- Written by webmin
Last summer, Greg Steinmayer sent us a varied lot of photos that he bought at a Dearborn-area garage sale. Among the photos in that lot – aside from the Maico 500 Sport and the people/monsters of Ford’s factories, were these two shots of the Ford GPA, the so-called Seep, taken right outside Ford’s River Rouge plant. The Library of Congress has a similar photo in their collection (possibly even taken on the same day – note the cars in the background) and notes that all production GPAs were tested in this slip near the factory. It’s a WAG, but could this be the same slip today?
This is no ordinary GPA in the latter shot. Rather, the lack of ribbing on the hull gives this one away as a pre-production pilot model. According to m201.com’s history of the GPA, river testing of the GPA didn’t start until February 1942 (Crismon shows a prototype undergoing testing in April 1942). They make no mention of when production started, but note that a host of design changes were introduced in November 1942 and that production ended in March 1943. The date on this latter photograph appears to be September 2, 1942 (unless I mis-deciphered the Ford photo dating system), and we can note that this GPA also appears to be missing its headlamps and trim vane. The Library of Congress has another photo of a pilot model GPA (which appears to have also been shot on September 2, 1942) and a couple photographs of what appears to be the prototype GPA mixed in with its photos of production model GPAs. Could this have been the official public unveiling of the GPA? Or was it simply a roll-out for Ford executives?
By the way, today marks the start of our fourth March Military Campaign. We may not have something military vehicle-related every day of the month, but we’re sure going to try. If you have any suggestions or tips, send them our way.