75 Years Young: A Brief History of the JeepSep 21th, 2016
The Jeep — associated with off-roading and rugged terrains around the world — is the ultimate utility vehicle and this year, it’s turning 75. While the origins of the name “Jeep” are a bit unclear, the car itself busted on to the scene in 1941 when the iconic Willys MB rolled out of a factory in Ohio (where Jeep HQ still stands).
The Willys MB was the response to a call from the American government who were preparing for war and looking for a small, four-wheel-drive vehicle that was suitable for light reconnaissance and other similar tasks. With an 80-inch wheelbase and a 60-horsepower flathead engine, the vehicle was small but packed a punch. It became an image of heroism during WWII and in 1945, just as the war was ending, the first civilian models were produced (also known as the civilian jeep, or Jeep CJ).
Since then, the shape, recognizable front grill and utilitarian design has been mimicked by manufacturers around the world. Jeep itself has worked to refine a vehicle’s capacity to go where humans aren’t meant to go, which is why it developed the Wrangler in the late 1980s. This midsize SUV is one of the few remaining four-wheel-drive vehicles with solid front and rear axles, which means it’s got more strength and more durability suitable for a variety of terrains.
Celebrating their 75th anniversary, Jeep has released special editions of all its primary vehicles, including the Wrangler 75th Salute, which is an updated version of the original Willys MB. While the Salute is being produced on a very limited run, you can check out the other limited editions at the South 20 Dealership in Humboldt!