Karl Probst Automotive designer 1940 "The initial response was less than overwhelming, with only two companies responding; the Toledo-based Willys Overland Company and American Bantam Company of Butler, Pennsylvania. Willys was denied their request for more time, and the bankrupt American Bantam Car Company had no engineering staff left on the payroll. With some help from the Army, Bantam was able to convince the talented but reluctant Karl Probst – a freelance designer from Detroit – to join them and begin work on July 17, 1940, without salary."
In the end Karl Probst, a Detroit based consulting engineer, was called upon to undertake the assignment. Probst hesitated. He didn't need the work, and he knew that Bantam had no money with which to pay him. Anything he did would have to be done on a contingency basis. Not a particularly tempting offer. But then there was a call from his old friend William S Knudsen.. former president of General Motors. Knudsen was serving at the time as head of the National Defense Advisory Committee. and he made no bones about the urgency of his mission. "We think you can do this job faster than the big companies." he added. Bill Knudsen was the most persuasive of men. and Probst understood the critical nature of the Job he was asked to undertake. He loaded up his 1938 Buick coupe and headed for Butler that very night. By the following afternoon he was seated at a drafting table, laying out plans for what was to become the legendary Jeep. Incredibly, within 33 hours the design was completely roughed out.
Five days after Karl Probst sat down at his drawing table. Bantam submitted its bid. Willys submitted only a cost bid. while Ford and Crosley weren't even that far along. The Willys bid. though it was the lowest, was rejected because the company couldn't guarantee delivery of 70 pilot units by the deadline set by the Quartermaster Corps. So the initial contract went to Bantam, which was able to build the cars within the alloted time by employing proprietaiy components: 40-horsepower engines from Continental, transmissions from Warner Gear, transfer cases from Spicer, and so forth.
Когда руководство Вооруженных Сил США перед незбежной войной осознало необходимость создания нового мобильного транспортного средства, Военное ведомство объявило тендер на право сборки 70 автомобилей, которые бы отвечали следующим требованиям: вес - 585 кг, грузоподъемность - 297 кг. Но самым сложным условием оказались сроки, в которые участникам необходимо было уложиться – 75 дней.
Delmar G. "Barney" Roos (1888 – February 13, 1960) It's an even better legacy than the one bequeathed upon Roos in the realm of automotive folklore, as creator of the Jeep. He wasn't. But he did ensure that Willys won the contract to build the Jeep by digging out its ancient (1926, to be exact) Whippet four-cylinder engine, fitting a counterweighted crankshaft and aluminum pistons for a little more urge, and then making sure that the little scout car prototype could make the Army's weight limit. And that's only one story.
За разработку взялись 3 фирмы «Bantam», «Willys Overland» и «Ford» и Delmar G. "Barney" Roos и Karl Probst.
By October 1941, it was apparent that the jeep's versatility and usefulness would far exceed the Army's original expectations. A second source was sought, partly to increase the supply, but apparently largely as insurance against the possibility of sabotage at the Willys plant. And so began the production of both Willys and Ford jeeps.
Марка "Jeep" стала торговой маркой гражданских и армейских машин.
Впоследствии это название являлось составной частью наименования нового изготовителя джипов — компании "Кайзер Джип"Kaiser Jeep , затем его носили автомобили корпорации
American Motors , а в 1987 г. выкупивший ее Chrysler образовал в Толидо отделение JeepEagle .
После образования весной 1998 г. концерна "ДаймлерКрайслер" (DaimlerChrysler) его название изменили на "Джип" (Jeep Division) .
Bypassing Bantam, Quartermaster General E. B. Gregory Quartermaster General E. B. Gregory sought out Edsel Ford Эдсел Брайант Форд (англ. Edsel Bryant Ford) (6 ноября 1893 — 26 мая 1943) — сын Генри Форда, президент Ford Motor Company с 1919 по 1943 год. with the unprecedented request that his company manufacture jeeps according to the Willys design-including the Barney Roos "Go-Devil" engine . All parts, Edsel was told, were to be interchangeable between the Willys vehicles and their Ford-built clones.
