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The grandaddy of Jeep trailers... Lots 'o' Pics.


Automan2164
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Well, just got home with my latest purchase... A 1940's Bantam T3-C Jeep trailer:

 

bantamadfrt1.jpg

 

During WWII, Jeep as we know it was started by Bantam when they answered the call for the military's needs for a new light duty offroad vehicle. They produced the very first run for Jeeps throughout the war, and made military spec trailers for them. The trailers were something in themselves. They were smaller, and matched the size of the Jeep but had a few cool attributes. They had blackout lights, parking brakes, cargo straps... One thing is that they were actually rated to haul 500 lbs. But thats not the best part. They could haul 500 lbs, and float while doing it:

 

FordGPAandTrailerFloating.jpg

 

When the war ended, Bantam ended up selling Jeep to Willys, which most people are familiar with. Not wanting to die off, Bantam continued to make trailers. They made many types of trailers, but the one I ended up with was the civilian version of the military one. The lost the parking brake, the black outs, and the lunette hitch in favor of a 1 7/8" ball. They also added a tailgate (as the waterproof military ones couldn't have for obvious reasons) and sold them to the public. Still heavy-duty rated, and used most of the same parts. They made these up though the '50's, before finally collapsing and shutting their doors.

 

I was completely unaware of these trailers until one came up on craigslist, and I had to go check it out. The owner had bought it to pull behind this:

 

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This is his '42 Truck, he built from the ground up. Complete frame off, with many custom parts. He actually took measurements off another truck for the bed, had a sheetmetal shop make the bends, and welded it all together himself. For the floor he used the "trex" style decking they use for patios so it wouldn't rot. The truck isn't just for looks either. He re-geared it with Ford axles, and it will cruise with the best of them. He actively uses it as a living history demonstration, will dress the part, and camps in it for events. We talked for a long time about our hobbies, and I learned a ton about his. I would highly recommend trying to make it out to a few of the events he brings the truck to if your in the IL/WI border area. Great guy.

 

It turned out to be a little small to pull behind his '42 Chevy Army truck, so he ended up selling it. He had thought that it was the military version, I did some research, and we both ended up learning a lot about a 65ish year old trailer. Upon some research, the cues of the Bantam civilian were too hard to miss. The tailgate, the lack of the lunette hitch, the gussets of the side of the box to re-enforce the back because of the open gate, the stake pockets (never offered in the mil spec), and a couple other small things. Definitely a Bantam T3-C.

 

The shorter version of the story is, after some inspection, we agreed on $350, and I was off:

 

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It will be a nice little trailer to pull behind the ZJ when the MJ's are down. I like the sides, as my current trailer is just open-rail sided. On top of that, it would make a killer travel trailer to pull behind the MJ on road trips, leave at camp, and go wheeling. I could even try to duplicate the stake sides and bows and toss some canvas on it to get it covered. So many options. Its nice that its not in perfect condition, so I will feel less bad about using it. I am sure the diamond plate that someone welded in was an upgrade for the better.

 

On the way home, I did notice a bent rim in the mirror as I was turning, but it rode pretty good. When I got home I did notice a crack opening up on the frame from rot, but I think that should be pretty easily taken care of with some weld. I can't complain too much with what I paid for it, as I took the cost of repair into the purchase price.

 

Overall, I am happy to own another small piece of Jeep history, and wanted to share!

 

And did I mention the Bantam T3-C has a fan club with a registry!? I am in heaven. :D

 

http://bantamt3c.com/

 

Rob L. :cheers:

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Yes, these are great little trailers. There's a guy down south AL who sells surplus USA trailers including the bantams down near Ft. Rucker. Was going to buy one, but for what I wanted to haul it was too small. You got a pretty good deal Rob. :cheers:

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That is a good deal.

 

My Dad was given one of these to tow behind his Willy's pickup once he gets it done. A-lot rougher shape than the one you have there.

 

I do believe your floors are not original though, they don't match the beat up one in Dad's...

 

I never checked, can you fit a 4' wide piece of plywood in the bed?

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