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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The Bantam BRC-40 T2 & T2E1 and Willys T21

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

As part of some research I’m gathering, I ran across the BRC-40 T2 and BRC-40 T2E1, developed in 1941; these are two unusual derivations of the Bantam BRC-40 in Mark Askew’s book, Rare WW2 Jeep book.  So, I did a search online and found a couple images of each gathered by Dave Haugh at the warwheels.net website where you can see all the images he collected.

Here’s an image from warwheels.net of the BRC-40 T2 with the 37MM Gun on it mounted in the middle of the vehicle.

There were some problems with the T2, so they moved the gun to the back for version 1 of T2E1.  I guess the army liked this design better so they developed a 2nd version of the T2E1 where they modified the back.  Below is a picture of that.

There was also a Willys MB version of this called the T21 with the 75mm mounted in the rear (I couldn’t find any pics).

 
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Color Photo of Willys MA

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

Here’s an unusual color photo of soldiers posing in a Willys MA from Life Magazine.  I couldn’t find the original source of this on the Life Magazine site (I stumbled upon it through Google).

 
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1944: Mayor Heine buys the first Jeep for Civilians

UPDATE 3: Cblynch posted an update to this information on g503.com site.  He notes that Randy Withrow in Alabama owns the below GP and also owns all the original photos.  Apparently, the woman driving the GP died a few years ago. (Thanks Simon).  Also, you can see an additional photo from Bergs yard in this thread. Finally, to GP1942 from G503, I’m glad you are enjoying the content, but please add a link saying you found the info at ewillys when copying and pasting it into other sites.

UPDATE 2: After further review, and based on Lindsay’s comments, I would say that the first BRC is a BRC-40.  The TWO jeeps in front of that are BRC-60s (made after the original BRC prototypes and before the BRC-40).


UPDATE:  A reader named Lindsay was kind enough to provide an update to this story:

Lindsay writes, “An interesting note about the article with the mayor that purchased the GP in 1944. That vehicle was tracked down by Ken Hake years ago and restored several years later. The 3 smaller photo’s at the bottom bottom right is a photo of Bergs Jeep parts in Chicago note the first one is a Bantam BRC 40 the one in the front of that is a very early “round nose” BRC of which only one still exists and belongs to the Smithsonian. This proves that round nose BRC’s were released and sold to the public. I sure would like to find one of those in a barn.”

The military started selling jeeps to civilians in 1944.  By all accounts, Mayor Heine, of Lucas Kansas, and his family were the very first purchasers of a Military jeep for civilian use.  Here is a Life Magazine Article about the Heines and the related images from the January 4, 1944, issue of Life Magazine (page 24 & 27).  I bet they wished the jeep came with a top and a heater!

NOTE:  The jeep below is a Ford GP

 
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Is this possibly a GP or MA Body? California City, Ca **SOLD**

UPDATE:  This appears SOLD, but was listed at $800.

I could be wrong, but the slopes and cut of the passenger and driver’s sides look very similar to a Willys MA, thought maybe a Ford GP as well?.  This has been hacked up a bit, but it’s worth a look.  Check out what appears to be an emergency brake as well.

“Clear title has orignal old style pink slip non op for 20 years but probably off dmv record now… 4×4 ran when parked 10 years ago”

 
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Santa favors the Willys MA over the Red Sleigh

UPDATE:  Brendan noted that this is indeed a LOC image. Here is a link to this image and others http://www.history.army.mil/photos/Holiday/wwii.htm.

I suspect it was just easier to stick the tree in the MA rather than his sleigh?  It’s a great pic.  I found this during an image search, but I could not locate the source.  It looks like a Library of Congress type of image.  If anyone knows of the source, please let me know so I can properly credit it.

 
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1940 Camp Holabird Photos from Life Magazine

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

There are some new Bantam and MB testing photos at Life Magazine.  There are some great closeups of the Bantam.  Note the first pic — I believe that is the first ‘jeep’ ever stuck in the mud; it surely wasn’t the last!  All six of these photos were taken by David E. Scherman in 1940.

 
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2 Early Jeeps from the Library of Congress

Here are shots of a Willys MA and Ford GP from the Library of Congress.

Willys MA

Ford GP

 
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Bantam BRC-40 Columbus, Oh eBay

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

Thanks to Jim sending the link on this.  Obviously, this is a rare event.

“1941 Bantam Reconnaissance Car (BRC-40).  Restored – starts, run, drives great.  The vehicle was originally purchased  and restored by a pretty well known figure in the Bantam Auto Club circle sometime in the late 80’s/early 90’s.  I have a one page letter from this person detailing his efforts to obtain and restore the vehicle (which I will give to the buyer).   It passed through a few owners until my purchase in 2001.  Over the years I have upgraded/corrected various pieces and parts.  It comes with a few spare parts, manuals, and a top.

