The T22E1 Light Armored Car was a Ford built four wheeled prototype for an armoured car built to the specifications that produced the M8 light armoured car, but that lost out to Ford’s six wheeled T22.
Work on a new armoured car began in July 1941. The new vehicle was to be armed with the 37mm Gun M6, which potentially made it useful as both an armoured car and a tank destroyer, and it was also to be adaptable to other uses, such as cargo carrier, multiple gun motor carriage or mortar carrier. The original design also called for a hull mounted machine gun, but in March 1942 this was changed to a coaxial machine gun in the turret.
On 9 October the Ordnance Committee recommended the purchase of two pilots of 6x6 wheeled armoured cars, the Ford 37mm Gun Motor Carriage T22 and the Fargo 37mm Gun Motor Carriage T23.
On 10 December two more pilot vehicles were ordered, this time 4x4s. Once again Ford and Fargo were both given orders, for the Ford 37mm Gun Motor Carriage T22E1 and Fargo 37mm Gun Motor Carriage T23E1. A third company entered the field when Studebaker offered to build a pilot at their own expense, and this became the Light Armoured Car T21.
The T22 and T22E1 shared the same basic layout. The fuselage had tapered sides, giving it a fairly narrow bottom. At the front a glacis sloped down almost half way to the ground, with fittings for a ball mounted .30in machine gun on the right. Below that a second armoured plate sloped backwards, giving the vehicle a ‘V’ shaped nose. The most obvious difference between the two Ford designs was that the T22E1 only had four wheels, with a large gap between them. The top of the fuselage was generally flat, with the turret mounted just in front of the half way position. On the T22E1 this placed it above the gap between the wheels. The drivers position was protected by armoured shields that were hinged, and could be folded down to the front and sides. The T22E1 had fairly simple fenders, which a sheet of metal above the wheels, angling down into the gap between them to form a step. Several photographs show the T22E1 running without the fenders, making the angular shape of the fuselage more obvious.
The six wheel drive T22 was the first of the five prototypes to be completed, in March 1942. It impressed in its tests, and on 23 April the T22E1, T23 and T23E1 projects were all terminated. The pilot vehicles were to be completed and used for tests. Photographs prove that the T22E1 was indeed completed and used for some tests but no more examples were produced.