Please Support our Sponsors

Bantam Reconnaissance Car No. 1


Country of Origin/Used by: USA 
First Produced/Service Dates: 1940
Manufactured by: American-Bantam Company
Crew: 1+3
Armament: None
Engine: 4-Cylinder Gasoline (Continental)
Miscellaneous Info: The one prototype vehicle, also referred to as the "American Bantam Special" or "Bantam Pilot Car", is seen by most experts as the first true military "Jeep" design. This "No. 1" car design stems from a US Army requirement for a new light multi-purpose utility vehicle, which would replace the motorcycle in the reconnaissance, messenger and weapons carrier roles.  In the Spring of 1940, the US Army formulated a series of basic specifications/features/performance requirements of the proposed vehicle design. Shortly afterward, they approached over 100 manufacturers in the US automotive industry to solicit bids to create the new vehicle.  However, most companies saw the requirements as unrealistic, specficially that a prototype be built within 50 days and that 70 pre-production models be finished before the US Army's November 1940 Autumn maneuvers. 

Only two companies expressed serious interest in producing the new vehicle: Bantam and Willys-Overland Motors (Ford only considering the possibility at the time). Ultimately, Bantam was the lone company that actually produced a prototype within the time alloted; that vehicle being the Bantam Recon Car Number 1.  The pilot car was extensively evaluated for the next 30+ days by the US Army at both Camp Holabird, Maryland (primarily) and Fort Knox, Kentucky and performed quite well during the tests. Although some problems were encountered, the US Army was very satisified with the vehicle, so Bantam started the manufacture of the improved 70 pre-production Bantam Mark 2 (Model 60) Recon Cars; followed very shortly after by the standard production BRC-40 Recon Cars

Data Sheet Available:    None Available


Reference Source/Provider
Bantam Recon Car No. 1 Photos Compiled by Dave Haugh - Content Editor
Bantam Recon Car No. 1 Photos (Replica Vehicle) Keith Ross - Oklahoma, USA

References Available


Reference Source/Provider
Bantam Recon Car No. 1 Information and Photos Andy's French Military Jeep Site
Bantam Recon Car No. 1 Information and Photos CJ3B.Info
Bantam Recon Car No. 1 Information and Photos Olive Drab.Com


Reference Author
All-American Wonder: The Military 1/4 Ton 4x4 Truck -Volumes 1-3 (Victory WW2 Publishing) Ray Cowdery (Vol. 1 & 2) & Fred Crismon (Vol. 3)
Essential Military Jeep (Bay View Books) Graham Scott
Jeep Genesis: The Rifkind Report (ISO-Publications) Herbert Rifkind
Jeep Goes to War: A Pictorial Chronicle (Courage Books) William Fowler
Jeep: Warhorse, Workhorse & Boulevard Cruiser (Motorbooks International) David Featherston

Jeeps: 1941-45 (Osprey Publishing- New Vanguard #117)

Steve Zaloga
"Meet the Ancestors" (April 2012 Issue of Military Machines International Magazine) Mark Askew
Military Jeep: 1940 Onwards (Ford, Willys & Hotchkiss) (Haynes Publishing - Enthusiasts' Manual) Pat Ware
Military Jeeps: 1941-1945 (Brooklands Book Distribution, Ltd.) T. Richards
Pre-Standardized Jeep Walkaround (5711) (Squadron-Signal Publications)

Review by Patrick Keenan at the Armor Modeling and Preservation Society (AMPS) Website
David Doyle
Rare WW2 Jeep Photo Archives: 1940-1945(Jeep Promotions, Ltd.) Mark Askew
U.S. Military Wheeled Vehicles  (Crestline Books) Fred W. Crismon
Warbaby: The True Story of the Original (Bantam) Jeep (Points North Press) William Spear
World War II Jeep In Action (First Edition) (Squadron Signal Publications) David Doyle
World War II Jeep In Action (Second Edition) (Squadron Signal Publications)

Review on WarWheels by Andrew Renshaw
David Doyle

Hobby Modeling

Kits and Accessories

Model Kit Manufacturer Scale Other Information
Aftermarket Item Manufacturer Scale Other Information

Model Photos

Reference Source/Provider