75 years ago the concept of the Jeep was born and in true American style it was then destroyed for Army testing.
It was designed by Butler’s American Bantam Car Company, called the Bantam Reconnaissance Car (BRC) this was the prototype for all future Jeeps. Luckily a Texan Jeep enthusiast Duncan Rolls has spent 4 years re-creating the pilot vehicle so the BRC has not been lost to the history books.
World War II forced the need for a reconnaissance vehicle so the BRC design evolved into the Jeep Willys-Overland MLW-2 (T24) or better known as the Jungle Jeep.
In 1943 necessity again played a hand as the Jungle Jeep struggled with the muddy fields on the Pacific airstrip and by 1944 the Willys were upgraded.
Now the Jeep had 4×4 capacity, a 92 inch wheelbase, 58.75 inch axle width with upgraded springs and 36 inch greater clearance oh and the latest mod con of 5 gears. Within the war period several assignment specific modifications were added to the Willys, but the basic bones of the vehicle were the same. The end of War halted progress under Military supervision. The familiar Willys shape that we all recognise today was established, hence forth all further developments were conducted by civilian designers for personal and agricultural applications, evolving into today’s Jeep Wrangler.
If you are a Jeep enthusiast then don’t miss Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival at Butler in Pennsylvania, America on 12th-14th June 2015. To celebrate the 75th Jeep anniversary the festival plans to beat it’s own Guinness World Record with a parade of 2,500 Jeeps on Friday the 12th. The lead 75 cars in the parade will be reflecting the 75 years of Jeeps history, with thanks to Duncan Roll for bringing his BRC and Omix-Da attending with six of their rare Jeeps.
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