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You are on the page : About the JEEP


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At the dawn of the Second World War, the U.S. Army informed auto manufacturers that it was looking to add a "light reconnaissance vehicle" to its war materiel, in order to replace the old motorcycles and Model T Fords still in use. Some 135 different manufacturers were notified and a long list of specifications for the vehicle was prepared.

This list included:

  • A payload capacity of 660 lb (299 kg)
  • A wheelbase of no more than 75 in (1,905 mm)
  • A height of less than 36 in (914 mm)
  • A top speed of 50 mph (80 kmh)
  • A rectangular body
  • Four drive wheels
  • Fold-down windshield
  • Three bucket seats
  • Dimmed headlights + long range headlights
  • An empty vehicle weight < 600 kg

Each company worked on the prototypes in record time. Surrounded by a team of executives, the chief engineer for Bantam designed a version of this all-terrain car in 49 days. Only Willys-Overland and American Bantam entered the competition initially for this contract. Ford Motor Company would later join in and the three companies then competed for this very lucrative procurement contract.

The vehicles produced by Bantam and Ford GP were initially exported to the UK et the Soviet Union under the Lend-Lease Act. The Army awarded new contracts in March, 1941. Bantam was to produce 1500 of the Model 40-BRC, Ford was to produce 1500 of the GP, the modified and improved Pygmy, and Willys was to produce 1500 Quads. After a battery of tests, the Army chose the version produced by Willys as the main model for its military vehicle program.

Willys-Overland built over 368,000 vehicles for the US Army, Ford built around 277,000 under license, for a total of 645,000. The tough, reliable olive drab colored vehicle would go down in history as having helped win the Second World War.

Once the war was over, it looked like the Jeep's career was at an end. In 1945, however, Willys began production of the mythical CJ, short for Civilian Jeep. For decades, the CJ kept the wartime Jeep alive, on roads open to the public.Willys trademarked the Jeep name and transformed it into an all-terrain farm vehicle. One of Willys' slogans from the era was: "The sun never sets on the mighty Jeep", and the company made sure Willys was known as the vehicle's creator.

Over the years, the Jeep brand has changed hands several times, being owned by Kaiser Motors, AMC, Renault, lastly, Chrysler. Even today, the US company, based in Ohio since the beginning, continues to breathe new life into the vehicle that helped change warfare. In 2013, a Jeep Wrangler, the worthy successor to the Willys MB, had a base sticker price of $19,945. It is equipped with a 3.6 liter V6 engine generating 283 horsepower, that's 223 more than the original model!

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Jeep CJ 1979
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Jeep Wagoneer 1991
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Jeep CJ 1976
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