2015 Friends of the Festival Print Now Available!

Limited Edition Print is Final Piece in the Series of Five

The 2015 Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival is celebrating the 75th birthday of the world's original Jeep during the 5th annual event on June 12-14.  To observe this milestone, the 2015 Friends of the Festival print prominently features the Bantam Reconnaissance Car (BRC) that was built by Butler's American Bantam Car Company in 1940.

Artist George Gaadt created the limited edition print by drawing blueprint-style illustrations of the BRC.  The side view depicts a very preliminary sketch of the vehicle while the front view features a more refined drawing. The colorful angled view showcases a detailed illustration of the completed BRC.

The BRC drawings are accompanied by illustrated versions of the American Bantam Car Company's vibrant red logo and a portrait of the company's president, Frank Fenn.  The license plate mounted on the BRC's front bumper is also prominently featured and accompanied by text that explains the content on the plate.  Similar to an authentic blueprint, the print features an information block.

"Since this is the 75th birthday of the BRC and the last print in the Friends of the Festival series, I wanted this piece to do more than feature the BRC.  I wanted it to tell a story," said Gaadt, who also created the 2012 print.

The bottom of the four-color process lithographs includes the words "American Bantam Car Company" along with the Festival's logo which is foil embossed in gold using a high definition brass die.  Only 100 of the 16x20 prints are available. They will be signed and numbered by the artist.  The entire project was coordinated by Terry Hagen of the Associated Artists of Butler County.

Prints cost $100 each (plus $4 shipping and handling) and include a certificate of authenticity.  They can be purchased in the Online Store.

The Friends of the Festival series began in 2011, and the 2015 print will be the final piece produced.  Previous prints will also be available in the online store while supplies last.  

Call the Butler County Tourism & Convention Bureau at 724-234-2291 for more information or email info@BantamJeepFestival.com

75 Years of Jeeps: Will you represent your Jeep's year in the Parade?

We will be featuring one Jeep for each of the 75 years (1940-2015) in our Guinness World Records Parade. These 75 selected Jeeps will lead the Parade and park together in a designated lot at the north end of the Invasion. The selected 75 Jeeps that participate will be given a certificate of participation. Here are a few things to remember when registering your Jeep to represent a year: 

  • You must be registered by March 31 to be considered. You will be contacted via email by April 30 if your Jeep is selected.
  • To be considered, you MUST participate in the Jeep Parade / Jeep Invasion.
  • Nominate your Jeep by uploading a photo during online registration.  We will use this photo for marketing purposes.
  • Our Festival Planning Committee will determine which of the nominated Jeeps will represent each year.
  • You MUST be able to arrive at Butler County Community College between 11-1 on Friday, June 12.

For more information on the Jeep Parade/Jeep Invasion, click here

Re-creation of World's Original Jeep to Journey Home to Butler, PA for its 75th Birthday Celebration at Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival

Vehicle to Be Joined By Other Rare 1940s Jeeps from
Omix-ADA's Private Jeep Collection, along with a Jeep that Swims

The world’s original Jeep is coming home. Thousands of Jeep and auto enthusiasts will have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the only known re-creation of the Bantam Reconnaissance Car (BRC), the world’s original Jeep, at the 5th annual Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival.  For the first time, the Pilot is returning to its birthplace in Butler, Pa. to celebrate its 75th birthday June 12-14.

The BRC will be accompanied by the first Jeeps made by Ford and Willys and other rare 1940 models in the Jeep History Exhibit sponsored by Omix-ADA, the world's largest Jeep parts independent manufacturer. 

The original Pilot, created by Butler's American Bantam Car Company, was destroyed during Army testing, and Duncan Rolls of Texas painstakingly re-created the BRC between 2004 and 2008.  The BRC is the vehicle that all future Jeep models was based on. 

“I became interested in Jeeps as a boy watching World War II movies, then began restoring World War II Jeeps for fun," said Rolls.  "I eventually became interested in the origin of the Jeep.  Thirty years later, I decided to re-create the Bantam Reconnaissance Car after much research and what I thought was a reasonable budget.  While it only took the American Bantam Car Company 49 days (approximately 1,200 hours) to produce their Jeep, it took me 3,500 hours of my spare time over four years.”

The pilot will be accompanied by approximately 12 rare Jeeps from the 1940s, six provided from the private collection owned by Omix-ADA.   A Bantam BRC-40, Willys MA, Ford GP and a Willys CJ-2A fire truck will be featured along with other military and civilian models, including the Ford GPA, a Jeep that can swim.

“We’re looking forward to sharing this significant part of our Jeep collection at the Festival,” said Al Azadi, founder and president of Omix-ADA.  “This is the first time this many Jeeps in our collection have traveled to the northeast, and we know the attendees will appreciate seeing this  incredible display of Jeep heritage in Butler.”

Festival organizers believe the Jeeps will be a big attraction for the event that draws thousands of Jeep owners from more than 25 states and Canada.   "Having the Pilot here for the 75th Birthday Bash, along with the Willys MA and Ford GP, is a gift for every Festival attendee.  Jeep and car enthusiasts alike will want to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime chance to see these rare Jeeps together, "said Patti Jo Lambert, Festival director.

To celebrate the Bantam's birthday, the Festival is planning to beat its own Guinness World Record for the Largest Parade of Jeeps on Friday, June 12 at 2:30 p.m. Plans are for the first 75 Jeeps in the parade to collectively represent all 75 years of Jeeps.  Organizers expect up to 2,500 Jeeps to participate.

Registration Now Open!

You've been waiting for it since June 2014 and the time is finally here!  Registration is now open for the 2015 Festival.  Click the red "Register Now" box on the top of the page to access our online registration which will be available until May 17.  But don't wait!  There are package savings you can take advantage of if you register by March 31.  We're looking forward to seeing you in June for the Bantam Jeep's 75th Birthday Bash!