The History of Jeep
May 17, 2012
Jeep is currently a division of Chrysler Auto Group that was started in 1940 as the United States military needed an Army reconnaissance vehicle. The origins of the name Jeep are heavily speculated as some historians believe that the name came from the Army’s acronym for the vehicle which GP was standing for general-purpose. As soldiers used the vehicles they would refer to it as Jeep which was a form of slang. Others contest this theory as they believe the Jeep was named after a character used in the popular Popeye comic strips known as Eugene the Jeep. This fictional character was small and had the ability to go anywhere therefore soldiers would nickname the vehicle Jeep.
For the start of what we know today as the Jeep, the military was in need of a reconnaissance vehicle that could be manufactured with parts that were already in production. The vehicle needed to be small enough to get through heavily wooded areas as well as small enough to fit inside variable aircraft fuselages for transportation. The Army requested that 135 companies would need to deliver a working prototype it would be completed and 49 days. Because of the incredibly short deadline set, only two auto manufacturers took on the challenge. Willys-Overland and American Bantam took on the challenge and in September of 1940 the first rolling prototype known as the Bantam reconnaissance car was driven to Camp Holabird in Maryland where he would be reviewed by the military. The vehicle succeeded in gaining the contract from the Army although engine would have to be redesigned as it did not need the Army’s standards for the amount of torque it produced. The American Bantam car company was also deemed too small in order to produce the army’s amount of Jeep’s needed for the war effort. So the -contracts were given to Willys-Overland and Ford Motor Company for production. During the Second World War it was said that 640,000 Jeep were built for the war effort.
After the Second World War the Willys-Overland Company wanted to focus the Jeep vehicles for utility purposes for commercial and noncommercial applications. The company was devoted to building a vehicle for such applications as farming. The company knew that many farmers do not have utility vehicles to help out around the farms and ranches therefore the company began production on the CJ – 2A. The vehicle was designed to work all day long through strenuous activities without mechanical failure or overheating. The Jeep CJ – 2A became a success as more individuals realize the vehicles reliability. The Jeep would prove to be very reliable and versatile and therefore it was used in a number of unorthodox applications. The chassis were used for all the Zamboni vehicles of the day as well as use to pull wide variety of farm equipment that was usually pulled by horses.
During the 1950s the Jeep brand would be sold and added several different automotive companies. During that time several different variations of Jeep were introduced for civilian and military applications. It was in 1955 that Jeep under the ownership of Kaiser would produce its longest production run model by the name of CJ – 5. This vehicle used styling cues from the Jeep M — 38A1 use during the Korean War. The CJ – 5 would be larger in size and offer more power and a more comfortable ride as well as off-road capability. And during the 50s Jeep would also going to produce other vehicles such as the CJ – 6 and the FC – 150 and 170. In the 1960s Jeep would go on to produce several other models under the Jeep name. We see the beginning of the Jeep Wagoneer in 1963 as well as the Jeep Gladiator and Commando. Jeep would also produce a military vehicle under the name of M-175 that would be used in service from 1967 to 1969.
In 1970 year American Motors Corporation purchased Jeep from the Kaiser Motors Company. During these years AMC would win a government contract for vehicles for the Postal Service therefore Jeep delivered the Dispatcher (DJ). There also would be several refinements to the vehicles currently in production for Jeep. Through the 70s and 80s most Jeep would simply just received updates for their trim levels. In 1984 we would see the introduction of the Jeep Cherokee as it was to be the answer for a more efficient sport-utility vehicle than the Grand Wagoneer. In 1987 American Motors Company and its large investor Renault would both face financial turmoil which would lead to the Jeep brand being sold to Chrysler. The Chrysler Auto Group which in 1993 would introduce the Jeep Grand Cherokee would remain its current owner as of today.
Today the Jeep name is a strong and recognized as ever. Chrysler has introduced several new vehicles in recent years in order to attract potential buyers. It seems vehicles such as the Jeep Commander, Patriot, Compass, Liberty as well as the continuation of the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee. Jeep now accounts for a large amount of sales for the Chrysler groups as both its Wrangler and Grand Cherokee continued to be popular sellers.
Categories: Production Cars