1941 Bantam BRC-40
In June 1940, the U.S. Army solicited bids from 135 automakers for a quarter-ton "light reconnaissance vehicle" for the impending entry to World War II. Three companies responded: Bantam, Willys, and Ford. But because of a lack of time and resources, the three automakers collectively produced the template for the vehicle. "The Bantam BRC-40 is the third generation of prototype from Bantam, following the original Bantam Pilot and the BRC-60," says Dave Logan, curator of Jeep accessory company Omix-ADA's vintage Jeep Collection. "After successfully meeting all of the army's requirements for a reconnaissance car, the BRC-40 was well liked and is considered by many to be the original jeep."