worn look. Brake lights and turn signals have been raised in the back to view above gas cans. She’s old and slow, but she gets all the looks. .”

 
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America Travels Card w/ Prototype Jeep on ebay

If you collect prototype images and other things, the unusual card in the middle of the three below would be a cool find.

View all the information on eBay

“This is a set of 3 cut out and color cards from Nabisco Shredded Wheat on How America Travels. It includes an Army Jeep, Navy Battleship, and Navy Patrol Bomber. They are in good condition with some light stains. The cards are numbers 27, 33, and 36.”

how-america-travels-nabisco-shredded-wheat

 
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1942 Photo of a “Peep” Next to a “Jeep” on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Bantam-FordGP-WillysMA-EarlyJPs, Features, Old Images

Nice front end shot of a Ford GP.

View all the information on eBay

“1942 Press Photo US soldier pictured with “jeep” and “peep” vehicles in Kentucky

This is an original press photo. Trucks – US – Fort Knox, Kentucky – The Armed Force hopes this picture will end the confusion between the “jeep” and “peep.” The tough little puddle-jumper on the right is affectionately known as the “peep” by men of the army’s Armored Force, while the large command car at the left is the original “jeep,” named after the Popeye comic strip characterPhoto measures 10 x 8.25inches. Photo is dated 01-11-1942.”

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1942 Photo in Panama with Ford GP on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Bantam-FordGP-WillysMA-EarlyJPs, Features, Old Images

A Ford GP is leading the way through Panama …

View all the information on eBay

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“1942 Press Photo Jeep parades over Panama roadway under construction. This is an original press photo.

Panama: Under the supervision of the United States Public Roads Administration fourteen hundred men are at work constructing a trans-Ishmanian highway which is scheduled for completion (with all weather paving) by the end of March 1942 if the work is not hampered by rain during the present “dry season.”

An Army motorcade of “peeps” and “jeeps” traversed the colon-madden Dam section of the road on February 2nd transporting Army, highway, civil officials and press correspondents. They made the round trip from the Pacific to the Atlantic and then back. Concrete paving for the road is being placed at the rate of one mile of single strip each day. Concrete is carried by barge up the tropical foliage line Rio Gatun to it’s intersection with the highway.

In some places bulldozers and other heavy equipment have to make 100-foot cuts through hog backed hills and also make fills in sheer-dropping, water torn ravines. Photo shows-part of the “jeep” parade over a section of road which has not as yet been laid with concrete. The road is entirely within the Republic of Panama. Photo measures 9 x 7.25 inches. Photo is dated 02-06-1942.”

 
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1941 Photo of a Ford GP in the Dirt

UPDATE: Joshua notes this is a Ford GP.

The photo was published in the June 12, 1941, issue of the Madera Tribune.

U. S. Army’s celebrated little “jeep” or “blitz buggy* technique, as shown here. Camouflage removed to into a hole under camouflage to provide new fightin ” which seems to go everywhere these days, now goes take picture, during maneuvers at California’s Ft. Ord. Captain William A. Dodds designed mount for .50-caliber gun.

1941-06-12-madera-tribune-jeep-gopher

 
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1941 Photo of Bantam BRC-40 in Longview, WA on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Bantam-FordGP-WillysMA-EarlyJPs, Features, Old Images

Good photo of a Bantam BRC-40 laying in wait during some war games in Longview, Washington.

View all the information on eBay

“This is an original press photo. Trucks – United States. One of the army’s newest and most lethal weapon carriers is this tiny “jeep” or 1/4 ton truck, mounting a machine gun. Behind the gun is Private Earl Bever and at the wheel is Corporal Anton Stefanski, of the 32nd Infantry of Fort Ord’s 7th Division, now engaged with the defending/Blue forces in resisting the “Red” attack in southwestern Washington. Longview. Photo measures 10 x 8.25 inches. Photo is dated 8-21-1941.”

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Historic Registry For Vehicles?

• CATEGORIES: Bantam-FordGP-WillysMA-EarlyJPs, Features

There’s a proposal to create a national registry for unique or historically significant vehicles (and boats and planes) with documented stories. Importantly, such a registry would not keep the owners of such vehicles from being sold, driven or even modified. The Library of Congress would be the keeper of the documents, specs, photos, and other information.

If the national registry becomes a law, twenty-six vehicles already listed by the Historic Vehicle Association (HVA) would be the first vehicles added to the registry. Two of the vehicles are jeeps: The Ford Pygmy (currently at the U.S. Veteran’s Museum in Huntsville, Alabama) and Ronald Reagan’s 1962 CJ-6 (along with one of my personal favorites, the Tucker prototype).

 
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2 Year? 1941? Truth or Consequences, NM $800

• CATEGORIES: Bantam-FordGP-WillysMA-EarlyJPs, GPW (Ford MB), MB

Most likely not ’41s. No pics provided.

https://lascruces.craigslist.org/pts/d/williamsburg-two-1941-willys-jeeps/7009212962.html

“two 1941 willy’s jeeps. one has a lot of rust the other is fair. both have original engine and drivetrain. 800$ will consider reasonable offers.”