'40 Bantam BRC-60
This is the very last Bantam BRC-60 known to exist, the seventh built
New Ideas from Bantam, Ford, and Willys-Overland
Bantam began delivering the improved Mark II, or BRC-60, models in November of 1940. Also in November, a prototype from Willys-Overland arrived at Camp Holabird, followed shortly by one from Ford. Both of these came at the manufacturers' expense, and in response to urging from government and military officials concerned with broadening the expertise and manufacturing base of the project. (There was no shortage of politicking and one-upmanship, either.) Of the two late-comers, the Ford 1/2-ton, nicknamed "Pygmy," was the most prophetic because its features and layout provided an accurate snapshot of what the standardized model would come to be.
The Willys version was the most controversial, being grossly over the Army's weight limit. That fact almost nixed Willys' ability to bid, but the "Quad," as it eventually came to be known, had one thing the other two contract competitors didn't have: the powerful "Go-Devil" engine, which produced 33 percent more power than the others. Unfortunately, much of that extra power was negated by the Quad being 15 percent heavier than the other two jeeps. The Go-Devil was a good part of that weight difference, but Willys stuck to its guns, knowing that the extra power was going to be needed as more refined versions of the vehicle inevitably grew heavier. The weight issue would be the major bone of contention all through the early days, but eventually the Army realized its weight requirements were unrealistic. When the standardized model finally appeared, Willys' stance was justified. It was approximately the same weight as the original Quad, and the bigger powerplant gave it an adequate power-to-weight ratio.
'41 Willys MA, Bantam BRC-40, and Ford GP
Contrary to some versions of history, there wa
Military Jeeps, 1941
The prototypes from Bantam, Willys and Ford hinted at the performance and utility of the 1/4-ton 4x4 concept. There was a whole lot of haggling and political intrigue over getting a contract, but each of the three companies was eventually contracted to deliver 1,500 improved models each in the form of the Willys MA, Bantam BRC-40 and Ford GP. The thinking was that the government could then test them with actual Army units, determine the most desirable pattern, and finally homogenize the best features of each into a standardized concept. Subsequent contracts were issued to both Ford and Bantam, who rapidly completed their orders, and these extra prestandardized models were used to fulfill Lend-Lease requirements. Though the internecine fighting over contracts during this period reached legendary levels (even by usual corporate and government standards), from the vehicular point of view, it was a very positive move. The standardized jeep was a better machine as a result of three companies adding different design elements to it.
The prestandardized Willys MA was a real barn-burner. The company had worked very hard to bring the weight a few ounces under the arbitrary 2,150-pound limit, and with the 60hp Go-Devil, it had great reserves of power and really impressed the testers. The Ford GP and Bantam BRC were at about the same weight but with only 45 horsepower on tap. The Ford was plagued with a cranky carburetor and a balky transmission, inherited from the Model A. All of the prestandardized rigs used the same Spicer axles and transfer case (with some internal variations). The Willys and the Bantam models both used the same Warner Gear transmission, again with some variations in internal design.
'40 Willys-Overland Quad
Two Quads were built, one a four-wheel steering unit that was n
The test Quad acquired some 5,000 test miles, used up two engines, and broke the chassis.
'40 Ford Pygmy
The Ford Pygmy, shortly after its November 23, 1940 delivery, showing the