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:

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1943 American Car Company Ad

This May 23, 1943, American Car Company Ad was published in the Evening Star, out of Washington, D. C.. Given Bantam lost the production contract in 1941, it seems an unusual ad, especially many folks probably hadn’t heard of nor seen a Bantam vehicle.


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1941 Ford GP Tucson, AZ $37,500

• CATEGORIES: Bantam-FordGP-WillysMA-EarlyJPs

UPDATE: Back on eBay. Auction ends tomorrow (Jan 3rd).

(12/08/2018) Includes the trailer. Seller will accept offers.

View all the information on eBay


“1941 Ford GP # 9223. The 1941 Ford GP, as well as the Bantam BRC and Willy’s MA were pre-WW2 limited production models, often labeled as “prototypes” which developed into the common WW2 GPW and MB. The production of the Ford GP, which is very unique to itself, was approximately 4500 units with most going overseas. It is estimated that only a few hundred of the GP’s exist today, most of which are in the hands of collectors. Of the total, it is estimated that less than 100 are restored, with the vast majority of the balance being as non-restorable and in dire condition.

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1941 Ford GP w/ Trailer Tucson, AZ Auction (BAT)

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

Matt spotted this nice looking Ford GP.

“This 1941 Ford GP  (#9223) is an early model Series 1, one of 1500 from the earliest series. Restored over 30 years ago by an active member of the MVCC (Military Vehicle Collectors of California), it was sold to the most recent Montana owner over 20 years ago. It is powered by the original spec 120 cubic inch 4-cylinder engine with a 3-speed manual transmission and includes a matching military trailer. This GP checks all the boxes with correct top, trailer with canvas, all of the blinkers , reflectors, extinguisher, flashlight, engine crank handle, and correct lighting.

The correct instructional tags are mounted on the dash, and the combo gauge is center mounted. There are 2341  showing on the odometer, but the true mileage is unknown.

The genuine GP engine # 9547 and drivetrain were rebuilt at the time of restoration. The seller says that it runs and drives great, and smokes a little when cold but clears up once warm. An oil service was completed five miles ago and coolant was also flushed. Brakes and steering operate as designed, and the engine does drip some oil after driving.

1941-fordgp-tucson-az01 1941-fordgp-tucson-az0 1941-fordgp-tucson-az-trailer 1941-fordgp-tucson-az1 1941-fordgp-tucson-az2

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1941 Photo of Landing Jeep off Barge Test **SOLD**

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

UPDATE: **SOLD** Was on eBay.

I can’t tell for sure, but that might be a Ford GP. The hood doesn’t look very tall to me. The date makes it probable.

“This is an original press photo. New River, N.C. — Jeep splashes shoreward from a marine landing barge during maneuvers of the Marines Amphibious Force. Sturdy little car tows a light field piece.Photo measures 8.75 x 7.25inches. Photo is dated 11-25-1941.”

1941-11-25-landingbarge-nc-test1 1941-11-25-landingbarge-nc-test2

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Ford GP at the Military Air Museum in Pungo, VA

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

John stopped by the Military Air Museum in Pungo, Virginia, the other day. There he found this nicely restored Ford GP. I asked him how he liked the museum. HIs response was,

Dave, The whole facility is extraordinary! Two surprises, 1) a hanger from Cottbus, Germany, was found intact but damaged. The guy bought it, had it disassembled, shipped to the states and restored and reassembled. Every thing inside is German with one Italian with some of the stuff experimental.
2) Same for a British control tower, every brick was shipped here, rebuilt, and what was broken or missing was replaced from Britain, not the States.



Additional pics:

IMG_0374 IMG_0375

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Ford GP-related Photos

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

The Henry Ford Museum’s digital collections contain a few interesting photos. It appears all of them can be purchased:

  1. This great photo is available for purchase at The Henry Ford website.


2. These images appear to be frame drawings for the Ford GP. The images aren’t reproduced well:


3. This image purports to be a December 1941 drawing of a set of GP springs, but by that time, Ford was gearing up for the GPW.


4. There are a few more jeep-related pics int he digital collections database at The Henry Ford:

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York-Hoover’s Design of the Original Bantam BRC Body

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

This 2015 article in the York Daily Record shares the story of York-Hoover’s construction of the two original Bantam BRC bodies in 1940.


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1946 Jeep Herder Movie Pics **SOLD**

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

UPDATE II: Here are pics of the Ford Pygmy and Ford Budd to use for comparison with the jeep in the movie. To me it looks like the film makers built a custom vehicle based on the Ford Budd, which Maury points out, in the comments section below, was in Hollywood at the time.



FORD PYGMY:ford-pygmy-budd-comparision

Note the differences between the two above and the “jeep” below: Angle of the steering wheel, position of the front fenders vis-a-vis the hood, length of cowl at the step, the rolled edges of the body (same as Budd, Pygmy didn’t have them), short rear handle of the Pygmy (Budd had long hand), incorrect hubs ..  I wonder if that is a Bantam chassis?