The vehicle is 99%+ complete and accurate.  The body tub is original – ie. not a reproduction like many others out there.  The items that I believe are incorrect (or missing) are:

The choke and throttle knobs are the not the early “bulls-eye” type – although I have what I believe to be one correct replacement.

The oil pan does not have a skid plate – although I have a correct, original oil pan with skid plate that needs to be cleaned up and attached.

The rear tool box lid locks are incorrect.

The reflectors are of the King-Bee type (as used on the FORD GP) and I believe should in fact be Triflex SR-71s.

When I purchased the vehicle, it had a reproduction windshield frame.  It was a pretty accurate copy, but a reproduction nonetheless.  I sold it to another BRC-40 owner and acquired an original frame a few years back.  It needs some work (arms straightened, etc and needs the latches to the cowl when in its upright position), but it’s in pretty nice condition.  In fact, it has most of its original paint.

The front bumper is an OK reproduction, but I acquired a much better replacement from Ken Hake which has the correct rivets and hand crank guide.

Lastly, in the spirit of full disclosure, I am not sure the front leaf springs are correct/original.  They may be correct, but again, I am not 100% sure. Lastly she needs a good bath – she has sat in my barn with my other vehicles for the past nine years and has collected a coating of dust and dirt.  It was near freezing when I took the photos – I put a new battery in her and she started right up.  Lastly, after sitting for nearly nine years, the brakes are a bit mushy.  I’ll see if I can rectify this prior to sale (no promises).”

View some of the pics on eBay or many pics here.

bantam_brc40_34

bantam_brc40_35

bantam_brc40_38

bantam_brc40_25

bantam_brc40_36

 
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Gavin Walker’s Willys MA Website

• CATEGORIES: Bantam-FordGP-WillysMA-EarlyJPs, GPA (SEEP), Website

I’ve had the Willys MA Website as a “Link Worthy” Link for much of the year.  I thought I had done a post on it (I’m still sure I have), but after searching for it to add it to the “Early Jeep” Section, I couldn’t find a post about it.  Gavin has got a variety of MA & GPA Images and more.

willysma_website

 
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Bantam “Pilot Car” Reborn

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

Bill, who runs this great Bantam Website, forwarded me a link to the below video which reveals the results of a four year Bantam Reconnaissance Car Pilot recreation completed by Duncan Rolls.

From the YouTube website, Watch a perfectly authentic re-creation of the original Bantam Reconnaissance Car Pilot (the world’s first jeep) go on-road and off in a demonstration by builder Duncan Rolls. The Pilot Re-creation required over 3500 hours of work to build. The drive components are original Bantam and Continental parts, as are the gauge cluster and other parts (a total of 60 per cent of the vehicle). Duncan made the chassis and body completely by hand. The only original sheet metal was a stock Bantam cowl, but even that had to be widened by six inches, just like the original was. The original Pilot, delivered to the Army at Camp Holabird, MD on September 23, 1940, was lost to history after successful testing.


 
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Bantam Jeep Website

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

I ran across this Bantam website the other day.  Its full of pics of a single Bantam.  I love the Bantam multi gauge.

There’s not much information on the website.  This is all there is: “Less than 3000 Bantam Jeeps were produced. This B.R.C. 40 is #2649. The date of delivery was “June, 1941”. Fewer than three dozen of these classics have been fully restored and this, I believe, is one of the best! Be sure and check out the additional pages of pictures of this Bantam listed below

1940_brc_photos

 
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For BRC Lovers … Bill Spears Website

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

Bill Spears really seems to like Bantams of all kinds.  He’s got a website extensively devoted to exploring Bantams, including a detailed look at the beginning of the jeep.  His information seems consistent with what I’ve learned, though I wasn’t familiar with the Checker connection noted below.

Bill also has a list of Bantams, some with pictures and some just a rumor.  He also has gathered some images of Bantams in service.  Finally, Bill explores the relationship, or inter-relationship, between the “Checker Bantams”, which he calls a CRC, and the Bantam BRC.  It’s an interesting read.

Below is one of the Bantam’s that appears on Bill’s list of Bantams page.  Click on the image to get to the page.

BRC1707sm

 
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Vehicles of the Red Army – Oliver Missing’s Website

Oliver Missing operates a unique website out of Germany.  He is drawing all kinds of vehicles of the red army, whether they were built, borrowed or hi-jacked from other other countries.  Started in 2003, Oliver now has over 1,000 drawings, including 5 different ‘jeeps’:  a Bantam BRC-40, Willys MA, Willys MB, Ford GP, and the Ford GPA. The drawings are created using Jasc Paint Shop Pro and Xara Xtreme.  He plans to do many more drawings as time permits.

