Check Out the Army’s Oldest Jeep Vehicle: GP-No.1!
Talk about a blast from the past: the U.S. Army’s oldest Jeep is still kickin’, and it’s getting some overdue attention this month… and for years to come. The GP-No.1 vehicle is on display at the U.S. Veteran’s Memorial Museum in Huntsville, AL, having just been verified and documented by the Historic Vehicle Association. You can check it out today if you like!
The GP-No.1, originally dubbed “The Ford Pygmy,” is the only one of the limited group of prototype vehicles known to still exist in North America. That GP in the title is often thought to be the inspiration behind the legendary name “Jeep.” The Ford-built GP-No.1 was one of five vehicles tested for the Army; there were two Ford models, two from Willys Overland and one from American Bantam. The Pygmy sports some features that remain a part of modern Jeep vehicles to this day, including the famous upright grille and its vertical slot. It’s also considered the granddaddy of all SUVs.
Auto industry legend Henry Ford was no fan of warfare and cared little for the battles being fought across the sea at the time, but he was intrigued by the thought of a convenient four-wheel-drive vehicle that could be used for agricultural purposes. His son, Edsel Ford, took the liberty of launching a project to build just such a farm vehicle, the GP-No.1. The Army developed an interest in light 4WD recon vehicles like the Pygmy for the impending war back in 1937, so it worked with three competing automakers to create them. The prototype Jeep was a big success, built in large numbers and used in the armed forces for years and years. Eventually, the military allowed construction of Jeeps for the general public. In time, Jeep became its own company, separate from Ford, specializing in the creation of these unique and versatile vehicles.
Check out the 42-horsepower, 2,150-pound Pygmy if you’re ever in the Alabama area and in the mood for a real slice of history! Once you do, you can check out the latest models at our Jeep dealership in Natick, MA, to see just how far the Jeep has come and discover why it’s such a popular vehicle nearly a century later.
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