[MV] The meaning of GPW et al.

jim gilmore (jgilmore@oeonline.com)
Tue, 05 Oct 1999 16:44:54 -0500

Dear list members and interested jeep fans,

Please excuse the long delay in getting this response out. Due to a heavy=
work load in the past weeks my time before the computer has been very=
limited. This, coupled with week long problems accessing my *%#$#!! =
internet server, has resulted in the lateness of this post.

Much of the text/data/quotes contained in this posting will be=
used in a upcoming article intended for publication in a national magazine.=
Therefore, I must start with this statement.

Notice: All information, data , charts,=
quotations and copy,
with the exception of comments by Todd Paisley, contained within=
this document are=20
Copyright James T. Gilmore, 1999=20
It's use in any publication without permission is=
expressly forbidden.

OK, that said, let's proceed,

>Todd quotes me;
>>> The W was added to the GP designation to differentiate between the=
>>> design jeep with Ford motor and the Ford design jeep with Willys motor.
>>> Ford considered the MB to be derived from the Ford design
>>> and blueprints. Which it was !! Yes, Yes, I know that Bantam=
>>> the jeep, however the body design of the MB/GPW was pure Ford !
>Todd wrote;
>>Pure rubbish. The Ford pilot models and GP were knock-offs and=
>>of the Bantam pilot model and BRC-60 (of which Ford was given the=
>>to by the QMC).
Hold on here. I was talking about the BODY design, not the=
general layout of the vehicle. You are correct that Van Dykes were given=
out by the QMC. Bantam, Ford and Willys were ALL required to provide the=
QMC with the drawings of their respective pilot vehicles. It was the QMC=
that set the original specifications as to weight, length, height, and=
features that they wanted for the pilot models. Bantam (and Ford & Willys)=
produced their pilot model to the QMC specifications, not the other way=
around. Would we then say that the Bantam is a knock off of the QMC since=
they came up with the idea of a 1/4 ton 4x4 first? It is the QMC=
specifications that determined the basic shape/size/wheel base/cowl height=
of the pilots. However, each manufacturer interpreted these specifications=
in their own manner.

> There is a hell of a lot more to a Jeep than the headlights
>>and windshield. Changing the headlights and windshield are refinements,=
>>revolutionary ground breaking work.

I would say that the swing-up headlights (with their grille=
attachment), fold-forward windshield (and it's frame) and even the rear=
seat (GP/MB), were in fact, ground breaking. So much so that the United=
States Patent Office gave Clarence Kramer PATENTS on each one of these=
items. BTW..in the patent drawings for each of these inventions a complete=
jeep is shown, not just the item being patented. Even the first Willys=
Quad (2 WD) was later fitted with the Kramer designed windshield.

As far as Dale Roeder's statements, he gave many wrong statements: =20

Please reread my original posting. I stated ; "Now Ford, in contrast=
to Willys, never claimed to have "invented" the jeep. They always gave=
credit where credit was due. A good example of this is this quote from an=
interview of Dale Roeder, head engineer of the 1/4 ton recon car project=
(1940/41) "=20

I then quoted Mr. Roeder " So the jeep was in reality was a sort of a=
hybrid, a composite of all these other designs. The jeep that was finally=
produced was the concept of the Bantam Company...... "

