Name: 1940 Ford Pilot Model GP-No.1 “Pygmy”
Year(s) Produced: 1940
Number Built: 1, Prototype
Class: 4WD Reconnaissance Truck
Body Type: Pickup
Engine: Ford 119.7 cid four-cylinder flathead engine
Top Speed: (?)
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Length/width/height: 133 in./60 in./ 56 in.
Wheelbase: 80 in.
Base Price: N/A
Current Price: N/A
The 1940 Ford Pilot Model GP-No. 1 code named ‘Pygmy’ is now officially the oldest surviving jeep and still remains in its original robust condition. Added last December as the eight vehicle to be recorded under the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Heritage Documentation, the Pygmy is said to be the only surviving vehicle out of five prototypes or pilot models, making it America’s oldest known ‘jeep’. You’ll be surprised that this ‘war veteran’ is still strong as ever, even in its unrestored condition.
According to the Historic Vehicle Association or HVA, the Ford Pilot Model GP-No. 1 Pygmy is historically significant because of the following:
- Its testing at Camp Holabird in the late 1940s was an important milestone in the development of the “jeep”.
- It made a significant contribution with regards to the design of the standard military “jeep”.
- It is the first prototype produced by Ford, and oldest known example of the “jeep”.
- It is mostly in unrestored condition.
This prototype was eventually the pattern for the production of a total of 651,230 jeeps from 1940-1945 coming from three manufacturers: American Bantam, Willys-Overland, and Ford Motor Company, with Willys having the lion’s share (362,894 units, or 56% of all the jeeps ever made during the five-year period).
Watch the grand daddy of the modern day Jeep through the video above by the National Historic Vehicle Association. Further historical significance of the GP-No. 1 is explained by Randy Withrow and John Omenski of the US Veterans Memorial Museum in Huntsville, Alabama together with WWII US Army Mechanic, Ed Welburn Sr.