Military History of the Jeep

Jeep Logo
With the tag line, FUN AND FREEDOM since 1941, Jeep represents a free-spirited companion to the liberated soul. Jeep is known world over as the go-to vehicle of choice for off-road adventures, and it’s rich history goes as far back as the World War II. This Iconic automobile brand name can boast to live up to its slogan, “Go Anywhere, Do Anything® is a way of life”

The name “Jeep” is a registered trademark that was fabricated and filled in February of 1943 by Willys-Overland motors. Currently owned and managed by the Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (formerly Chrysler Group LLC), these off-road giants showcase a deep level of commitment when it comes to durability and excelling performance on the roads.

This humvee-style vehicle is originally defined as “A four-wheel drive vehicle of one-half- to one-and-one-half-ton capacity for reconnaissance or other army duty.” The term “Jeep" was originally intended for the bantam-cars, and occasionally to other motor vehicles in the U.S. Air Corps and in the armored forces” according to the 1942 Words of the Fighting Forces by Clinton A. Sanders.

A look at the revolutionary car models for the Jeep useful in the military. The below highlighted models, were pretty useful, starting with the world-renowned 1940 Bantam historical model:


1940 World War II era Jeep
By 1940, Jeep automobiles had released the first prototype models particularly for military use. These included 1940 Bantam Pilot, 1940 Bantam Reconnaissance Car (BRC), 1940 Willys Quad, 1940 Ford Pygmy and 1940 Budd Ford. These pre-war reconnaissance automobiles were built for the Second World War, the first prototype constructed in less than 50 days! This initial sample model was well built and sturdy with its only failing attribute being the unmet engine torque requirements.


Jeep Logo
The World War Jeep model, the MB is a strong dependable exploration vehicle that greatly resembles the Ford GPW model which comes with a Willys engine design for engineering dominance. They are characteristic of a select 80 inch wheelbase for a maximum surface to ground contact to overcome the rough terrains. The Willys MB comes with either Slat grille or stamped grille option.

Also, as an attempt to create a model that could run underwater, hence the CJ-V35/U came with a modified engine that sits with a snorkel system for the engine to “breath under water”.


Military ambulance Jeep
In a bid to improve and facilitate healthcare, Jeep came up with a range of quick response ambulances that provided rapid response to the army troops in the field. They included the M170 Ambulance, M718 Ambulance and M718A1 Ambulance.


Convertible Jeep
The Jeepster is described as the “last true phaeton” (an open style carriage) produced by Willys- Overland. This 2 door Mini SUV convertible was in production up to late 1950. Available in 3-speed manual, the Jeepsters were revived in manufacture in 1966 with the new name, Jeepster Commando then later VJ-Jeepster for great functionality, better interior fixtures with improved performance.

By: James Langston
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