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February 27: The feds declare Bantam invented the Jeep on this date in 1948

Justin Hyde
February 27, 2014

By the end of World War II, the Willys-Overland company had built 363,000 Jeeps for the U.S. Army, and needed to find a new outlet for what had already become an iconic vehicle. It started selling the Jeep to civilians using any pitch it could — early models even had power-takeoff units with the idea that some farmers might use them in place of tractors. Willys-Overland was aggressive enough in its pitching that on this date in 1948, the Federal Trade Commission issued an order barring Willys from claiming it had invented the Jeep, an honor that belonged to the tiny Bantam Motor Co., which built its last model in 1941. The injunction didn't slow Willys from thriving on Jeep demand: