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Maxwell & Chalmers
Mopars From Down Under



Patrick (Unfettered) Kozicki


World War I started the age of mechanization of the US Army. The Army bought many vehicles from many vendors to move men and materials from location to location. By the middle 1930’s the Army realized the logistical nightmare causing maintenance and supply issues caused by having so many vendors and vehicle types. The desire to standardize on a smaller group of vehicles led to the search for smaller, faster easier to maintain vehicle.

 The army tested several vehicle concepts over the years, including a vehicle dubbed the “Belly-Flopper”. The “Belly-Flopper” was designed much like a cross between a kid’s sled and a go-cart. The driver and a passenger lay on their stomachs to drive the vehicle, unseen by the enemy. The specifications for 70 units of a test vehicle were sent out on July 7, 1940, called for:

  1. A driving front axle with 2-speed transfer case including provisions for disengaging the front axle drive.

  2. A body of rectangular design with a folding windshield and 3 bucket seats.

  3. Increased engine power (presumably in respect to the Belly-Flopper prototype).

  4. Means for towing.

  5. 30-caliber machine gun mount.

  6. Blackout lighting.

  7. Oil-bath air cleaner.

  8. Hydraulic brakes.

  9. Full floating axles.

  10. Wheelbase of 80".

  11. Maximum height of 40".

  12. Maximum weight of 1275 lbs.

  13. Approach and departure angles of 45 and 40 degrees, respectively.

  14. Must reach 50 mph on hard surface.

  15. Special bracing for a pintle hook setup.

  16. No aluminum to be used for cylinder head.

  17. At least 4 cylinders.

  18. 8 of the 70 vehicles had to be four-wheel-steer.

Batam Jeep


Only three companies, of 135 invited to bid, responded to the contest, Ford Motor Company, Willys-Overland (pronounced Willis-Overland), and American Bantam Car Company and of these, the Bantam Car Company was the most aggressive. They had their blueprints of their vehicle into Washington in 5 days. Bantam delivered a prototype by the September 23, 1940 deadline.  With war breaking out in Europe, both Ford and Willys were allowed to submit vehicles for testing. Both of these competitors were also given access to the Bantam plans, explaining the look-alike similarities of the three prototypes. The Army ordered a total of 1500 of each vehicle for further testing and early 1941 saw these vehicles entered into Army inventory. Willys and Ford received the contracts to actually build the vehicles based on Bantam’s designs, as Bantam didn’t have suitable manufacturing facilities. Bantam did get the contract to build the trailers needed for the vehicles. Both the Willys and Ford parts were interchangeable.



The name Jeep is said to derive from several sources. Some say the name came from the GP (General Purpose) designation, others say it came from the cartoon character “Eugene, the Magical Jeep” from the Popeye cartoons. Eugene had the ability to go anywhere (by magic of course), as did the Willys vehicle.  


Jeep in shipping crate


The Jeep became the vehicle of choice for the Army and it was said that the little vehicle could move faster than a tank and go places that tanks couldn’t go. The Jeep (both the Willys MB and Ford GPW) proved to be a reliable, well made vehicle, impressing soldiers who both drove and maintained the vehicles. It was said at the time that Jeep won the war.


After the War, as soldier were returning home, many wanted a Jeep of their own. Willys seeing a demand for the Jeep trademarked the name, for it’s line of vehicles based on the venerable vehicle.


The Jeep CJ2A (Civilian Jeep 2A) was introduced in late 1945, and was mechanically identical to the MB that was produced fro the Army, but with a few differences, such as chrome trim and larger headlamps. The fuel tank intake was on the left side panel, and the spare tire was moved to the rear tailgate. The rear panel also became a flip down tailgate. The first year saw only 1824 units made, but the end of production in 1949 produced a total of nearly 137,000 units.


Willys Overland Jeepster photo, convertibles for sale

1949 Jeepster


The postwar years were good to Willys and they built other vehicles on the Jeep name and toughness, including the Willys Jeep Wagon (1946 to 1963), the Willys Jeep truck (1947 to 1963), and the Willys Jeepster (1948 to 1950). The wagon and truck were available in 2-wheel and 4-wheel drive models. These models were intended to bring the Jeep brand to younger, trendier owners, expanding the market for Jeep. Willys continued with updating the CJ series of Jeeps and all through the 50’s.


1986 J-20 Truck


1953 brought the buyout of the Willys-Overland by Kaiser. Kaiser kept the Willys name on the Jeep until 1963 when it became the Kaiser–Jeep Corporation. Production of the Willys wagons and trucks continued until 1965, when the Willys name was dropped and Jeep was added. 


