Last Modified July 23, 2002

© Wm Spear 2002

No part of this document may be published in any form or with out the express permission of the author.

The specifications of the July QMC IFB on July 11, 1940 which are specifically relevant to the jeep were largely based on Bantam small car expertise and on actual Bantam civilian car blueprints, not on independently developed or Army plans or expertise on file.

QMC fans may find this hard to take, but the fact of the matter is we go from the crude cocktail napkin drawing in item 2 above on June the 19th to 08370-Z in item 1. on July the 1st, a matter of ten or eleven days. Yes, Bob Brown and his staff at Holabird probably did the actual drafting of the drawing, but every detail of it, and every single specification was participated in by Harold Crist and or Frank Fenn or others at Bantam.

Much is made of the Army "specifications" but in reality this is a standard Army bid form which has very little unique about it and covers important things like it should have 5 and a half inch headlights, or blackout lights. On June 20, Harold Crist provided Bob Brown with armloads of Bantam blueprints and engineering data and drove him from from Butler to Pittsburg where Brown took all the material back to Holabird. Because of the Probst story most historians like to dismiss the physical Bantam heritage in the original plans, but they forget that the weight limit was still under 1300 lbs, and the wheel base was still the Bantam 75 inches, plus four and a half more for a transfer case.

If you doubt where the Army drawings had their genesis, have a look at the accompanying comparison of dashboards. The top photo is of a standard Bantam Roadster/Speedster designed by the brilliant Alexis de Sahknoffsky for Bantam in 1937. It is a pleasing blend of art nouveau gull-wing lines perfectly suitable for a little confection like the sporty prewar open Bantam. It is not however what even Sahknoffsky would have designed for a military vehicle and certainly the hard bitten functionalists at Holabird, Army OR civilian, would never have come up with it on their own.

None -the-less, we find the nearly identical dash design in 08370-Z (center) on July 1. For those QMC-or-certain-Army-Officers-invented-the-jeep fans who envision drawers full of practical, functional Army designs at Holabird before meeting Bantam, this coincidence requires some explanation. My explanation is that Harold Crist followed through with exactly what he said he was going to do on June 19th, to wit, take the Bantam cowl and widen it six inches for the proposed vehicle. The bottom photo shows the dash of the #7 car which I took at the Smithsonian last year, and which is as far as we know identical to the #1 car delivered on September 23d.

Neither the Army nor Karl Probst had anything to do with this IMHO. I would hazard a guess that the sardine can shape may have come out of Holabird, although it looks very much like the rear end of a Bantam Riviera or Speedster to me. If you take the required written specifications and draw a picture of it, I believe you too will invent this shape. Given all of the events from the beginning of time up until September 21 I would give the Army, including Brown's contributions if any, a mercy 20% to the Bantam 80% provided by Payne / Evans/ Fenn/ Crist/ Hemphling/ Turner/ Probst and others.


Help me out here. Can you point me to FACTS which would change this admitttedly arbitrary percentage? Let's hear it.

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