Was The Herkimer Battle Jitney From Central New York?
Have you ever seen the movie Mystery Men? In the movie the team of heroes use a vehicle called the "Herkimer Battle Jitney". This gets us wondering, was this vehicle real, and was this made in Central New York?
Many claim that the Herkimer Battle Jitney was a real vehicle. It actually had a different name outside of the movie, the Z17 Marauder.
Contracted by the US government, the Zephyr manufacturing company built around 100 of these heavy combat troop transport vehicles. Built between 1948-1950, they were found to be impracticle for the changing type of warfare. The Z17 was named for the number of persons that could be accomidated (17), and Z for the Zephyr manufacturing company. The Zephyr manufacturing company was previously known for building fire engines."
However, those claims appear to be false. Kinka Usher, the movie's director, says on the DVD commentary that the vehicle was made for the movie entirely. It's running gear was a 1979 ford semi truck, with the cab removed, and the body was a modified Airstream camper.
So with that being said, it appears the vehicle was NEVER produced in Central New York. It however does share the name of a Central New York city, so that part is pretty cool. One theory why they chose Herkimer, again this is a rumor, was because of the Herkimer Tool & Machining Corporation. This company was established here in Herkimer New York in 1921, and it's still going strong. The company has built small engines for drones, and model engines for hobbyists. So in theory, this company could have ended up with a military contract to produce a fleet of battle jitneys.
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