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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1941 Video Footage of Edsel Ford and the Ford GP

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

This video was part of the press release information by Ford that introduced the new Ford GP. We’ve seen much of this footage previously.

“This black and white 1941 demonstration film, produced by Ford Motion Picture Laboratories and narrated by Michigan sportscaster Harry Wismer, shows U.S. Army Truck, ¼ ton 4×4 Command Reconnaissance vehicles in action at and around the Ford River Rouge Complex in Dearborn, Michigan (TRT 0:23).

Opening titles (0:07). Dedication: “This film is respectfully dedicated to the officers and men of the United States Army in the name of American Industry…” (0:27).

A trio of Ford 4×4 Reconnaissance Cars or GPW “Jeeps” exit a Ford River Rouge Plant garage in single file. Edsel Ford, president of the Ford Motor Company delivers the initial order of 1,500 U.S. Army cars to then-Brigadier General Charles H. Bonesteel III, speaking into a WXYZ radio microphone (0:45).
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1943 War Bonds Kids’ Jeep Club

This April 21, 1943, ad in the Victoria Advocate (Victoria, Texas) encourages kids to join a jeep club designed to raise money through war bond sales. It includes an illustration of a Ford GP.

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Florida Senator Claude D. Pepper in BRC-40 and His Campaign Jeep

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

UPDATE II: Somehow I missed this second version of the Senators with Charles Payne driving down he steps on May 20, 1941:

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PHOTO CREDIT: Florida State University’s Digital Repository https://diginole.lib.fsu.edu/islandora/object/fsu%3A154424

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Published March 28, 2021: Here’s another, earlier jeep photo, including a dedication by Charles Payne, related to Senator Claude Pepper in a Bantam BRC-40. According to the Florida State University Digital Archives, Senator Robert Reynolds is driving the jeep, Senator Claude Pepper is in the passenger seat, and Charles Payne and Harold Crist are seated in the back. The photo is dated May 1941.

https://diginole.lib.fsu.edu/islandora/object/fsu%3A117598

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Also, according to a June 02, 1968, column by Larry King in the Miami Herald, there was a video taken of Senator Pepper riding up the steps and it was to be shown on TV on June 30, 1968. I was unable to find the video on the internet.

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ORIGINALLY POSTED DECEMBER 09, 2012: This pictures tells the tale of Senator Claude Pepper‘s bid for re-election as a Senator from Florida in the 1950 race.  Like his jeep, Senator Pepper’s campaign crashed that year as well.

PHOTO CREDIT: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/36090 CAPTION: Addressed to George Smathers from his friend Carl L. Hahn, an accompanying note says, “Here’s what is left of the Pepper machine in Palm Beach County – Souvenir of your successful 1950 campaign.”

The accident led to a lawsuit against the driver and Senator Claude Pepper. The appeared in the August 04, 1950, issue of the Palm Beach Post:

1950-08-04-palm-beach-Post-claude-pepper-accident

 
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1942 Americar Brochure w/ Willys MA Photos

This 1942 Americar Brochure includes a page that shows the Willys MA. I dropped out of the bidding at $30. I’ll keep my eye open for a cheaper version of this brochure.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1942-Willys-AMERICAR-JEEP-PICK-UP-PANEL-DELIVERY-Truck-Dealer-Sales-Brochure/363291618312

Here’s the page with the MAs on it.

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The following images might show the entire brochure in the correct order. Note the page showing the Americar’s “Willys Chassis” … anyone know how similar this was in size to the wagon chassis?

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1942 War Production Board Father’s Day Poster Bantam BRC-60

The War Production Board produced several different “Father’s Day” posters (other posters at the gov archives), including this one with an illustration of a Bantam BRC-60. It also included a letter, though it’s not clear to me how the letter and poster would have been displayed (newspaper? magazine?). Father’s Day fell on June 21st in 1942.

https://catalog.archives.gov/id/165318061

 
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1944 January Drive in a Ford GP

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A side photo of Smiley, John Henkels ‘new’ Ford GP.

The January 30, 1944, Sunday issue of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune made John Henkels and his son front page news for the purchase of their 1941 Ford GP from Wilensky’s auto parts. What a cold drive back to Fulda, Minnesota, that must have been!

