September 21, 1940 (give or take a day or two), the first jeep came to life. It happened in a small factory in a small town in western Pennsylvania. The factory was the American Bantam Car company in Butler, and that first prototype was still years away from being officially christened the “Jeep.” Over time the jeep would be built by many other companies and the American Bantam Car Company would drift into the wings. Willys and Ford would build the majority of military jeeps, and then Willys would build the civilian models and so on through Kaiser, American Motor Company, and now Chrysler. Nonetheless, the little town of Butler can claim credit for starting it all, and this past August they did so with a giant celebration for the 70 (or 71) years of the Jeep. Day 2 of the festival moved out to the Butler County Fairgrounds, where Jeeps of every size were sorted into their designated styles and classes for the giant show and shine. Of course it wasn’t all chrome and wheel shine; there were special awards for the most trail-ready, the longest distance traveled, and the ugliest Jeep in attendance.Day 2 of the festival moved out to the Butler County Fairgrounds, where Jeeps of every siz The Butler County Tourism and Convention Bureau in collaboration with Jeep, Quadratec, and a plethora of sponsors and local historical societies put together a birthday party of sorts for the Jeep brand. The celebration consisted of a giant Jeep show at the local fairgrounds and a world-record-setting Jeep parade down the main street of Butler. The event was to die for if you’re a Jeep fanatic, with Jeeps and enthusiasts coming from around the world. If you’re a fanatic of these slotted-grille 4x4s, then the Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival is a must-attend event. Getting to see so many different Jeeps in one place is almost overload for a true Jeeper, and next year’s event is already on schedule to be bigger. Get your Jeep ready to go, or come and check out all the Jeeps first so you know what upgrades you want for your own.If you’re a fanatic of these slotted-grille 4x4s, then the Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival i Luckily this won’t be the last Bantam Jeep Heritage Jeep. Next year’s event is already scheduled for August 10-12, 2012. For more info visit www.bantamjeepfestival.com. The record-breaking Jeep parade recorded over 1,100 registered entrants (and at least of few unregistered). There were Jeeps of every era, shape, and size. From CJs to TJs and Wagoneers to Liberties, they all converged on this small historical industrial city to celebrate the form, function, and adventure lifestyle the iconic Jeep represents.The record-breaking Jeep parade recorded over 1,100 registered entrants (and at least of f The main street of Butler was shut down with a thousand Jeeps parked along it. New and old, built and stock, it was a full-blown Jeep celebration. With plenty of restaurants, shops, and of course Jeeps to check out, the evening in Butler was a blast.The main street of Butler was shut down with a thousand Jeeps parked along it. New and old Many beautifully restored historical jeeps like this ’41 Bantam BRC were on display in Butler and had the attention of spectators young and old. This Bantam had been shipped to Britain during World War II and then used in Africa and Italy before being used on an estate of Queen Elizabeth in Scotland to haul deer during hunting. It eventually was damaged, rescued, restored, and purchased by a collector in Illinois before finally returning home to its birthplace, Butler.Many beautifully restored historical jeeps like this ’41 Bantam BRC were on display in But The festival had a variety of off-roading opportunities with an obstacle course where mud pits and dirt piles could be attempted by novice and experienced Jeepers alike. It wasn’t unusual to see nearly new Jeeps axle deep in the sloppy stuff with smiling families inside.The festival had a variety of off-roading opportunities with an obstacle course where mud The vendor aisles at the event were packed with everything from used old Jeep parts to new suspensions systems and everything in between. One tent was even selling subscriptions to your favorite off-road magazines.The vendor aisles at the event were packed with everything from used old Jeep parts to new In the woods behind the fairgrounds a short course was laid out so those looking for a wilder thrill could weave through trees and across muddy streams. Local trails to explore, ranging from beginner to difficult, were 30 minutes from the grounds.In the woods behind the fairgrounds a short course was laid out so those looking for a wil By Fred Williams Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!