1940 Marmon-Herrington Ford 4×4 Woodie Wagon – The Jeep Grand Wagoneer Prequel

The grand Marmon Sixteen may have died in the depths of the Depression, but Walter Marmon certainly didn’t go down with it. Instead, he joined forces with Arthur Herrington, an ex-military engineer, to develop and build all-wheel drive vehicles for military and civilian applications. Although most of the initial production comprised larger trucks and vehicles, they had also identified a market for civilian 4x4s and were pursuing it. The result was the Marmon-Herrington Ford, a 1940 version of which is pictured above–and the conversion didn’t stop at  wagons.

But before we go there, let’s take in this wicked woody. I’m usually not into the jacked-up look, but it gives this particular Ford wagon just enough attitude (and altitude) to really get my juices flowing. Those knobby balloon tires with their tiny hubcaps, and that protruding Ford differential under the front end…

Here’s one of the 29 1940 Ford sedans converted by M-H. A four-speed transmission with a very low first gear was part of the package, as were extensive modifications to the frame, suspension and drive train. Many went to Central and South America, where they served for decades as vehicles for American mining executives and staff.

This one, used by some South American military personnel, is showing off its capabilities.

M-H’s truck conversions were successfully developed into armored cars during World War II.

The company also won a design competition for an ultra-compact tank, the CTLS…

…which led to the T-9, alter-called M-22. It was intended to flown into battle in a glider called the Hamilcar. Indeed, World War II was a nightmare, but also an very fertile environment for creative minds to be unleashed.

After the war, M-H chose trolley buses as their next major new product line. Their buses, which featured advanced design and a lightweight monocoque body, dominated the market and also were exported. Their last user, as late as 1981, was Pittsburgh.

Today, M-H is still doing conversions for Ford and other manufacturers, as well as making specialized all-wheel drive axles and other related components–but with no mention of Lincoln Town Cars.