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1945-1946 Ads for Army Surplus Jeeps in Minneapolis

This ad appeared within the classified ad section of the October 04, 1946, issue of the Minneapolis Star. It was posted by American Motor Sales, which was located at 1220 West Broadway. Whether the company actually had Ford GPs for sale isn’t clear; most likely, it was just standard MBs or GPWs.

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A few days later, the Downtown Chevrolet Company advertised in the October 09, 1946, issue of the Minneapolis Star that they had 100 surplus jeeps available for customers:

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Subsequently, an ad was placed by Twin City Motors, which also claimed to have jeeps (either GPWs or FORD GPs or both):

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So, how did these companies obtain the jeeps? As we saw yesterday, there were some bidding opportunities that allowed Hyman Berg and others the opportunity to purchase multiple prototype jeeps. So, perhaps these Minneapolis-based companies also scored some prototypes that way?

What we do know is that the government was selling jeeps to veterans (previous stories highlight sale in Hawaii and California). And, those jeeps sold pretty quickly.

For example, in late 1945, the government’s War Asset group put 10,000 jeeps up for purchase by veterans. Those 10,000 jeeps were promptly sold (November 30, 1945, the Star Tribune):

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A month later, an article  from the Dec 08, 1945, issue of the Minneapolis Star, announced that another batch of 10,000 jeeps had been made available as of December 1945:
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1944/45(?) Berg’s ‘King of Jeeps’ Brochure

This Berg’s brochure is interesting in that it contains no references to the CJ-2A or a civilian jeep, suggesting that it came out between 1944-1945 (to me it looks a little earlier than this Berg mailer). Within the flier, Berg claims Berg Truck & Parts Co. was begun in December of 1942 to sell JEEPS. He also notes that the company had appeared in news reels, magazines, and Life Magazine.

Here’s the front page of the brochure:

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This is the back page. 1945ish-bergs-king-of-jeeps-brochure-2-lores

When opened, you’ll find this third small page. Since Berg is offering standard jeep parts for sale, it can be assumed that this flier is at least from 1944. Note the trailer chassis ad, too.1945ish-bergs-king-of-jeeps-brochure-3-lores

When flipped over, the brochure offers an array of Ford, Willys, and Bantam jeep parts.

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When fully opened, there are even more military-related parts, but no word of civilian parts:

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This is how the back looks when fully opened.

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Interestingly, while Berg’s Truck Parts may have opened in 1942, Berg didn’t receive any jeeps until November of 1943 and it was only 16 jeeps (likely aall were prototypes). Here’s a report of those first jeeps from the November 27,1943, issue of the Chicago Tribune:

1943-11-27-chicago-tribune-bergs-first-jeeps

A month later, in December of 1943, this press photo showed the ‘King of Jeeps’ himself Hyman Berg loading up one of those jeeps, a Bantam BRC-40:

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Wilensky Auto Parts’ Ford GPs

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

UPDATE: The press photo at bottom appeared in the January 24,  1944, issue of the Minneapolis Morning Tribune (seen below). It seems that Harvey Wilensky must have also won a bid for jeeps about the same time as Hyman Berg did.

1944-01-24-star-minneapolis-tribune-walensky-auto-parts-ford-gps

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Originally Posted November 16, 2013: This photo shows a lineup of surplus Ford GPs for sale. The selling price: $750 at Wilensky Auto Parts in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

ford-gps-for-sale-minnesota-newsclipping1 ford-gps-for-sale-minnesota-newsclipping2

 
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WWII Photo Collection on eBay

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

The starting bid for the collection of 677 photos starts at $1000. It does include a few images of jeeps, including a Ford GPA Seep, an MB, and a Ford GP named “Marie”.

View all the information on eBay

“An awesome circa WWII original photograph album with approximately (677) photos. (567) on album pages that can be removed and (110) other photos. Mostly WWII US Army/Military from an album that came apart. They include some great images with lots of examples below. The 1939 Rose Bowl Football Game (soldiers must have attended) USC University of Southern California vs Duke Bluedevils, Tanks and Crew, Black Officers and soldiers, Uniforms, Helmets, Jeep Willy, Trucks, guns, vehicles, Baseball 86th R.C.A., Boxing, pin up girl in bathing suit, airplanes, blimp, Pasedena, California, Radio City, Mess, Medical, 25th Armored Engineer Battalion, Hollywood Canteen, Toyko Express, Beer, Cigars, girls, ladies, getting married wedding pic, USA flag, UCLA pennant, large Santa Claus, milk crates, shovels, family, etc. An awesome group of 1940’s photographs.”

