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History of Fold Down Windshield...

Breal

Scrambler Junkie
Lifetime Member
City
Jackson
State
WY
I was on my way home from work today and I saw an old FJ40 driving with the windshield down. The temperature outside today in Fort Worth was 98 degrees. I started thinking to myself, he must have the windshield down to maximize the breeze so he could stay a liitle cooler. Then I started wondering what the original intent was to have fold down windshields on Jeeps. I figured it was likely a product of war and designed to make it easier to fire your rifle out of the front of the vehicle, but that is only a guess, or maybe it had multiple purposes. I'm sure there are some history experts on here that could confirm or inform me of what the designers original intent of the fold down windshield was. Maybe it was just to keep cool?
 

Polarfire

Jeep Aficionado
Lifetime Member
City
Columbia
State
MO
I don't know for sure with out doing some research but IIRC, it was to be able to carry litters with injured soldiers as well as other long items on the Jeeps without it sticking over the sides to catch things like trees.
 

kwai

Legacy Registered User
City
Houston
State
TX
Military vehicles had soft-tops and fold-down windshields to reduce height requirements for shipment. Also, the fold-out windshields make it easier to keep engine compartment heat out of the cab. Open the windshield, roll-up the side windows and while driving the incoming air pressurizes the cab and keeps the hot air from the engine compartment from entering the cab. It really works. I drove a M35A2 500 miles from El Paso in 100+ degree heat. It was hot but not unbearable. A modern truck without AC would have been unbearable.
 
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Kane

CJ-8 Member
City
Berlin
State
ct
Kwai is right. It's all about fitting them in the crates and stacking them for flight.
 

Major Jack

Legacy Registered User
City
Zillah
State
Wa
Designed to operate in rough terrain. Foldding eleminated broken windshields. Easier to shoot out of. They also found they could mount machine guns and a small caliber cannon in the back with the barrels pointed between the two GI 's. With the passenger seat folded forward or removed. A litter for transporting wounded could be mounted. I have seen pictures with windshield removed and litter strapped across the cowl.Corpsman rode in back with his medical equipment.

Transport on ship from US to England allowed smaller crates for a bigger load. When in combat if windshield took rounds. Glass
caused a lot of unnecessary injuries. It was not safety glass. Any WW2 GI will tell you that
Patton thought his tanks won the war. When, it was actually the jeep that made it happen.
 

Breal

Scrambler Junkie
Lifetime Member
City
Jackson
State
WY
Thanks for all the great feedback. I think it's pretty interesting to hear all the reasons it was good to have the fold down windshield. I did some research on my own too and in addition to what you all had listed above, I also read that having the windshield up on the battlefield was as good as having flashing emergency lights because of the glare that would come off the windshield. So, they would lower it to the chances of the glare alerting the enemy of their presence/position. Sounds like it had a ton of uses whether it was the original intent of the designers or not.
 

AK-RWC

Legacy Registered User
Gold Member
SOA Member
City
south central
State
AK
I agree with all of the reasons above, and will only add that I love driving with the windshield down, and do so at every opportunity!
 

MarknessMonster

Amiable Jeeper
City
Western
State
CO
The original design of the MB Jeeps included the ability to fold and reduce the height for stacking/shipping purposes by sea or rail, as Kwai and others had mentioned.

 
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MarknessMonster

Amiable Jeeper
City
Western
State
CO
Here's another example of the "adopted" windshield design of the first GP's carried over to larger military vehicles.



The design also allowed Jeeps to fit into a smaller boxes (crates), as mentioned by others above.





Remember those $50 "Jeep-In-A-Crate" magazine ads?

 
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MarknessMonster

Amiable Jeeper
City
Western
State
CO
I ran out of stuff to write about, and I had to take a step back from the computer for a while. :wave: Thanks for inquiring.
 
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