The reason I quoted Mr. Roeder was not to "prove" my claim that the MB=
body was derived from Ford design. It was to show that, here was the head=
engineer of the Ford jeep development team being interviewed, and the FIRST=
thing he does is credit the not only the Bantam Company for the concept,=
but that it was a composite of the other designs !! Compare his frankness=
of the jeep origin with the claims of Willys that "It was the great Willys=
civilian engineering staff fresh from their triumphs in the Willys-Americar=
and the Go-Devil engine, who collaborated with the Quartermaster Corps of=
the U.S.Army to create and perfect the jubilant jeep". Other ads stated=
things such as (Willys) "gave birth to the amazing jeep of today." =
"create" and "gave birth" was really stretching the truth, so much so that=
the Federal Trade Commission forced them to stop these misleading ads.
As for the rest of Roeder's quote, if I had any idea that it would cause=
such consternation I would have left it out! However, it is my policy,=
whenever possible, to include the entire quote. Quotes can change meaning=
entirely if parts of them are left out. (example: the statement "I like the=
Nazi S.S uniform, but hate what they stand for" can be cut to "I like the=
Nazi S.S........". Not exactly what the=20
the original quotation meant but it IS the quote!!)
Lets look at the rest of Mr. Roeder's quote; =20
"It had a Willys designed engine and it had a Ford body, frame,=
generator, starter, shock absorbers -- but all these components were=
interchangeable." =20
Dale Roeder did not say that these things were designed by Ford. He=
was, in this interview, speaking about the Ford built jeep (GPW) He is=
correct that the body, frame, generator,starter etc. were Ford, that is,=
produced by Ford (or for Ford by their subcontractors). =20

I should note here that I did not interview Mr. Roeder and Mr.=
Sheldrick, these were done in the late 1950s for a Ford historical=
document. The transcripts of the interviews are in the Ford Archives. It=
was Clarence Kramer that I interviewed and corresponded with before his=
death on August, 20 1994.

>>>it had a Ford body
>>As far as the body is concerned, the MB/GPW was designed by=
>>Any other statement is pure fiction. There exist MB blueprints dating=
>>to July 1941. This is MANY MANY months before Ford was asked to produce=
>>GPW. There also are NO body parts on the GP that are interchangeable with
>>the MB body. Did Willys use design ideas that originated from Ford when
>>they designed the MB/GPW body? You bet... (snip) ...
> Is this not exactly what I was saying? Please read my original=
posting again. I did not state that the MB was an EXACT, part for part,=
duplicate of the Ford. I stated " Ford considered the MB to be DERIVED=
from the Ford design and blueprints. Which it was".( I will retract the=
word "pure" from my statement that the body was "pure" Ford as the body=
tubs were basically all the same as the Bantam) The key word is "derived"=
and I was talking at the time only about the design of the body. (ie)=
Where did the features (designs) that make up the MB body came from.=
Which pilot model (Willys Quad, Budd bodied Ford, Kramer bodied Pygmy or=
Bantam) were the first to use them. This will show were the "design"=
features originated from. It would be incorrect to say for example, that=
the grab handles on the MB were a Bantam design, because the Bantam pilot=
did not have them! The Willys, Budd and Ford bodies first used them.

>But to call it a Ford design is totally misleading...(snip)
Again, let me quote my original post " To see where the design=
originated from you must compare the first four pilot models to the final=
OK, lets look where the design features of the MB body first came from.=
We will compare a first month MB to each company's pilot model.

design MB Pygmy Quad =
Budd Bantam

Grille shape flat flat rounded=
rounded rounded
construction barstock barstock tube =
tube tube
headlights swing up swing up fixed =
fixed fixed
mounting under hood under hood fender =
fender fender
hood flat, flat, =
rounded, rounded, rounded,
rectangular rectangular tapered =
tapered tapered
cowl flat flat =
rounded rounded rounded
gearshift on floor on floor steering=
column floor floor
windshield fold-foward fold-foward hinged =
hinged hinged
construction tubular tubular =20
top bow double bow double bow single bow =
single bow single bow
fenders flat-open flat-open =
flat-enclosed rounded rounded
rear fender-
tool boxes yes yes ?? =
yes ??
grab handles 2 per side 2 per side 2 per side =
2 per side none
hood latch "T" spring hook "T" spring hook ?? =
palmscrew palmscrew?
windshield latch "T" spring hook "T" spring hook wing nut =
wing nut wing nut
blackout lights grille mount grille mount fender =
fender fender

Now if we look at the chart above we see that the MB body has a flat=
rectangular hood, flat bar stock grille, swing-up head lamps and blackout=
lamps behind the grille, flat open fenders, tubular fold-forward=
windshield, double-bow top bow, and flat cowl. Now, which one of the pilot=
model bodies has all these features?
The Ford Pygmy. Even something as simple as the "T" spring hooks for=
the hood and windshield were first used on the Ford pilots. The features=
of the Kramer designed Pygmy body were carried over to the final product,=
the MB. (I will agree here that the shape of the top of the MB flat fender=
is like the Quad, that is two piece (although with sides) , but the open=
style (flat with no sides) flat fender was first used on the Pygmy). =20
I ask the question, besides the two piece shape of the front fenders, what=
part of the MB body design originates from the Willys Quad?

