The Internet's Best

Community for those

Who Repair, Restore,

and Race Mopar Vehicles.

 

Up
Imperial
Chrysler
Dodge
Desoto
Plymouth
Jeep
Maxwell & Chalmers
AMC/Rambler/Nash
Mopars From Down Under

 

 
   
Jeep

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):

 

1945 

Willys-Series CJ-2A 

1946 

Willys-Series CJ-2A 

1947 

Willys-Jeep Pickup

1948 

Willys-Jeep Truck 4x4

1949 

Willys-Jeep Truck 4x2

1950 

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

1951 

Willys-Jeep M-38

1952 

Willys-Jeep Sedan 4x2

1953 

Willys-Jeep CJ-3B

1954 

Willys-Jeep Sedan Delivery 4x4

1955 

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

1956 

Willys-Jeep CJ-6 DJ-3A

1957 

Willys-Jeep FC-150 1/4Ton Pickup
FC-170

1958 

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

1959 

DJ-Surrey, Gala
Maverick Utility Wagon 4x2

1960 

Fleet Vans US Postal Contract

1961 

Fleet Van Walk-in Delivery Truck

1962 

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

1963 

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

1964 

Jeep CJ5A "Tuxedo Park"

1965 

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

1966 

No Major Changes "Dauntless" V-6 Introduction

1967 

Jeep M-715
Jeepster Commando

1968 

Jeepster Commando

1969 

CJ-6 "462 Limited Edition"

1970 

American Motor Corporation AMC purchased Kaiser-Jeep

1971 

No Changes

1972 

CJ-5 Hard Top

1973 

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

1974 

Jeep Cherokee S

1975 

Cherokee Chief, J-Series Pickup Pioneer

1976 

CJ-7 "Automatic Transmission", J10 Honcho

1977 

CJ-5/7 "Golden Eagle"

1978 

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

1979 

No Major Changes

1980 

CJ-Laredo Edition

1981 

CJ-8 "Scrambler", J10 Laredo Pickup,

1982 

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

1983 

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

1984 

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

1985 

XJ Pioneer Four Door Wagon

1986 

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

1987 

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

1988 

 

1989 

 

1990 

 

1991 

 

1992 

 

1993 

Jeep Grand Cherokee ZJ Intro.

1994 

 

1995 

Last Jeep YJ Produced

1996 

No Jeep Wranglers YJ’s Produced

1997 

Jeep TJ Introduction

1998 

 

1999 

Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ

 

 

©2001-2006 MoparStyle Racing, Ltd.

We are a car club of Mopar enthusiasts, and are in no way affiliated with Daimler Chrysler