Here’s a couple of drawings:

Bantam BRC-40:

Bantam_BRC40_Oliver_drawing

Willys MA:

oliver_willys_ma_drawing

Go to this web link to see all the different truck drawings (scroll down to US to see the jeep drawings)

 
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Old Willys Image Archive — Brian finds a treasure trove

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

Our eWillys Michigan bureau, lead by Brian (and staffed only by Brian), uncovered a treasure trove of images, most I haven’t seen before, of early jeep demonstrations, publicity images and more.

Brian writes, “the source is the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library and, best of all, it is free!!!   Here is the Search link   http://66.213.36.25/.  To Link to the library image collection explanation, go here http://www.toledolibrary.org/collection/images.asp.  I think one of the best sets are the Farm Jeep trials in New Hudson Michigan..Wow”

Here is some of the searches he has done: (Willys jeeps) (willys workers) (Jeep automobiles) (farm Jeep) (Willys factory) (Military).

Here’s some of the images found using the search term “jeep” — note that the term search term jeep doesn’t yield other pictures that I saw while surfing this site this morning.

I’m not sure I’d want to be in the vehicle in the pic below….

 
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Austin 7 — Grandfather of the Jeep?

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

So, I’m doing my best to avoid going out to my parents very cold, damp garage to finish fixing my mom’s car.  Of course, the internet is one of the best avoidance tools ever invented.

FLAT FENDER BABES:
On a lark, I typed in ‘Flat Fender Babes’ into google just to see if anything came up.  While most of the links were garbage, one link lead me to a list of significant production automobiles, created by Angry Stan at AngryStan’s blog.  Naturally, one of the vehicles listed was the Willys MB.  What was interesting about the MB’s inclusion was Stan’s comment that the MB was “very loosely based on the Austin 7”.

Whoa .. news to me.  What you talkin’ ’bout Stan?

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Stay Tuned — A Reader finds a Ford GP

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

I got word earlier this morning that a reader located a Ford GP.  Here’s an early look at the find.  Boy, is he excited.  I’ll provide updates when I learn more.

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Fred Smith, Rare Jeep Collector

• CATEGORIES: Bantam-FordGP-WillysMA-EarlyJPs, Features, GPA (SEEP) • TAGS: , .

While reading through the extensive history of the half track, I stumbled on the fact that the owner of the rarest of these half tracks was Fred Smith of the UK.  Having recently read that Fred Smith also owned and nicely restored the Ford Budd prototype, I got curious about who Fred Smith is.  At this point, I don’t know anything about him other than he’s got quite the jeep collection.  Here’s an approximate list (this list is a guess based on what I’ve read online):

  1. 1940 Ford Budd Prototype
  2. T-28 Half Track
  3. Willys MT-TUG 6×6
  4. 5 or 6 Ford GPs
  5. Ford GP four wheel steering
  6. Ford GPA (seep)
  7. Willys MA
  8. Willys MB

Not a bad collection!  Apparently, Fred shows these on occasion (or often) at the War and Peace Show at Beltring in Kent, UK.

 
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1941 Ford GP United Kingdom **SOLD**

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

1941_ford_gpUPDATE: **SOLD** Was $24,500.

This rare Ford GP is listed at £17,500, which currently converts to $24,500.  It was listed back in June of 2008 on the Willysjeep.com site, which is a UK based jeep site. I assume it’s still for sale as it’s still listed on their website for sale.  There are also a GPW, some MBs and some Hotchkiss jeeps for sale there as well.

“A very Rare Pre-Production Ford GP Jeep (1941). This is one of only a handfull that remain in the UK today. Restored to a high level. For more information, please call today on 01694 731373. This Ford GP, was imported to Europe some years ago, this Jeep was restored some years ago and has been recently freshened up and it has many nice original features and looks great. However certain detail parts are not original, e.g fitted with a more moderm carb/air filter. The Jeep can either be detailed or used as is. And is well priced to allow for final detailing/ finishing touches at £17,500 including full new beechwood canvas kit.”

 
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The 1940 Buddy (a Ford Pygmy/Budd prototype)

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

1940_budd_ford8In late 1940, after testing the Bantam prototype BRC (the Mark I) for one month,  the Quartermaster Corp Technical committee was impressed enough to ask Bantam for 70 additional pilot versions to test (these would be the BRC-60 or Mark IIs).  They also asked Willys and Ford to submit prototypes.  While Willys submitted a two wheel Quad for testing (they made another prototype: a 4 wheel steering Quad), Ford built 2 prototypes: one is the Pygmy (still exists) and the other was a Pygmy/Budd prototype called a Buddy. (Note that I attempt to use the same designations for pilot/prototype that Frederic Coldwell uses in his Preproduction Civilian Jeeps book.)