(It is easier to see where the body design came from if the photos of=
the four pilots and MB are right in front of you to compare. Do any of the=
jeep web sites have these photos on their site?)
I am not shorting Bantam here. We are talking about the body design of=
the pilots compared to the final product. I would credit them with the=
body tub and door cutaways. Had it not been for Clare Kramer the MB body=
would have looked like the Bantam BRC 60 or the Quad.

It wasn't just the Ford people that thought the design came from their=
At this point of the discussion I will call an expert witness who=
will support my claim.

"Francis H. Fenn, President, American Bantam Car Company"

This data is from the Ford Archives and is a transcript entitled "Testimony=
taken of hearing before the Truman Committee investigating National=
(Room 318 Senate Office Bldg., Washington D.C.) August 6, 1941
"FIRST WITNESS: Francis H Fenn, President, American Bantam Car=
(A Pennsylvania Corporation located in=
Butler, Pa.)
witness was asked to give a history of the development of the "jeep" car.
His statement was as follows."
I will leave out the testimony that follows to save space ( 3 pages)=
in this already volumous posting and cut to the following quotation from=
the transcript of Mr. Fenn's testimony;

QUOTE the testimony transcript of Mr. Fenn; " Specifications were=
written and bids were let out to take "all or none" on one specification. I=
would say that the specifications involved certain changes that the Army=
desired. (in answer to a question the witness said that he thought that the=
manufacturer who could have built the 16,000 units with the least change in=
design from those already built was Ford). They involved extensive front=
end metal changes, lengthening the body an inch and a few other items which=
were hard on us" UNQUOTE the transcript. Note that the sentence contained=
in ( ..) is in the original transcript and not from me.
Even the President of the Bantam Car Cop., developers of the concept, in=
sworn testimony before a U.S. Senate Committee, thought the Ford to be the=
closest to the final specifications. (it was these specifications that the=
MB was built to.)

My quote,
>>> Oh by the way, did I mention that the pressed steel slotted grille
>>> that is the trademark of the Jeep division of D/C Corp. was designed by
>>> Clarence Kramer? Yep, another Ford design claimed by the heirs of=

>>Todd's quote,
>>This is another myth that seem to perpetuate. There are Willys-Overland
>>drawings (A-2981) which shows the stamped grille being shown as early as
>>September 1941, one month before the Ford contract.=20

This is very interesting ! Does this document show the exact GPW/MB=
pressed grille? I would love to see or have a copy of this document. In=
fact, I would think that Daimler/Chrysler would give a kings ransom for=
anything that could PROVE they (Willys Overland) designed the WW II jeep's=
pressed steel grille! I do not say this in a "smart ass" way but=
genuinely mean it. You see, D/C Corp. has a problem. They just lost a=
landmark case concerning the Jeep grille. They (Chrysler, now=
Daimler/Chrysler Corp.) had for some time, run around the country=
threatening major lawsuits against anyone using "their" grille trademark=
for any purpose. I even know of a Military jeep dealer (he used the jeep=
grille on his business cards) who was threatened with a lawsuit! He now=
uses a Bantam BRC 40 grille on his cards. Several years ago I was=
contacted by Ted Vanzant who produces jeep grille overlays and was being=
sued by Chrysler Corp. Ted had heard that I had data on the design of the=
pressed steel grille and that I had interviewed the designer (Kramer). I=
sent him data and had him contact Mr.Kramer. I just contacted Ted to see=
how he made out (one of the reasons for the delay in sending this post) and=
he replied;

