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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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.

1941-05-25-des-moines-register-first-jeep-ride1-lores 1941-05-25-des-moines-register-first-jeep-ride2-lores

 

 
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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.

1941-11-28-argus-leader-sioux-falls-sd-lores

 
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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.

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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.

1941-05-04-stlouis-globe-democrat-jeep-rides-lores

 
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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.

1941-08-28-daily-news-t2e1-bantam-brc40-lores

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

1941-09-t2e1-bantam-brc40-w 1941-09-t2e1-bantam-brc40

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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:

Continue reading

 
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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.”

1941-05-22-brc40-DC-steps1 1941-05-22-brc40-DC-steps2

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

1941-05-26-star-tribune-minneapolis-bantam-brc40-congressmen-ride-lores

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:

Continue reading

 
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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.

1941-06-09-democrate-and-chronicle-rochester-ny-bantam-brc-40-lores

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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.

4-bantams-brc-60-photo-2a-lores

 
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Willys MA Photo on eBay

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

Here’s a photo of a Willys MA in action.

View all the information eBay

“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.”

willys-ma-unknown-location

 
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Photo of 2 Ford GPs on eBay

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

Nice photo with some history showing 2 Ford GPs.

View all the information on ebay

“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. Picture measures approximately 3 1/4″ x 4 1/2″ inches.”

1940s-2-ford-gps-photo

 
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1941 Reporter Article on the Blitz Buggy

Associated Press Reporter Sigrid Arne was 47 years old when she rode in a Bantam BRC-60. By that time she was an experienced journalist, a fearless investigative reporter with the smarts to decode and explain New Deal programs to the point that the authors of the programs asked her to join their efforts. She traveled all over the United States, even buying a baby for $50 in Oklahoma at one point to expose how babies were being sold like groceries.

Her report on her first jeep ride sounds like she was thrilled/awed by her experience, but I’m unsure how she concluded that the Bantam had 9 speeds. Sigrid’s article landed in the Montana Standard on May 05, 1941, as well as other newspapers.

This ride wasn’t her last in a jeep, as we will see tomorrow morning.

1941-05-05-montana-standard-sigrid-arne-blitz-buggy-review-lores

 

 
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1941 Photos Related to the Ford GP

1. Ford GPs on assembly line: This March 28, 1941, image shows Ford GPs on the assembly line. It is posted on a Henry Ford’s history page.
1941-03-28-ford-gps-assembly-line-lores

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2. Ford gets Priority over Bantam for axles: This January 22, 1941, article in the Indiana Gazette notes a claim by the President of the United Automobile Workers–CIO that Ford was given priority over Bantam on orders for axles, forcing Bantam to miss its deadline for filling their order for the BRC-60s.

1941-01-22-indiana-gazette-ford-priority-axles-bantam-lores

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3. Duke of Kent: This photo shows the Duke of Kent riding in a Ford GP at Holabird, Maryland. The photo appeared in the Salem News (Ohio) on August 29, 1941:

1941-08-29-salem-news-duk-tries-out-fordgp-lores

 
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March 1941 Photos of the Ford GP Tests

UPDATE: The Herald-News of Passaic, NJ, published an image of a Ford GP going through its paces. Given the chained tires and other similarities, it appears this photo was likely taken at the same time as one published at the bottom of this post.

1941-03-03-hearld-news-nj-ford-gp-lores

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Originally posted May 30, 2020, as part of this post: 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:

1941-03-09-battle-creek-enquirer-fordgps-lores

Clipping from Battle Creek Enquirer - Newspapers.com

 
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1945 Canadian Spark Plug Ad w/ Ford GP on eBay

This ad is slightly larger than a postcard.

View all the information on ebay

1945 CANADIAN CANADA AD WWII PATRIOTIC WILLYS JEEP COMMANDOS MACHINE GUNS
100% ORIGINAL NOT A COPY OR REPRINT.
MEASURES ABOUT 5.5 X 6.5 INCHES
THIS ORIGINAL ITEM WOULD BE NICE TO FRAME
GOOD CONDITION.”

champion-spark-plugs-ford-gp-canada-ad

 
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1941 Article on Ford “Blitz Buggy” Production Strike

An April 12, 1941, article from the Escabana Daily Press out of California shows that it wasn’t always easy producing the Ford GPs. In this case striking works (and some reported sabotage of machinery) delayed manufacturing.