ORIGINAL POST … these photos were sold on eBay: Thanks to Maury for spotting these pics from the Jeep Herders movie. There are a couple Ford GPs pictured. I’m not sure what’s going on with the side of the Ford GP. Looks like it is similar to the original Pygmy GP.

“Originally by Planet Productions, 1946, re-released by Astor Pictures in 1949. Story is returning vets use Jeeps to herd cattle.”



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1944 Article about a Bantam BRC-40 named “Old 72”

Mario shared this on Facebook.


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1940 Ford Pygmy Photo on eBay

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

The bottom is a more familiar photo. I can’t remember if I’ve seen the top one.

View all the information on eBay

“1940- Ford Pygmy during testing at Camp Holabird. The Ford Pygmy is the pilot vehicle submitted by Ford Motor Company in response to the U.S. Army’s requirement for a “light reconnaissance and command car” during the military buildup prior to World War II. It is the only known survivor of the original pilot vehicles built by Bantam, Willys, and Ford and tested by the Army. Photo measures approx. 6 3/4″ x 8 3/4″ ”

1940-12-13-ford-pygmy1 1940-12-13-ford-pygmy2

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Seth’s CJ-3A VW Diesel Conversion

• CATEGORIES: Bantam-FordGP-WillysMA-EarlyJPs


Seth just finished his winter project: a VW diesel conversion on his CJ-3A. Last November he bought a 1949 CJ-3A, but didn’t discover it had a bad block until he pulled the engine apart. So he decided to install a VW engine, while keeping everything else as close to original as he could; it still has the t-90, Spicer-18, Saturn overdrive, Dana 25/41 (lockrite F/R). As a result, the new engine produces 110hp/190ft and he is averaging 38 miles per gallon!

I asked Seth a few questions. Here are his answers:

1) What gave you the idea to us that engine?
I’ve always been a fan of diesel swapped jeeps. My CJ-5 has a Mercedes diesel in it. When I started rebuilding the CJ-3A I realized the l-head would need some work. So, I thought rather than spend money on that, why not put a TDI in it? The engine was already sitting under the work bench as a spare for my daily driver (TDI jetta wagon). I have a small lathe & mill in my basement. It took endless nights making chips and taking measurements. But it’s in and it works!



2) Did you run into any unexpected issues?
I ran into many issues. Some were expected, others were a total surprise. My biggest challenge is that this was not a previously documented swap. So, I was on my own. Honestly there were a few times I almost threw in the towel. The biggest issue was just physically fitting the engine in the jeep. My goal was to keep the jeep as untouched as possible. that meant leaving the drive train in the stock location. I wanted all original driveshafts, cross member and trans cover, etc.

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1941 Ford GP Boise, ID **SOLD**

• CATEGORIES: Bantam-FordGP-WillysMA-EarlyJPs

UPDATE: **SOLD** Was $16,000.

For those looking for GPW/MB parts, at the end of this post Josh notes that he’s willing to sell groups of parts:

“I should also mention if you want to make it a full load, I have a very large number of GPW mb parts (windshields, fenders, gas tanks, transmissions.transfers, tandem tow bar and many little pieces about 6 large totes full.) As well as a few WW2 trailers that I could put into a larger package deal. I don’t currently have time to sell these things individually.”


“For sale: 1941 Ford GP #9714 dod 5/2/1941 first series project. The GP has all three data plates and the frame and tub #’s match. Engine is also first series GP #8966 but not matching.

The good:
Original data plates in good readable condition.
original pintle hook
Original solid wheels x2
Original spare tire carrier
original front seats (slightly altered)
original voltage regulator
brown coil
original radiator
original scalloped axles
original Knee shocks x4
original windshield frame, inner, and clamps.
original transmission hump (cut but not missing material)
Frame is very good condition
original transmission/ transfer. transmission is free, transfer case levers are not.
I believe to be an original jack is present.
3 partial 0-100 instrument clusters.
GP engine turns and looks good inside.
most major and minor body components are present and dash is intact nice fenders
reproduction front brake line
Rolls and steers very easy.
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1942 Photo of Ford GPs in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil on eBay

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

Here’s evidence of Ford GPs in Brazil.

View all the information on eBay

“1942 Press Photo American Jeeps in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This is an original press photo. “Jeep” cars of U.S. manufacture pass through a Rio de Janeiro street February 13, as Brazilian War Minister General Gaspar Eurico Dutra reviewed units of Brazil’s motor-mechanized forces before their departure for Recife. (Brazil – Defense). Photo measures 9 x 7.25 inches. Photo is dated 02-13-1942.”



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1944 Photo of Ford GP(?) At a Beach on eBay

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

Looks like a Ford GP to me.

View all the information on eBay

“1944- A U.S. Army soldier in a jeep watches a Piper J-3C 65 Cub, re-designated L-4 Grasshopper, liaison plane take off from a gravel road. Photo measures approx. 8″ x 10″”



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1940 Photo of Ford Pygmy on eBay

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

This is a great press photo.

