Karl Probst

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Karl Probst
Karl Probst, Automotive designer, 1940's portrait.jpg
Born20 October 1883
Died25 August 1963 (1963-08-26) (aged 79)
ChildrenJean "Jack", Charles
Parent(s)Charles and Eva (Knight) Probst
Engineering career
ProjectsBantam Automobile Company
Significant designBantam Jeep

Karl Probst (20 October 1883 – 25 August 1963) was an American freelance engineer and automotive pioneer, credited with the design of the first prototype of the World War II "jeep" in 1940. He was born in Point Pleasant, West Virginia to Charles and Eva (Knight) Probst. He studied engineering at Ohio State University and graduated in 1906.

Probst was recruited by American Bantam Car Company in 1940 to help it win a contract to provide the U.S. Army with a lightweight reconnaissance vehicle that could transport troops and equipment across rugged terrain. Probst drafted the design for the Jeep in two days, commencing on 17 June 1940. Bantam's first hand-built prototype was complete and running by September 21, 1940, just meeting the 49-day deadline and was delivered to the Army Quartermaster Corps for testing at Camp Holabird, MD.[1]

He died in Dayton, Ohio.


The Port Authority of Allegheny County pays homage to Karl Probst by putting his name on one or more of the city buses.[2]

Around 1990, a crescent-shaped street in Caen (France) was named after Karl Probst, both extremities of which open on another street named after Commodore John Hughes-Hallett, in a district close to the Mémorial pour la Paix museum, where a majority of streets commemorate personalities linked with the Second World War, the Résistance, and the subsequent making of the European Community.[3]


  1. ^ Bailey, Ronald (July 14, 2009). "The Incredible Jeep". HistoryNet.
  2. ^ "Getting Around: Erroll Garner, Jennie Bradley Roessing are on this bus". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2019-12-18.
  3. ^ Caen map, La Poste, 1993.