Shimano Bantam

What does it mean when we say "pilot", "prototype" and other terms related to the early jeep?  This article briefly describes the terms and will help the reader understand their meaning.

Pilots - The Bantam BRC ("1"), Ford Pygmy, Ford Budd and Willys Quad were all pilot models.  Pilot models were required to be tested and accepted prior to production of the contracted order.  The Budd was not accepted or tested by the US Army and was returned to Ford.

Engineering Models or Educational Order - The Bantam BRC-60's were the vehicles produced after the Bantam pilot was approved for production.  An engineering or educational order was used to test the merit of the proposed product. The vehicle produced also tested the ability of the contractor to deliver the contracted item.

Prototypes - The Bantam BRC-40, Ford GP and Willys MA  were prototypes of the later standardized vehicle.  Each company was awarded an order for 1500 vehicles. Bantam and Ford produced more than 1500 as requirements increased and the war in Europe progressed.  The prototypes were models "rushed" into production and widely tested.  Willys only produced 1500 vehicles because they experienced difficulty in obtaining approval of their pilot model.

Standardized -  The Willys MB and the Ford GPW were the standardized "jeeps" of World War Two. The US Army wanted to standardized on one vehicle, reducing the logistical support obligations to one vehicle instead of three very different vehicles.  Willys was awarded the contract for the first 16,000 "standardized" 1/4-tons.  Subsequently, the Quartermaster Corps negotiated with Ford to be an alternate supplier of the Willys MB.  It was known as the Ford GPW.

Willys-Overland had the primary contract and built the majority of 1/4-tons (Model MB) for the war. 

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