1966 Jeepster


In 1966, Kaiser reintroduced the Jeepster line of vehicles, (while still producing both a military and civilian versions of the WWII Jeep), which included a wagon, pickup and a convertible. These vehicles were intended to compete with the Ford Bronco and the Land Cruisers (which surprisingly the Land Cruiser and the British Land Rover, both got their start by copying the Jeep MB). Jeep also made the boxy Waggoner models, and the Jeepster was a cross between the usefulness of the truck and the CJ. These models were produced by Kaiser-Jeep until American Motors Corporation (AMC started as a merger of the Nash-Kelvinator Corporation and the Hudson Motor Car Company in 1954), bought the Kaiser-Jeep Corporation in 1970 for $75 Million dollars. AMC continued production of the Jeepster, as well as the other models. And in 1972, changed the Jeep styling.


1982 Jeep Scrambler


AMC being the smaller of the US automakers produced the Jeep line and other vehicles to the early 80’s when financial troubles caught up to the corporation. Chrysler bought AMC at fire sale prices in 1987. Production lines at AMC were so slow, that Chrysler outsourced some of its production to AMC, and Chrysler’s production of the Omni\Horizon and the M-body were produced in AMC’s Kenosha Wisconsin plant. Chrysler underhandedly bought out Renault’s ownership of AMC, wanting the production facilities and the Jeep lineup. The Jeep-Eagle division became part of Chrysler officially in 1989,and after the merger\takeover of Chrysler in 1998 by Daimler\Benz; the Eagle was discontinued as a duplicate line in 1998. Jeep became it’s own division at that time. With the demise of Plymouth in 2001, Daimler\Chrysler was left with three divisions, Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep.


Jeep Wrangler


 Jeep history is continuing to be made with the new models and concepts that have rolled out over the past few years. Concept vehicles like the Jeepster and the Commander foretell a bright future of off-road performance continuing the bold tradition of the Jeep!


2002 Jeep Liberty


Jeep Models by year (through 1999):



Willys-Series CJ-2A 


Willys-Series CJ-2A 


Willys-Jeep Pickup


Willys-Jeep Truck 4x4


Willys-Jeep Truck 4x2


Willys-Jeep Pickup 4x2
Willys-Jeep VJ-3


Willys-Jeep M-38


Willys-Jeep Sedan 4x2


Willys-Jeep CJ-3B


Willys-Jeep Sedan Delivery 4x4


Jeep CJ-5, CJ-6 Long WB
Utility Wagon


Willys-Jeep CJ-6 DJ-3A


Willys-Jeep FC-150 1/4Ton Pickup


FC-150 1Ton,JA-3CB (AU Only)


DJ-Surrey, Gala
Maverick Utility Wagon 4x2


Fleet Vans US Postal Contract


Fleet Van Walk-in Delivery Truck


FC-170 1-Ton Platform 4x4
6-cyl Introduction


Kaiser Jeep Corp.
Wagoneer/Gladiator-Series J-100-310


Jeep CJ5A "Tuxedo Park"


DJ-5 DJ-6
(M606 V-8 Foreign Market Only)


No Major Changes "Dauntless" V-6 Introduction


Jeep M-715
Jeepster Commando


Jeepster Commando


CJ-6 "462 Limited Edition"


American Motor Corporation AMC purchased Kaiser-Jeep


No Changes


CJ-5 Hard Top


J-Trucks Quadra-Trac 4WD Option
CJ-5 Renegade


Jeep Cherokee S


Cherokee Chief, J-Series Pickup Pioneer


CJ-7 "Automatic Transmission", J10 Honcho


CJ-5/7 "Golden Eagle"


No Major Changes
CJ-5 Limited Edition "Silver Anniversary"


No Major Changes


CJ-Laredo Edition


CJ-8 "Scrambler", J10 Laredo Pickup,


CJ-7 Limited Introduced. 1982 was the first year that the AMC 304 V8 was no longer offered as an option.


Select-Trac Replaces Quadra-Trac
Beijing Jeep Corp. Joint Venture AMC


Cherokee Down Size XJ
End of CJ-5 Production, 4-cyl Intro


XJ Pioneer Four Door Wagon


End of CJ Series Models, Wrangler YJ Intro.
Commanche mini Pickup, Based On XJ Series


AMC-Jeep Eagle Sold To Chrysler Corporation 8-5-87












Jeep Grand Cherokee ZJ Intro.




Last Jeep YJ Produced


No Jeep Wranglers YJ’s Produced


Jeep TJ Introduction




Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ



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