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Willys Bantam And Ford

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'41 Willys MA, Bantam BRC-40, and Ford GP
Contrary to some versions of history, there was no direct competition between the three OE manufacturers for the first production contract. Each was tested individually to determine if it was fit for military service. After that, it mostly came down to a low bid. There was an official moment in the summer of 1941, however, just before Willys won the bid, when the three were tested side by side. It didn't have any influence on the contract but, in a nutshell, the Willys was lauded for its power and performance, the Ford for its layout, and the Bantam for its handling, braking and fuel economy. Of the three prestandardized models built, only 1,555 Willys MAs were built in 1941, and only some 30 remain today. They are very different from the standardized MB, even the mechanical parts. The BRC-40 in the center was the last jeep developed by Bantam. It was always the lightest and most nimble of the three prototypes. There were 2,605 built, and fewer than 100 remain today. The GP on the end was most numerous of the pre-standardized jeeps, with Ford cranking out between 4,500 and 5,700 units (the records conflict). Survivors may run as high as 250, but as with the other prestandardized jeeps, many of those are little more than a pile of parts with a serial number.

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