Here’s another reason to be jealous if you aren’t heading to the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show this year: Omix-ADA will be putting a few fine examples from its Jeep collection on full display. Located in the Upper South Hall lobby of the Convention Center, the collection is set to include eight classic Jeeps, all with a patriotic, military theme.
The Willys prototype, dubbed the “Military A (Model)” or MA for short, was constructed before the war started and went through the necessary rigamarole before being accepted by the US Army. Rugged, rough, and cheap to manufacture, the MA made it to just over 1,500 produced before its successor, the MB, came along. Omix-ADA’s own MA is a salvaged workhouse recovered from a sunken landing craft at the Battle of Saipan.
The Bantam example, the BRC-40, represented the third generation in the company’s line of prototypes. Bantam had barely gotten its feet wet producing the model when the contract was terminated, citing the BRC-40 as “non-standard”-an impolite way of saying that the company could not keep up with its projected supply numbers. An oddly interesting feature of the BRC-40 is its arrangement of starter and throttle controls, which were basically swapped; the throttle was controlled by hand in the dash panel, while a button on the floor started the engine.
Lastly, the Ford-built GP showed everyone how the Jeep was meant to be made: an engine that could be started with a hand crank, an instrument cluster directly in front of the driver, and pintle towing hooks for hauling around supplies, howitzers, and other things. The Lend-Lease Program found thousands of these Jeeps traversing the Atlantic to England’s Bristol or the Soviet Union’s Murmansk.
But no matter, their impact on the World War II, Dave Logan, product manager for Omix-ADA, is proud of the coterie of Jeeps his company has accrued over the years, stating: “Our collection includes more than 20 military and civilian Jeeps built between 1941 and 2013. This is just a small sampling of the vehicles being preserved by Omix-ADA.”
“As the American government prepared itself for war, these are the vehicles that would later prove essential in battle. The prototypes we’re bringing to SEMA were the basis for vehicles that contributed tremendously to the war effort and were involved in some of the key turning points of the war.”
The rest of the other display models will be as follows: a 1942 Willys MB; a 1943 Ford GPA (Amphibious Jeep); a 1951 Willys M38; a 1952 Willys M38A1; and a 1967 Kaiser Jeep M715. The amphibious “Seep” in particular could prove a popular exhibit all its own, thanks to its extreme rarity.
We can’t wait to see these rugged machines up close and in person when we pack up and drive to the SEMA at the end of the month. If you want to see the rest of the collection, check out JeepCollection.com. Omix-ADA’s other attractions, including the build of a 2013 Wrangler with R. Lee Ermey as its emcee, sound just as exciting, if not more so!