1941-04-12-escabana-daily-press-ford-strike-ford-gps-1

Long article from the same paper: Continue reading

 
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1941 Photo of Edsel Ford in Ford GP Press Day

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

These series of photos show Edsel Ford riding in a “Blitz Buggy”, which we now know as a Ford GP. Note that there’s no reference to the “Ford GP” in any text.

This photo appeared in several newspaper, including the April 11, 1941, issue of the Sikeston Standard out of Missouri.

1941-04-11-sikeston-standard-edsel-ford-blitz-buggy-lores

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Originally published Nov 11, 2014: This photo includes Edsel Ford and was shot at the same event this video was taken.

1941-02-28-blitz-buggy-fordgp

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Originally published July 12, 2017: The original press photo that appeared in the newspaper at the bottom of this post.

“1941- Edsel Ford, in rear seat, and Brig. Gen. Charles Bonesteel go for a ride in the first Ford GP prototype jeep delivered to the U.S. Army after it rolled off the assembly line at the Ford River Rouge factory in Dearborn, Michigan. Photo measures approx. 7″ x 9″”

1941-03-01-edsel-ford-fordgp1

1941-03-01-edsel-ford-fordgp2

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Original posted 06/30/2016:
This photo and caption were published in the March 7, 1941, issue of the Owosso Argus Press. No article accompanied it.

1941-03-07-owosso-argus-press-ford-gp-edsel-ford

 

 
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July 1945 “Jeep Has a Rendezvous With …”

This article was published in the July 15, 1945, issue of the Journal Herald out of Dayton, Ohio. The title of the article is “Jeep Has a Rendezvous With America’s Postwar Era”. It proceed the official press release kit by a few days, so neither photo came from that first press kit.

1945-07-15-journal-herald-dayton-oh-jeep-has-rendevous-lores

The jeep shown on the right is a Willys MA. Back in 2013, a full press photo was sold on eBay. Curiously, the headlight on the driver’s side was missing.

willysma-fishing-photo

 
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1940s Prototype Model Goodyear, AZ $40

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

A sale is pending on this model jeep, but it looks to be a model based on the prototypes.

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/373333757197973/

“Vintage 1940’s US Army Jeep Toy. This was a wood model assembled and painted very well. The windshield isn’t attached but kind of just sits on the frame. Awesome display piece.”

1940s-army-jeep-model-goodyear-az04 1940s-army-jeep-model-goodyear-az03 1940s-army-jeep-model-goodyear-az02 1940s-army-jeep-model-goodyear-az01 1940s-army-jeep-model-goodyear-az1

Continue reading

 
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Nov. 1941 Photo of Ford GP on eBay

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

A Ford GP captured in action.

View all the information on eBay

“1941 Press Photo soldiers drive a jeep thru rough terrain pulling anti-tank gun This is an original press photo. This unit was organized by the 2nd Corps as a weapon of opportunity to combat hostile mechanized threats at any part of the front where the enemy might break through, and is also used against paratroops (parachute troops) or any unexpected threat. The unit is 100% motorized, consisting of three 37 mm batteries, one 75mm battery, one Infantry Battalion, one Engineer Platoon, one Anti-tank Platoon, all equipped with radio communication. Photo shows a jeep crossing rough terrain pulling 37 mm anti-tank gun. Battery D, 44th Division Anti-Tank, Second Corps. (Commanded by Major H.R. Johnson, Wadesboro, N.C. Photo measures 10 x 8.25 inches. Photo is dated 11-03-1941.”

1941-11-03-blitz-troop-fordgp-1

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February 1944 Ad for the “Original Jeep” on eBay

As late as 1944, as this ad demonstrates, the Minneapolis-Moline Power Implement Company argued that they had developed the original “Jeep”. But, it’s clear that they lost that battle entirely.

View all the information on eBay

“This is an Original old Vintage Trade Ad from 1944 This print ad Measures Approx: 11 1/4″ x 8 1/4″. This is Not a Photocopy or reproduction.”

1944-02-flying-magazine-minneapolis-moline-original-jeep-ad

1944-02-flying-magazine-minneapolis-moline-original-jeep-ad1 1944-02-flying-magazine-minneapolis-moline-original-jeep-ad2 1944-02-flying-magazine-minneapolis-moline-original-jeep-ad3