He grew up in Ellis, Kansas, where his career as a machinist and railway mechanic in Ellis began. He then spent years working for various railway companies as a mechanic working his way up through positions such as foreman, superintendent, division master mechanic, and general master mechanic.
Soldiers plow through a sugar cane field in Puerto Rico in Photo from National Archives For more photos of this history-making vehicle, click here. The grizzled old cavalry sergeant presses his. Endearing, indomitable, indispensable, incredibly versatile and, in truth, virtually indestructible, the jeep has endured as the ubiquitous icon of American military might.
The motorcycle with sidecar used in that war had proved too noisy and unstable in the mud of France. During the s, the army experimented with stripped-down Model T Fords equipped with salvaged airplane tires for greater traction. But when loaded down for combat, the Tin Lizzie lost power and maneuverability.
During the s, army engineers tested little Austin roadsters developed in England and four-wheel-drive vehicles improvised from Ford delivery vans.
In they tested perhaps the most interesting machine—a combination reconnaissance vehicle and machine gun carrier developed that year at the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia.
An automotive enthusiast, Capt. Howie, working with Master Sgt. Wiley, assembled it largely from scrap parts. It was a simple, low-slung platform with the front wheels powered by a rear-mounted Austin four-cylinder engine. It carried a machine gun and a two-man crew, who lay prone. The driver pushed the clutch and brake with his feet and steered with a hand lever.
There were no springs, and it was a hard, punishing ride. Officially known as the Howie Machine Gun Carrier, the machine quickly earned the obvious nickname: Though designers wanted a low silhouette suitable for combat, the Belly Flopper turned out to be slung too close to the ground for cross-country travel and too light for rugged use.
Nonetheless, the army took the idea seriously enough that in early a demonstration was staged for representatives from the automotive industry. The outbreak of war in Europe and the remarkable mobility demonstrated by the German forces brought new urgency to that quest. After France capitulated in Junethe Army Quartermaster Corps issued specifications for a lightweight reconnaissance vehicle that could also carry men and equipment across rough terrain.
The specifications included four-wheel drive, a load capacity of pounds, a maximum height of 36 inches, and a folding windshield. Requests for proposals to make 70 such pilot models went out to no fewer than companies associated in some way with the automotive industry.
Both were relatively small, financially troubled automakers that had already tried to interest the army in their lightweight vehicles. On the face of it, Bantam appeared unlikely to succeed in the competition for a contract. Bantam was the successor to American Austin, which had gone bankrupt, and it made a competent small roadster not unlike the British-made Austin.
Bantam was now struggling, however. It had only 15 employees; its plant in Butler, Pennsylvania, had shut down; and it no longer even had an engineering department. At the same time, Bantam had experience building small, lightweight vehicles that were something like what the army wanted.
Three specially modified roadsters provided by Bantam had been tested with success by the Pennsylvania National Guard in summer training in Hoping a government contract would revive the company, Bantam recruited a well-known and highly respected Detroit engineer named Karl K.
Probst to head up its desperation effort. Lacking funds to pay him a salary, the company promised Probst a fee contingent upon winning the contract.
The following day, he sat down at the drafting table.Willys-Overland and its successors, Willys Motors and Kaiser Jeep continued to supply the U.S. military, as well as many allied nations with military jeeps through the late s. In , the first post-war military jeep, the M38 (or MC), .
Briggs Brown Essay Contest - Dallas, Texas (J.N. Willys presenting Prizes) Fashion Wise - 20th Century Man The Willys Overland Knight Story Part VII, The Roaring Twenties, (Cars and Parts Magazine, by Menno Duerksen) The story of a Russell Model G that almost ended up as a WW2 scrap metal contribution.
What others are saying " Willys Overland submitted by mike gardner" "willys jeep I want one so bad" "willys jeep m Listed as M38 but with the pioneer tool indents on the left and the roof bow brackets it looks more like a early CJ2A?".
- Willys-Overland resurrected as a wholesale/retail parts business. - By the time the last CJ5 rolls off the line in , more than , of the vehicles have hit the highways in the U.S.
and around the world. The jeep was created in record time at the outbreak of World War II, the fruit of a U.S.
Army–brokered “collaboration” between Ford and two smaller companies. The jeep has endured as the ubiquitous icon of American military might. Willys-Overland and Ford had both responded to the bid but were unprepared to meet the 49 day deadline set by the government.
The companies eventually were given the drawings of the Bantam vehicle and were instructed to build their pilots.