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December 1941 Pop Sci Article on Bantam BRC-40 T2E1s

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

UPDATE: Originally published on February 02, 2014, the pop sci links no longer work, so I’ve now added the complete scan of the article.

This Bantam BRC-40 T2 article was published in December of 1941 in Popular Science (and possibly Mechanix Magazine) under “Tanks CAN Be Destroyed”. In it the author explores different machinery that can stop a tank. You can see variations from what could be the same photo shoot in this Bantam T2 & T2-E1 post.

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1942 Article and Pics About Maj. Gen. Jacob Devers

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

Major General Jacob Devers made multiple appearances in newspapers across the country. On February 05, 1942, he announced at Fort Knox that the armored forces could begin personalizing their peeps, jeeps, tanks, and other equipment with names, though they could not be objectionable names. The order does not indicate approval to put names on the windshields, but apparently that became allowed at some point.

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On October 17, 1942 (Appeal Democrat out of Marysville, California) the Major General was photographed with other senior leaders discussing issues while sitting in a jeep:

1942-10-17-appeal-democrat-marysville-ca-lt-gen-devers

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Originally Posted March 13, 2018: Interesting discussion on peep vs. jeep within the caption. The caption claims it has been misnamed “peep”, but then claims it has been erroneously called a “jeep” and that a “jeep” is a larger vehicle (Command Car, though in this case it is a Willys MA). As we’ve discussed earlier, there was a great debate about the proper term for the vehicle.

“WWII Maj. Gen. Jacob Devers in Willys MB Jeep Original Press Photo”

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May 1941 Article on a Reporter’s First Jeep Ride

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

In the May 25, 1941, issue of the Des Moines Register, Iowan reporter Donald Grant describes his first ride in a jeep (Ford GP). Also included is a short article about three Iowan kids who died tragically during the previous weekend.

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1941 Article Shows Jeep Backing Up City Hall Steps

The Argus-Leader out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, published this photo on November 28, 1941, showing a Ford GP backing up Sioux Falls’ City Hall steps. It includes another “75mph” claim.

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1941 Article Highlights Bantam’s Complaints

This August 07, 1941, article in the News-Herald out of Franklin, Pennsylvania, underscores that Harry S. Truman was going to “blow the lid” off the “lobbying” actives of the OPM as a result of American Bantam being “frozen out” of a jeep contract. Truman showed them, lol.

Clipping from The News-Herald - Newspapers.com

 
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1941 Article: 1300 Miles in a Jeep

It sounds like this report and soldier had a very uncomfortable ride in the “roman rack”. I am a bit surprised that the jeep garnered so many laughs. Note the BRC-40 in the top pic. The article appeared in The Morning Call, out of Paterson, New Jersey, November 22, 1941.

1941-11-22-the-morning-call-paterson-ny-lores

 
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1941 Photos — Those Incredible Jeeps Can Float!

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

UPDATE: Here’s another floating jeep article that seems appropriate to add to this post. It appeared in the March 17, 1941, issue of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

1941-08-17-philadelphia-inquirer-floating-jeep-lores

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These two photos appeared in the August 10, 1941, issue of the Salt Lake Tribune. The jeep pictured is a Ford GP.  There should be one or more press photos on eWillys, but I will have to combine them when I have more time.

1941-08-10-slc-tribune-floating-ford-gps-lores

 
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4 Photos of Willys MA and 1st Armored Division on eBay

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

No dates provided on this series of four photos that feature a Willys MA. This basic description describes them all:

Offered is an original WWII time period photograph. It belonged Lt. Salvador Joseph Cuttitta who was enlisted with the 6th Armored Infantry and trained with 1st Armored Division. He was then transferred to serve with the 5th Armored Division. There is some tape on the corners as seen. Picture measures approximately 3 1/4″ x 4 1/2″ inches.

  1. Photo 1 of Willys MA:
    willys-ma-photos1
  2. Photo 2 of Willys MA:
    willys-ma-photos2
  3. Photo 3 of Willys MA:
    willys-ma-photos3
  4. Photo 4 of Willys MA:
    willys-ma-photos4
 
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October 1941 Article About Jeeps as Anti-Tank Solution

This article was published in the October 26, 1941, issue of the Birmingham News.

