How much do you know about the origin story of the Jeep we all know and love today?
For example, did you know that the Jeep was originally invented for the United States military?
Okay, that was an easy one…
Here are a few more facts about the origin of this beloved American vehicle that you might not know.
Who made the first version of the jeep?
The American Bantam Car Company was the manufacturer of the original Willys Jeep.
During World War II, the United States began looking for a certain type of vehicle — something rugged, yet light — that could maneuver well on a variety of terrains. They sent a call out to American automakers.
The American Bantam Car Company was the only company that could get the job done before the military’s strict 75-day deadline.
The original name of vehicle was the “Blitz Buggy.”
Which manufacturer won the first official US military contract?
After American Bantam Car Company made their version, the United States called on a couple other car manufacturers that had more production power to help build test models. Both Willys-Overland Motors and Ford Motor Company studied the prototype and built their versions of it.
Willys-Overland Motors was ultimately picked by the military to produce vehicles for the United State military on a wide scale.
Their model, called Willys MB, or Model B, had a more powerful engine than the other options.
What were the deets on the WWII Jeeps?
Listed below are a few technical specs about the military vehicles themselves:
- The original WWII Jeeps weighed 1,300 pounds, but were later upgraded to 2,160 pounds. (For a bit of perspective, a Jeep Wrangler today weigh between 3,900 and 4,900 pounds.)
- Their wheelbase was 80 inches and they had a ground clearance of a little over 6 inches.
- Their length was over 10 feet long and it had the ability to haul up to 1,000 pounds.
- Under the hood was a four-cylinder engine which was able to deliver 60 horsepower at 4,000 RPM. (That might not sound like much today, but it was pretty impressive for its time.)
- The Jeeps had a three-speed transmission and were able to travel up to 45 miles per hour. It also included a four-wheel drive.
Are you a proud Jeep owner, or are you interested in becoming one?
Check out our online inventory of new and used Jeep Wranglers for sale at Bryant Motors today or visit our Sedalia dealership to test drive a predecessor of WWII history today!