"Jim, I want you to know that I really appreciated all the help I received=
from everyone. Chrysler never admitted anything -- They used words such as=
"it is not relevant who created the grille". A lot of the info never got in=
at the actual trial but was put in during various motions. I was able to=
get most of Chrysler's case dismissed on Summary Judgment. The only issue=
left for trial was wether or not my grille overlay would dilute their=
trademark's effectiveness". =20
Ted has a great web site that tells the story of his struggle with D/C=
Corp. that you will enjoy at http://www.wee1.com/goliath.htm Check it=
out and be sure to click on the origin of the jeep grille for more of this=

I refer to this court case as further documentation that Willys did not=
design the WW II jeep pressed steel grille. If the grille was first=
designed by Willys then why would Chrysler not be able to prove this in=
court? If the drawing Todd refers to (A-2981, is this a drawing number=
or a part number? the MA grille # is A-2207, MB slat # is A-2858 and MB=
pressed grille # is A-3615) has a date of September 1941, it brings up some=
interesting questions such as; If Willys designed the pressed steel grille=
by 9/41, why did they not use it in production which started 11/41? Why=
did they wait until 3/42 (after nearly 26,000 MB jeeps were built) to use=
the pressed grille on the MB? Why use the more costly and time consuming=
built up bar stock (slat) grille if they had the design for the simpler and=
cheaper grille? =20

In my interview with Clarence Kramer he stated that the first=
(pressed) grille was hand made on a wood form at the Ford Engineering lab.=
He later wrote me on 7/21/93 ;
"Just a note to fill you in on the brush guard construction used on the Ford=
GP(W) 1/4 ton truck.
The hammer form I referred to in our meeting was used to determine=
how long a flange we could get in the forming the sheet steel in the upper=
and lower portion of the opening between the vertical guard struts. It=
proved to be adequate.
The detail drawing of the brush guard panel was then completed. I=
then presented a blueprint of the guard panel to Mr. Robert Brown, at=
Holabird, and he asked if it would be strong enough. I assured him that it=
would be. He then OK'd it's use.
Mr. Dale Roeder was present in our meeting."
Mr. Kramer then added a PS. ;
"Ford Motor Company needed approval on the use of a one piece stamping=
replacement from the strip steel design brush guard that was approved as=
part of the prototype vehicle approved by the Army. This is a normal=
requirement on all Government contracts of this type."

Mr. Kramer was correct that any deviation from the contract=
specifications required approval from the QMC (and later the Ord. Dept)=
before it could be used. These changes were authorized by the Chief of=
Ordnance as Engineering Change Orders (E.C.O.). Even something as simple=
as stencilling "no spare tire" on the jeep shipping crates required one of=
these (E.C.O. 8930, 9/30/44). Maybe someone will come up with the E.C.O.=
on the pressed steel grille and we will find out more about it's origin. =

Even when Willys did
>>adopt the stamped grille, it was initially made by a company called=
>>Forging and Socket.

The "fact" that WF&F produced the pressed steel grille has been written=
in several books with some going as far as saying that they (WF&F) designed=
it! I have found only ONE (1) reference to WF&F in all of the=
thousands of pages of documents that I have reviewed in the Ford Archives. =
In the "infamous" La Croix file is the statement " Among other Company=
developments was a pressed-steel brush guard-lighter, lower in cost,=
stronger and requiring less critical tools than the previous welded bar=
design. It was designed by Ford in co-operation with the American Forge and=
Socket Company, Pontiac, Michigan." =20

