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 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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