Edsel Ford agreed without hesitation; and on January 10, 1942, it was announced that a negotiated contract had been made, under which Ford would produce 15,000 GPW (General Purpose Willys) vehicles, to cost $14,623,900.
Willys turned over to Ford its patents, specifications, and drawings -- without compensation, according to one report, although another source indicates that a royalty was paid. In any case, it was an almost unparalleled example of wartime cooperation between two competing firms. Indeed, the agreement may even have been illegal, yet it was considered vital to the war effort.
Incidentally, despite its similarity to the Willys MB, the Ford-built GPW is readily distinguished by its inverted U-shaped front frame cross member. The Willys version, in contrast, uses a tubular brace.
Over at Bantam, meanwhile, President Frank Fenn was understandably furious. In a letter dated March 23, 1942, he wrote, according to historians Denfield and Fry, that he "could not understand how Bantam had been denied a chance to bid when it had performed the major part in the jeep's development. . . ."
Instead of receiving a contract to produce more jeeps, American Bantam built carts to be pulled behind jeeps and other light trucks.
Fenn went on to say that his company had been first to make the proposal that the standardized vehicle should be built around the best elements of the three pilot models and had wished to share in the building of the car that would result. On the financial side, he said that he had paid Spicer , in the reasonable expectation that Bantam would benefit from the work it was doing, more than $130,000 in tooling costs for axle production . He had, in effect, subsidized Ford's and Willys's production.
Despite Fenn's protests, no more jeep contracts came American Bantam's way. By the time the war ended, Willys had produced 362,841 of the little quarter-tonners, while Ford had built 281,448. Bantam, the firm responsible for starting it all, had been granted contracts for only the initial 2,643 units -- a proverbial "drop in the bucket."
Bantam's final, forlorn hope was that it would be asked to produce the four-wheel-steer jeep, of which eight pilot models had been submitted. But the Quartermaster Corps -- despite pleas from the using arms -- abandoned that proposal, evidently on the grounds that the vehicle's advantages were not sufficient to outweigh the added complexity and the potential service problems in the field.
Given the shaky condition of American Bantam and the limited capacity of its factory, the decision to go with Willys and Ford, however harsh it may seem, may not have been entirely unreasonable. Certainly the product the larger companies produced was a good one. More than that, it became one of World War II's most enduring legends.
Following John North Willys' death in 1925, Ward M. Canaday assumed the leadership of Willys-Overland.
Ward Canaday was not an engineer. He was not really an automobile man at all, although he was responsible for introducing installment buying to the industry. But he did his homework, and in time acquired some understanding of the major engineering problems involved in automobile production. This was a major step in the development of the jeep.
It came to Canaday's attention that Delmar G. "Barney" Roos, formerly chief engineer at Pierce-Arrow, Locomobile, Marmon and -- more recently -- Studebaker, was working for the Rootes Group, in England. Roos had evidently never regarded this as anything more than a temporary assignment, and in 1938, having been out of the country for a year, he was ready to come home.
Canaday hired Roos, installing him as executive vice president and chief engineer of Willys-Overland. It was an inspired choice, for Barney, a former president of the Society of Automotive Engineers, was one of the finest engineers in the industry. And best of all, he had -- despite his earlier affiliations with gargantuan automobiles like Locomobile and Pierce-Arrow -- a particular interest in small cars.
Had Barney Roos been hired by an industry giant -- General Motors, perhaps -- or even a well-financed independent such as Packard or Nash, his obvious course of action would have been to design a new engine from scratch (something he had done several times). However, at Willys that was impossible -- the company was virtually broke.
The initial application of the Roos engine (eventually dubbed the "Go-Devil") came in 1939, in a new Willys model bearing an old name: Overland. It bristled with improvements, including hydraulic brakes and a larger capacity cooling system. Beneath it all was a stout new frame, reinforced by a rugged X-member. By any measure, it was a much-improved car with a much-improved engine.
Without knowing it, Bantam and Willys had separately created what has become known as the jeep. Bantam, with its original body design, and Willys, with Barney Roos's "Go-Devil" engine, had conspired to lay the groundwork for the vehicle that would change the face of modern warfare and continue unchanged for generations to come.However, the two companies were still far from sharing their information. It would take the U.S. Army and a world war to bring them together.