While the Ford Pygmy was submitted to the Quartermaster for testing, the Pygmy/Budd hybrid was not.  The history is hazy, but the original Budd disappeared into the California desert at some point. Miraculously, it was relocated by Jeff Polidoro in 1998.  The rumor is that is sold for $50,000 and was restored in 2005- 2006 by owner Fred Smith. There’s more about Fred Smith and his restoration of this vehicle.  The Buddy is now located in the UK.

The biggest difference between the Pygmy and Buddy, to the best of my information, was that the body was built by the Edward G. Budd Manufacturing and looked fairly different from the Pygmy.  Below are pictures I’ve collected across the internet about the Budd. Apparently, Budd also designed the KubelWagon body prior to WWII.   And, apparently, Budd had a role in designing the M151.

Here’s before and after pics of the Pygmy/Budd that I’ve found across the net:

Before Restoration:

Pic below found here

1940_budd_ford_proto_2

Pic below found here on the CJ-3B site

1940_budd_ford_prototype

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Video — History Channel Modern Marvels, The Jeep

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

The history channel series Modern Marvels did a fine show on the history of the jeep.  There’s some great bits of info, pictures and videos.  I think it’s worth watching, even just to watch the video of the experimental ‘jeep helicopter’.  The youtube version of this episode is divided up into 5 sections.  The nice feature is that once you start watching the first one, each successive video will be launched automatically.

My only contention with the show is that one narrator suggests that Willys invented four wheel drive.  Actually, four wheel drive had been around for about 50 years.   I wrote the following several months ago (though didn’t post it):

“A four wheel drive system for vehicles was patented 48 years before the development of Bantam’s BRC (Bantam Recon Car aka Mark I), the very first jeep (followed by 69 prototype BRC-60s aka Mark II), the precursor to the jeep and the decision behind the military to issue a call for prototype 1/4 vehicles (to which three companies responded:  Ford (Pygmy), Bantam (BRC-40) and Willys (Quad).   Porsche developed a four wheel drive electric car prototype in 1900,  2 Dutch brothers built a four wheel drive Spyker race car in 1904 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spyker).  The Four Wheel Drive Auto company of Wisconsin built 20,000 four-wheel drive trucks for the British and American Armies during World War I.”

Now, maybe Bantam invented the modern transfer case.  Of this, I’m less sure.  I haven’t found any evidence that certifies the inventor of the transfer case.

Other links:

 
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My call with Don Prine about Stainless Steel and More …

I spoke with Don Prine today (12/24/08).  Don lives and runs a shop outside of Tacoma, Washington.  I quickly learned that Don is quite the character.  If I remember correctly, Don said he’s 91 years old and it’s clear to me he has no plans to retire.  He’s at the shop regularly and he’ll be there on the 26th, he told me, snow permitting.

Don’s been in the jeep business for 40+ years.  He told me stories of purchasing surplus jeeps in lots (one time 80 m38a1s), or as he put it, ‘the bank and I purchased them’.  We talked about some of the other jeeps he had purchased and  we exchanged some names of people we both knew in the Jeeping world.  Then he kindly provided me several contacts of his own in the Boise area he said I should call.  It did not take me long to figure out that Don has friends  everywhere.

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Book Review: The Jeep (book) by the Olyslager Organisation

• CATEGORIES: Bantam-FordGP-WillysMA-EarlyJPs, Books, Features, Unique Jeeps, Unusual • TAGS: .

I don’t know when or where it came from, but at some point my parents obtained a book simply titled “The Jeep“.  It was mostly a picture book, which as a young kid was perfectly fine with me.  I open and looked through it many, many times. Ok, I still open it ….

However, it wasn’t just a book with a few pics of jeeps you see everyday.  Instead, it’s a slim book full of a wide range of pictures.  Of course, there’s the standard bantam, mb, seep, gpw, etc. But, there’s also, for example, 3 images of the Willys/Nuffied modified airborne jeep, seen to the right (though not from the book — it’s from a russian site — the book images of the Willys/Nuffield are at the bottom of this post).

I bring this up, as I ran across a copy of the book at the Boise Library today.  So, I snapped a few images of the pictures with my digital camera (hence the poor quality – purchase the book to see them sharply) and will post a some of them.

I haven’t asked for permission to post them (I TRIED to, but can’t find the contact info for them), so I’ll add this pitch for the book.  This book is a must for any jeep nut.  While it’s a fairly small book with only 64 pages, the collectors prices (at amazon) were hovering around $45. It’s a perfect size for your kids.  The organization responsible for publishing the book is the Olyslager Foundation (link?), which has published a number of other cool books listed at the Open Library Project.

Now for some cool, but poor quality pics to wet your appetite…

One of my favorite sections of the book show how quickly a crate jeep can be put together.  The book documents this particular group only took 3 minutes and 31 seconds to put it togther.

Check out the rest of the pics …..

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