“1940- Ford Pilot Model GP-No. 1 Pygmy, during initial testing after delivery to the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps at Camp Holabird in Baltimore on November 23.Photo measures approx. 7 1/4″ x 10”

1940-12-05-ford-pygmy-camp-holabird3 1940-12-05-ford-pygmy-camp-holabird2

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Early Jeep Seats? Newell, CA $300

• CATEGORIES: Bantam-FordGP-WillysMA-EarlyJPs

I haven’t seen enough prototype jeep seats to know if these are original or not.

“Metal seats from early US ARMY JEEP.”


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1942 War Bond Ad

• CATEGORIES: Artists/Drawings, Bantam-FordGP-WillysMA-EarlyJPs, Features

This war bond ad featuring what looks to be a Bantam BRC40 was published in the April 30, 1942, issue of the Daily Illini.


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Postcard w/Bantams on eBay

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

This postcard shows some Bantam BRC-40s.

View all the information on eBay



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1941 Ford GP Selkirk, NY **SOLD**

• CATEGORIES: Bantam-FordGP-WillysMA-EarlyJPs

UPDATE: **SOLD** Was on eBay

(11/09/2017) Rough shape, but these are hard to find.



“You are bidding on a rare prototype ford jeep known as the GP. This is a very early first series GP. Although incomplete it comes with many parts. The frame is in excellent condition. The tub will need repair and I’m including the front and rear floor replacement panels. Here’s a quick list of included items but I do have more that goes with the project. I have a title that matches the vin on the frame. This is your chance to get your hands on one at a very reasonable price.
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1941 Ford GP #9419 Rapid City, SD **SOLD**

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

UPDATE: **SOLD** Was $24,500.

Nice looking GP!

“The Ford GP offered for sale here is serial number 9419 and was built 24 April 1941 and assigned the US Army hood number W 2018213 at the factory. Ford GP 9419 was purchased from the family of a hunter at Deer River, Minnesota in 1984.

GP 9419 is complete with its original data plates (fairly rare for prototype vehicles) and the data plates match the frame serial number * 9419 * (which is also quite rare for prototype vehicles). This rare 76+ year old vehicle is 95% complete and almost everything has been restored or rebuilt by experts – the front and rear end, transmission and transfer case, engine, headlights and taillights, gauges, carburetor, etc. The sheet metal is all original except for the floor pan in the body, and there are quite a few rare bolts and nuts and some new-old-stock parts. The vehicle has never sat outside since it was purchased in 1984 and has spent the last 20 years in a tight, dry garage at 4500 feet elevation in the high desert climate of the Black Hills in southwestern South Dakota. The GP has a South Dakota title and is located only about 20 miles off the I-90 freeway on a good tar road.”

1941 Ford GP prototype, WW2 jeep for sale, jeep USA hood number W2018213, 1941 jeep with South Dakota title

1941 Ford GP prototype, WW2 jeep for sale, jeep USA hood number W2018213, 1941 jeep with South Dakota title

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1941 Ford GP Anthony, NM $55,000

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

Mark just listed this one over at

41 GP 9709 DOD 5/2/41
This jeep is 95% complete thou not 100% restored it has most all the hard parts present.
This is a nice GP if you have any questions please call.
I can email a detailed list of what this jeep has also I can take additional pictures of specific views if needed.”


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Ford GP Camp Croft Postcard on eBay

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

Good look at a Ford GP.

“VINTAGE POSTCARD – CONDITION: VG/some corner wear *SEE SCANS BELOW OF BOTH SIDES. DATE/ERA: c1940s. Standard Size 3.5×5.5 Inches.”

View all the information on eBay



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1941 Ford GP Selkirk, NY eBay

• CATEGORIES: Bantam-FordGP-WillysMA-EarlyJPs

Starting price is $7500. Thanks to Mike for spotting this one.

View al the information on eBay



“You are bidding on a rare prototype ford jeep known as the GP. This is a very early first series GP. Although incomplete it comes with many parts. The frame is in excellent condition. The tub will need repair and I’m including the front and rear floor replacement panels. Here’s a quick list of included items but I do have more that goes with the project. I have a title that matches the vin on the frame. This is your chance to get your hands on one at a very reasonable price.

1. Rolling chassis (correct axles)
2. Original tub
3. Transmission
4. Transfer case
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1944 Photo of Bantam BRC-60 on eBay

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

UPDATE: The same photo with the same caption, but dated slightly different, is for sale on eBay. The earlier one sold in March of 2016 (seen at bottom of post).

View all the information on eBay

1944-04-19-2-bantam-brc-60-1 1944-04-19-2-bantam-brc-60-2


(03/13/2016 original post) “1944- U.S. Army’s Bantam BRC 60 reconnaissance car on display in the Smithsonian Institute. Note: Still on display at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh.”

1944-04-19-bantam-brc-60-1 1944-04-19-bantam-brc-60-2

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1941 “Blitz Buggy” Article

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

This article showing the front of a Ford GP appeared in the October 15, 1941, issue of the Criag Empire Courier out of Colorado.