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1941 Full-Page Look at the “Leaping Jeep”

This full page article published July 22, 1941, in Baltimore’s Evening Sun includes photos of Bantam BRC-60s and Ford GPs.

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1941 Full-Page Article on the Jeep

This is a second full-page article on the jeep, this time with two large photos in the May 04, 1941, issue of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat.

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Article and Photos of the Bantam T2E1

UPDATE: This article from August 28, 1941, published in the Daily News (New York City), describes the Bantam BRC-40 T2E1. This is the second generation of of the T2E1, (reportedly, the first generation of the T2E1 had a the full body, which itself was a derivation of the T2, an anti-tank jeep that had the gun between the seats; however, there apparently is some debate on how to define the versions).

Also mentioned below is the Ford Swamp Angel. I’ll have more info on that in an upcoming post.

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This is a T2E1 from an angle I’ve never seen. It was published yesterday on the Quest Masters Museum Facebook page:

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Originally published May 31, 2020:

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

#1 Originally posted 01/31/2014:

This is likely a reprint, but still a good photo of the Bantam BRC-40 T2E1.

Bantam-brc40-t2e1

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#2 Posted August of 2018:

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1941 Photo of Bantam at DC Steps **SOLD**

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

UPDATE: **SOLD** Was on eBay. This photo was floating one of the Facebook groups, but didn’t include the caption, which describes the passengers. This was originally published here Dec 23, 2014. 

The question of the license plate came up on Facebook (as in, why does it have a license plate), while the question of “giant jeep” came up in a previous post on eWillys. The thing that’s been a head scratcher for me is that this jeep is carrying three grown men in the front, with space between the driver and the two passengers.

What is for certain is that in May 1941 Charles Payne (exec assistant to Bantam President Frank Fenn), was in Washington to promote Bantam’s efforts (see newspaper article at the bottom of this post). 

So, thinking out loud, is it possible that the below verbiage is true, that Bantam made a “giant” or larger jeep to promote its effort to obtain a contract? It would explain why it has dealer plates (as it wasn’t owned by the military). Here’s a comparison with another face-front Bantam:

1941-brc40-comparison-photos

Photo on the left is a press photo with a standard Bantam BRC-40. The one on the right is the press photo with Congress men and Bantam Rep Charles Payne.

The angle of the jeep on the right going up the steps makes it appear a little larger, so that’s not helpful. One unusual aspect is that it seems to sit taller, with a greater distance between the tires and the front fenders; yet, the spring shacks still have more play in them than the photo on the left. However, all this could be the effect of being on the stairs with six people piled in it.

The license plate, unless enlarged, suggests that the jeep on the left is not giant, but rather a standard sized jeep. Therefore, my suspicion is that this isn’t a larger jeep. So, why the “giant jeep” comment was used by the reporter is still a mystery to me. Thoughts?

From the original eBay ad: “A Vintage1941 Original Photo depicting a Giant Jeep carrying politicians in Washington D.C. The vehicle was made by the makers of the U.S. Army’s newest midget to promote their new vehicle to the suits in Washington. The small four-wheel drive utility vehicles would become an icon of World War II. Original press stamp and caption with a MAY 25 1941 stamp date are on the verso.”

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This photo was published in the May 26, 1941, issue of the Star Tribune out of Minneapolis, Minnesota:

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This article from May 04, 1941, published in the Dayton Daily News (Ohio) provides additional information on Charles Payne’s visit, but doesn’t elaborate on the “Giant Jeep”, which may have been an Associate Press reporter creation:

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1941 Article with Ford GP

This photo and article featuring a Ford GP was published June 09, 1941, in the Democrat and Chronicle out of Rochester, New York. It highlighted Major Harry Miller’s jeep modification, which added a 37MM gun to the rear of the vehicle.

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Originally posted February 07, 2015:  This post emphasized the Camp Lewis connection.

This June 9, 1941, article from the Spokane Daily Chronicle notes the Ford GP belongs to a Fort Lewis unit visiting California for maneuvers.

1941-06-09-spokane-daily-chronicle-fordgp

 
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Photo of 4 Bantam BRC-60s

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

Brian spotted this photo showing 4 Bantam BRC-60s rolling down a hill. This was posted to the Butlers Standard Eight Facebook Group. The text on the photo reads: “Bantam BRC 40s”  Four of the 70 prototypes produced between September 1940 and December 1940. Despite what the text indicates, we know those as Bantam BRC-60s, not 40s.

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