Harley Builds a Jeep

During WWII, the US Army was faced with getting vehicles to ground troops which were sometime located deep inside enemy lines.  As a possible solution to this problem, the Army came up with the idea of a lightweight 4-wheel vehicle which could be dropped from a plane.  They solicited prototypes from a variety of companies including Ford, Chevrolet, Crosley, Kaiser, Nuffield and Willys.

The Willys prototype was called the WAC or Peep and used a Harley-Davidson two cylinder engine.  This was not the standard V-twin motor the Harley was known for, but instead was a 750cc opposed cylinder engine based on a BMW R75.  Harley had previously experimented with a side valve opposed cylinder engine for it's XA and the XS prototype, but this was an updated version of the XOD engine with overhead valves.

Four WAC were built, with two going to the Army and two remaining with Harley-Davidson.  At least one must still be around as indicated by the recent color photo at the end of the article.