Bill Spear Talks about Jeep History at the Marshall Museum

Noted Author Bill Spear did a presentation and spoke at the Marshall Foundation Museum on October 12. His book “Warbaby: The True Story of the Original Jeep” tells the story and history of the early Jeeps just before WWII. He extends the story with later years on how the Jeep was integral in many of the wars after WWII. His presentation focuses on both civilian Jeeps and military Jeeps but introduces visitors at the beginning, starting with the Bantam Company in Butler, PA.
He spent decades researching and detailing the early Jeep vehicles. Gathering interesting stories that would have never been told if not for his dedication to working hard to get them on paper, and publishing his book. With the age of the Jeep legacy being over 70 years, it is not easy finding relative information going back to the beginning, yet William Spear has brought the story together, not only, for his book, but for the series of narratives, documenting the early Bantam and Willys Jeeps. This presentation is only a first part of the Marshall Legacy Series. A sequence of events that are called "Let’s Get A Move On'. These focus on civilian and industrial mobilization during World War II. And of course, the Jeep was a large participant in that segment of the war. The Marshall Foundation is a legacy research center and museum, to reflect the life and integrity of George C. Marshall. He served in WWI and WWII. But served many other military and civilian agencies, and was an important part of American history in war and in peace. If you like older Jeeps, such as the Willys and MB series, we have some historical articles you may want to check out;
  • Jeep Military History - In 1940 the US Army sent requests for bids out for four-wheel drive vehicles, with a small wheelbase, and a weight limit of 1300 pounds and payload of 600 pounds. And the Army wanted prototype vehicles in only 49 days, a seemingly impossible deadline.
  • Check Out these 1940s Sea Jeeps - Enter the Sea Jeeps (which are also known as a “Seep” or a Ford GPA). After conquering the land, whether it was mud, rocks, or jungle bush, it’s not a far cry to think if a Jeep can do this well, maybe we can make a boat out of it too? Since Ford was already making Jeeps (based off the Willys design), the military had them come up with a vehicle similar to the already existing DUKWs (contracted for GM to make).
  • Origin of the “Jeep” Name? - There are some things that just can’t be fully explained, like the mysteries of the universe, or where the name “JEEP” actually comes from. Sure, there are stories, articles, rumors. With many an hour spent sitting around campsites and fishing trips, debating on how the name came about.
  • What are Jerry Cans? - The history for the Jerry can go way back to around the late 1930s. These were developed by a German engineer and by 1939, were stockpiled by the German military in the tens of thousands. (they refer to them as Wehrmacht-Einheitskanister).