When the United States Army sent out a request for the creation of a utility vehicle prior to World War II, it didn’t know that request would soon bring mass automotive evolution and, for the Jeep, a complete history of wartime contributions. Let’s look at some of these innovations with five Jeep names and their meanings used by the Military.
The Bantam is a rare vehicle: the American Bantam Car Company only made 2,675 for the US Army to test in 1941. It featured a flat hood, a two-piece windshield, and a slatted grille. A key identifier is the headlights’ setting in the fender. If you get the chance to restore one of these rare prototypes, it could be worth five figures or more.
One of the more popularly known Jeep names and their meanings used by the Military is the Quad. Before the United States entered the Second World War, Willys sent the Army a prototype for the Quad, surpassing the Army’s requirements and, ultimately, winning the contract with the Army. From there, Willys evolved the Quad into the Willys MA and produced roughly 1,500 units.
The Willys MA was the follow-up from the 1940 prototype. This version featured a flat hood, a column shift transmission, and a full-length fender for the headlights. Today, these are rare gems in the US; if appropriately restored with the right Willys Jeep restoration parts, one could be worth five figures and counting.
Between 1960 and 1988, the Ford, Willys, Kaiser, and Jeep companies created a mutt and designated it the M151. These military utility tactical trucks are most recognizable because of their unibody construction and slat grilles. The M151 later evolved into the M151A1 and the M151A2, which served similar functions.
The M718 ambulance is a variation of the M151 and M151A1. At the same time, its scooped-out marker lights are distinctive traits of the M151A2.
In the late ’50s, the US Marine Corps needed a lightweight vehicle, and the M422 fulfilled that request. The truck had a quick, maneuverable way about it and received the nickname “Mighty Mite.” This quarter-ton vehicle had two distinct variations: a 65-inch wheelbase and a 71-inch wheelbase on the M422A1. American Motors built 3,922 units of the Mighty Mite between 1959 and 1962, and each one contained an aluminum air-cooled engine and body. Though the value of a restoration isn’t on the high end, the Mighty Mite is still unique for the Jeep lineup if fully restored.