Hail to the Jeep



By A. Wade Wells - 1946


It was during this period of experimentation prior to the press demonstration of the peacetime Jeep that the author visited Doughoregan Manor farm in Maryland, one of the experimental stations selected by Willys engineers for the practical daily testing of the Jeep under trained supervisors.
Arrangements for this visit were made with Wilford LaRock of Cornell University, who was supervising the operation of jeeps for farm use under the direction of the Grange League Federation Cooperative Association of Mansfield, Pa.

Priority Regulation No. 23, restricting public demonstrations of new vehicles, had just been withdrawn, making it possible to observe the Jeep at work in the fields which were being plowed and harrowed for the planting and cultivation of corn.

Attached to the Jeep was a 3-section, heavy-duty, spring-tooth harrow which would have required the use of three heavy draft horses. Behind the springtooth harrow was a spike-tooth harrow of similar size which would have required two heavy draft horses. Operating in low gear at a speed of four miles per hour, ten hours a day, the Jeep was doing the work of five horses on this job. Farmers call this type of work a "horse-killer" owing to the soft surface and heavy drag. Although the Jeep had been in continuous low-gear operation for four and a half hours, an examination of the radiator revealed that it was not boiling or overheated. In fact, the water was at the level of the top cap of the radiator. A governor on the motor, acting as a regulator, overcame sudden changes in the power required.

In the same field, doing the same job, was a heavy farm tractor. The results were the same, the only difference being in the amount of fuel used and the operation cost, the ratio between tractor and jeep being about as the cost of feeding a large draft horse is to that of feeding a small pony.
This performance of the Jeep on plowed land, harrowing alongside a heavy-duty tractor, more than successfully met one of the toughest farm requirements. Seeing was believing; Jeep possibilities on the farm had become realities!

Concerning the power of the jeep motor, it was reported that there was "plenty of power"-that the power limit had never been established in field work on the farm, as the motor had never choked or stopped while in operation. The Jeep might stop because of loss of ground traction in an exceptionally slippery place, but the wheels kept on rotating and the motor would not stop.

The manager of the farm, William R. Powell, stated that for all kinds of belt work the jeep was better than anything he had ever used-even better than the large tractors. There was always sufficient power, more than was actually needed. The ability of the motor to idle down and work at lower speeds than other motors gave the jeep a considerable advantage over tractors. This was most useful in the operation of slow-motion farm machinery, such as water pumps.

On the Doughoregan Farm, there had been no breakage or grief of any kind, nor had the replacement of any parts of the Jeep been required.

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Last updated 21 June 2004