Karl Probst (20 October 1883 – 25 August 1963) was an American freelance engineer and automotive pioneer, credited with the design of the Jeep in 1940. He was born in Point Pleasant, West Virginia to Charles and Eva (Knight) Probst. He studied engineering at Ohio State University and graduated in 1906.Probst was recruited by American Bantam Car Company in 1940 to help it win a contract to provide the U.S. Army with a lightweight reconnaissance vehicle that could transport troops and equipment across rugged terrain. Probst drafted the design for the Jeep in two days, commencing on 17 June 1940. Bantam's first hand-built prototype was complete and running by September 21, 1940, just meeting the 49-day deadline and was delivered to the Army Quartermaster Corps for testing at Camp Holabird, MD.
Jeep had been created in record time at the outbreak of World War II, the fruit of a U.S. Army–brokered “collaboration” between Ford and two smaller companies, a motorized replacement for horse cavalry that quickly .
...At the same time, Bantam had experience building small, lightweight vehicles that were something like what the army wanted. Three specially modified roadsters provided by Bantam had been tested with success by the Pennsylvania National Guard in summer training in 1938. In fact, the Quartermaster Corps had based its specifications for the proposed new vehicle largely on Bantam’s work and consultations with its engineers.
Nonetheless, the army took the idea seriously enough that in early 1940 a demonstration was staged for representatives from the automotive industry. One such witness, Delmar “Barney” Roos , executive vice president and chief engineer at Willys-Overland, said the contraption looked like “a cross between a kid’s scooter and a diving board on wheels.” Still, Roos and others were inspired by the demonstration and went away thinking about how to create a practical reconnaissance car.
...The Willys vehicle arrived at the Camp Holabird test center ( by 1920 a center for the research and development of military vehicles in November 1940, six weeks after the arrival of the Bantam.
"The famous Jeep* was equipped with Spicer transfer cases,
universal joints , propeller shafts, and front and rear axles."(dana-complete-history.pdf)