Bantam Jeep


Joshua Martin, Staff Writer

The Jeep, a vehicle that’s good for taking your fun adventure off the main road. The origins of the Jeep are very interesting, its invention and production all started in the city of Butler, Pennsylvania. The company that developed and produced the Bantam Jeep was The American Bantam Car Company. 

In 1940, the U.S Army asked 135 tractor and car companies to develop a vehicle that is capable of reconnaissance, hauling soldiers, and heavy artillery. One of the other criterias was that it was supposed to have good handling when driving through rough battlefield terrain. Only two companies responded to the call: The American Bantam Car Company, and the Overland Motors of Toledo.  

The development of the Bantam Jeep started off rather rough: it was just the factory manager Frank Fenn and Arthur Brandt, who was previously a General Motors executive, and a skeleton crew working feverishly on the Bantam Jeep project. Then Frank Fenn decided to call a freelance car designer Karl Probst, from Detroit. He was offered the job of helping the factory design the specs of the Jeep. 

After some time passed, a prototype version of the Bantam Jeep was created. It was called the Bantam Reconnaissance Car or BRC. The BRC had to go through rigorous testing and had to meet the U.S Army’s standards of a battlefield car. The testing took place in Camp Holabird Maryland, and it lasted 30 days. All in all the BRC passed the test with flying colors and now The American Bantam Car Company had to start making more jeeps in mass production. 

The U.S Army had a production requirement of 75 cars a day, and unfortunately the bantam factory in Butler could not keep up with the requirement. The army ended up giving Ford Motors and Willy’s Car Company the contract to make the Bantam Jeep. The two were able to keep up with the production requirements and produced the army’s needed 600,000 Jeeps for the war.