I must stop here and state that the La Croix file is the single most=
source for INCORRECT data of Ford jeeps. La Croix was assigned to write a=
history of Ford wartime production. When you first go to the Ford Archives=
at the Henry Ford Museum and tell them you are researching Ford jeeps they=
put three boxes of data labeled "jeep" before you. In these boxes are many=
great photos and a lot of data.....MOST OF IT WRONG. This is La Croix's=
rough drafts of his history. They were later corrected and reprinted=
several times (at least four ) until he got most of it correct. This is=
where all the incorrect production figures, charts, etc. come from. The=
researcher, after going through these boxes, comes away with what he=
considers as THE data on Ford jeeps. Hey, it came from the "official" Ford=
records right? ALL data from the La Criox file should be confirmed with=
"hard" data before being used. =20
In later rewrites of the history the reference to WF&F is not included.=
According to all other Ford data, the GPW grille (and body assembly) was=
produced by the Lincoln Plant starting 12/17/41 until 9/16/43. The AF&F=
produced grille may have been used from the start or with the later=
"composite" American Central built GPW/MB bodies used by Ford until the end=
of production. More "hard" data is needed to determine if the grille was=
produced by Ford or a subcontractor.=20
As to the grille design, it is a fact that;

Ford used the pressed steel grille on ALL GPWs , production=
starting January 13, 1942.
Willys used the GP type slat grille on the MB until March 1942 , Sn.=
125,808 (TM-10-1186).

Unless Clarence can prove he designed the stamped
>>grille (for a vehicle his company wasn't even under contract to produce)
>>prior to September 1941, I file this under "urban legends".

The first contracts for the GPW were awarded to Ford Oct. 4, 1942. The=
Ford engineering staff knew that they would be getting this contract well=
before this date. Contract negotiations had been ongoing for some time=
before this. This was because the QMC/ORD wanted Ford to also produce the=
1/4 ton because of Willys dismal production performance in producing the=

There is phographic proof of the pressed steel grille's=
The earliest photographs I have found of a GPW with the pressed steel grille=
were taken outside the Ford Engineering Lab on 12/19/41 (FMC photo #76477).=
I also have photographs of the Ford pressed steel grille being test=
fitted by the Ford Engineering Lab to MB USA # 2031710, Sn# 1003?? (DOD=
11-1?-41) dated 11/21/41. This MB was supplied by the Government to the=
Ford Engineering Labs for engineering work and the photos show it outside=
the Ford Engineering Building. Can anyone come up with a photo of a=
Willys (or WF&F) made pressed steel grille before this date? Can anyone=
come up with a reason why, if Willys first designed the "famous" jeep=
grille, they waited for 6 months to use it? =20


Now, before closing this post I would like to again refer to the=
original subject, what GPW stands for. I have noticed that some people are=
still unconvinced as to the meaning of the "W". Let me again=20
state; the "W" was added by Ford to indicate the unit had the Willys=
designed motor. It was Ford that came up with the designation of GP and GPW=
so their explanation of it should be used as the correct meaning, not=
someone else's guess or what has been printed in all the books. I will add=
the following data from the Ford Archives to put the final word to this. =
In a Ford document titled "Letter identification and a brief description of=
same." (Ford Archives) it states "GPW - Ford-built Jeep (later model than=
the GP) "W" identifies unit as powered by the the Willys duplicated engine=
(60 horsepower) ".=20
Lest anyone misunderstand, "Willys duplicated engine" means Ford built=
duplicate of the 60 hp Willys motor. This meaning of the "W" even shows up=
in the monthly sales report for the Alexandria branch 1/42 (Govt. Sales)=
which notes under 4 cyl. sales " 1/4 ton reconnaissance car with Willys=

Well, this posting is now waay to long and has probably put most everybody=
to sleep, so I'll end it now.
Perhaps sometime I'll start a real firestorm and let you all know some=
interesting things I found in a obscure Quartermaster file in the National=
Archives titled "Lusterless Olive Drab"! =20


Jim Gilmore MVPA # 5843

Member Ist Michigan AOD Chapter MVPA
Great Lakes Chapter MVPA
Ohio Motor Pool Chapter MVPA
Red Ball Chapter MVPA
Ontario Military Vehicle Association
Midwest Military Vehicle Assocation
2656 Wiethoff, Inkster, Mi. 48141
313-561-8826 voice 313-730-1652 fax

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