Bill Spear in Bantam jeep prototype.jpg

Author to Talk about the True Story of the Original Jeep

The author of WARBABY: The True Story of the Original Jeep, Bill Spear will outline the early days of this vehicle that is at the top of the list as one of the most significant in American history. Spear will begin the narrative with the American Bantam Car Co., a manufacturer in Butler, PA.

His talk starts at 5:30 pm on Oct. 12 in the Pogue Auditorium at the Marshall Foundation in Lexington.

This presentation is part of the Marshall Legacy Series sequence called Let’s Get A Move On that focuses on civilian and industrial mobilization during World War II.

In the early days of 1940 when Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall was engaged in a struggle to rebuild a sleepy, often unresponsive, interwar Army, he indirectly set in motion the development of what was to become the most important weapon of the war. Until now the true story of the jeep has been obscured, and though Marshall has been vaguely referred to as having something to do with it, it is only now the major outlines of the story and its context have come to light.

William Spear has spent several decades researching what is surely one of the most exciting and interesting stories in automotive history and one describing the production of a vehicle immediately recognized as a tactics-changing weapon of enormous significance. The Jeep remains today an American icon as recognizable as the Coke bottle.

Spear is a graduate of the Georgetown Univ. School of Foreign Service and the Nebraska College of Law. For nearly 50 years he has resided in Juneau, Alaska, where he pursued a successful legal career during Alaska’s oil development years. Spear has engaged other interests including the restoration of old cars which led him to become president of the Austin Bantam Society and to write the above-referenced jeep book, which is already considered a definitive authority on this often-confused subject.

Reservations for this event are required by calling Leigh McFaddin at 540-463-7103, ext. 138 or by email to reservations@marshallfoundation.org. Seating will be first come, first served. Members and students will be admitted free; non-members will pay $15 at the door.

Guests are invited to see the special exhibition, “What We’re Made Of,” that will be on display in the Lower Gallery through mid-December. The exhibit features original artwork Coca-Cola used for advertising during World War II plus artifacts from Hershey and Hormel, the maker of Spam products that became iconic rations during that war.

This event is a part of the Marshall Legacy Series and is being presented with sponsorship from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

The George C. Marshall Legacy Series interprets General Marshall’s legacy during a four-year series of exhibitions, speakers and programs centered on key themes or episodes from General Marshall’s career.