How the American Jeep got it's name

Discussion in 'General' started by Franek, Jun 12, 2009.

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  1. Franek

    Franek WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    In the beginning the Army wanted an all terrain vehicle. Bantam motors was the first to submit a vehicle. The Army liked it, but Bantam motors was a small company and not able to mass produce them. Willy's Motors and Ford got the contracts
    It was known as the GP. ( General Purpose vehicle). When the GI's got hold of it they called it a JEEP. The name was taken from a character in Popeye called (Eugene the JEEP)
    The name stuck :p
     
  2. Kuno

    Kuno Very Senior Member

    Was Bantam compensated for that the Gouvernment took Bantam' s car and let bigger companies make their money with it?
     
  3. Franek

    Franek WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Was Bantam compensated for that the Gouvernment took Bantam' s car and let bigger companies make their money with it?

    I really dont know. I am 84 yrs old and just remember a smidgen about that company..I suspect that they went out of business.
     
  4. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Well it could be said that Bantam owed royalties to Austin for the inspiration taken from them.

    The exact Bantam design wasn't really the one taken forward to production. The very similar Willys vehicle possibly holds more of that crown (A v. murky area). The selection between Bantam, & Willys (and to some extent Ford) was competitive & each borrowed from the other. Despite bantam's protestations there was no way they could accommodate even the initial production order so Willys began the work.
    After that, and due to the sheer demand for the new vehicle the mighty Ford took on production too, with Willys agreeing to sign over all the drawings without being paid.
    Bantam got a mild crack of the production whip, but only within their limited means. Their 'jeep' probably saved the company financially, for a while, them being forced out in '42 having received orders for just under 3000 BRC40 vehicles (Ford & Willys's contributions each numbering in the hundreds of thousands).
    I await correction on that potted development history... It's a long and specialised story and one I'm rather rusty on.

    As to how the jeep got it's name... That one rumbles on & on.
     
    Bodston likes this.
  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Adam,

    Were the 3 companies production Jeeps different in anyway of did they badge a part of the Jeep with Ford, Willy's or Bantam so it could be identified who built it?

    I only ask as I wonder if one type would be more sought after than the other.
     
  6. PeterG

    PeterG Senior Member

  7. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Andy - Hugely complex mate. Seriously - people dedicate their lives to this stuff.
    Overall the Ford & Willys vehicles are the same, with detail differences to crossmembers, nuts, panels etc... a minefield, and one for the specialists. They're largely interchangeable parts-wise - you see a lot of survivors with bits of both.

    I'm not even happy that Bantam actually manufactured any of the Standardised pattern, and if they only received orders for their earlier design and the BRC40 (To the books!).

    Outside of that, I do know that Bantams are extremely rare and expensive (one seen at Beltring, among hundreds of other jeeps) , but they couldn't easily be confused with 'normal' jeeps, being rather different in overall appearance.

    Good web-summary of the early history:
    Military Jeep History: Bantam to MB
    (Useful site overall really - Military 1/4 Ton Trucks )
     
    Drew5233 likes this.
  8. Franek

    Franek WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    The Americans were notorious in identifying original names with names that fit the occasion. The M3 sub machine gun was called a grease gun, because it resembled a grease gun of that time.
    The M3 submachine gun, also known as Grease gun, was developed as a cheaper war-time alternative to famous Thompson M1 and M1928 submachine guns.
     
  9. Kuno

    Kuno Very Senior Member

    ...and what was this "Austin Inspiration"?
     
  10. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Even by todays standards the WW2 Jeep still looks good.

    The ones you see renovated look like brand new and straight from the production line.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  11. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    ...and what was this "Austin Inspiration"?

    Bantam were the successors of the US Austin company, their first prototype had an engine that was essentially that found in the Austin 7.

    Having said that, and looking in Pat Ware's little history of Quarter tons - British Austin later (1943) borrowed a Willys MB chassis to prototype their own engine in, and in light of supply difficulties of the American vehicle were invited to produce a complete prototype 'similar' to the MB but using all British sourced components.

    Swings and roundabouts.

    The ones you see renovated look like brand new and straight from the production line.
    There are companies that will build you a completely 'new' but authentic Wartime jeep using exclusively NOS parts. No need for renovation ;).

    Edit:- As I just said to Andy, I'm scared of jeep history... and have probably already waded far out of my depth, the old confusion already coming on as 3 vehicles can essentially be called 'jeep' in a production/development context :unsure:.
     
  12. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Adam,
    It sounds fascinating, but you can drive a Willys Jeep and park it anywhere and it is guaranteed to turn heads.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  13. ozjohn39

    ozjohn39 Senior Member

    ....and they spent a zillion dollars producing a replacement.


    John
     
  14. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    The British didn't do much better, even while getting it about right with The Land Rover & Gipsy.
    Austin Champ - Owners Club - Home Page
    Austin Champ
    I love the Champ (we think of it as 'the Camp jeep'). Technologically impressive - but over-specified, over-complex, and over-priced could also all be applied to it
     
  15. MyOldDad

    MyOldDad Senior Member

    ...and what was this "Austin Inspiration"?

    Hi,
    Believe it or not, it was this fine machine:

    Austin 7

    Tom.
     
  16. ozjohn39

    ozjohn39 Senior Member

    Didn't they have a REALLY strong rubber band?


    John
     
  17. Kuno

    Kuno Very Senior Member

    Oooook - but only because the Bantam Engineers used the engine of the Austin 7 I cannot really see a 'relationship' to the later Jeep. I thought that the Jeep was a 'British Idea' but this is definitely not the case...

    Other case for the Landrover: They used a Jeep, removed the 'steel body' and applied a 'aluminum body'... it was about the same "inspiration" we find now in the Chinese car industry :)

    And come on - the Austin Gipsy was a pure 'inspiration by Landrover'...
     
  18. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    The direct relationship is that the light Austins were what showed certain engineers what a 'Light reconnaissance car' might actually be able to achieve. The original 'belly flopper' vehicle knocked up at Benning was essentially based on that machine. And the Belly-flopper can be seen as very significant in the interest in, and generation of, the jeep idea. Strange but true; an Austin 7 has a real place in jeep history.

    I wouldn't deny that Land Rover was based on the jeep... even Land Rover fanatics have to grudgingly admit that. Why mess too much with such a proven concept...
    Good humoured hisses and catcalls when this jeep visited the Beltring arena for comparison last year, during their '60 Years of the Land Rover' display :
    [​IMG]

    Gipsy owners seem fiercely defensive of the uniqueness of their vehicle, they might look similar but apparently were more sophisticated beneath the skin - not a vehicle I know much about but much talk of superior suspension and smoother rides... and more rust.
    Little page on the Gipsy's genesis and it's losing battle with the LR here, from the fine Austin Memories site:
    Austin Gipsy

    They're all similar, representing light off-roaders for 50-odd years.
    Excepting possibly the Champ, which strikes me as a real attempt to evolve the simple quarter-ton into something else... maybe running before they could walk though.
     
  19. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    Hi,
    Believe it or not, it was this fine machine:

    Austin 7

    Tom.

    Kinda reminds me, in appearance, to a Model T Ford

    [​IMG]\


    [​IMG]

    Was the Austin 7 4WD?
     
  20. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    I'd guess a model T would dwarf a 7? They really are tiny.
    Not 4WD Jeff, neither was the belly-flopper, extreme lightness and oversized tyres were the main things that gave them any off-road ability.
    The US QMC had been noodling about with AWD, and it was included in the specs that Bantam etc. worked towards.
     

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