The Bantam Jeep was a military vehicle during World War Two. The Company that founded it was the American Bantam Car Company. The army had trials between three different vehicles.
The Company that founded the Bantam GPV (General Purpose Vehicle) was the American Bantam Car Company. The company was called the American Austin Car Company, but it almost went bankrupt. The company was then bought by chairman, Roy Evans, who changed the name to the American Bantam Car Company. Bantam took the original design of a car and changed it into a car/truck 4X4 military type vehicle weighing no more than 590 Kg. Bantam was joined by Willys and later by Ford to submit designs and prototype vehicles for evaluation. Karl Probst, a freelance engineer, headed their project. They finished the drawings and the prototype vehicle was delivered. Having been satisfied with the performance the Army ordered seventy more to be built.
Willys came out with the quad followed by Ford’s Pygmy. They then started the trials. The trials went into the winter of 1940 and should have resulted in a winner right away. The Bantam was finished on time and met most of the requirements, while the others were delivered late. The Bantam performed well and the defects were soon corrected. However the Army identified strengths and weaknesses in each vehicle. The Bantam was considered too high off the ground and underpowered. The Willys Quad had more power, but was far too heavy. Ford’s Pygmy had the best steering but was well underpowered. There was also concern about Bantam’s limited production Capabilities. This resulted in a decision to order 1500 vehicles from each company, but they had to meet the original specifications though the weight limit had now been increased. The three vehicles became even more alike as each company changed their design.
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All the vehicles performed well but the army chose Willys design because it had the best overall value for money at $738, compared to the Bantam, which would cost $1166. They ordered 1600 more vehicles. The 40 BRC, Bantam’s final design for the military vehicle, was no longer needed by the US Army because it was none standard. After witnessing the trials the Russian purchasing Commission wanted the Bantam. In all 2675 Bantam jeeps were built, 62 had four wheel steering, as requested by the U.S. Bantam then stopped making military vehicles. After being the first to suggest and build a jeep, Bantam was forced to share their plans with companies and lost out in securing any work under contracts for the universal jeep. They then spent the rest of the war building trailers, aircraft parts, and torpedo motors.
The Bantam Jeep was made as a military vehicle for the U.S. Army during World War Two. The American Bantam Car Company found the military vehicle. Bantam then loses the trials and stops producing vehicles.