Saturday, February 23, 2013
Stuck in the snow? How about a Jeep?!
For a vehicle that looks like it hasn’t changed much in 40 years, The Jeep Wrangler has an awful lot of history. Of course, today the Jeep brand makes the Grand Cherokee, the Liberty, and other SUVs in addition to the Wrangler, but for the purposes of this story, we’re going to refer to the Wrangler, and all of its predecessors, simply as Jeeps. Sorry, lovers of the Commander.
Bantam cranked out a prototype in only 49 days, presenting it in 1940. Willys-Overland and Ford turned out shortly after with their versions, which all looked surprisingly similar to the Bantam. Being late to the party turned out to be the way to go, though, because all three companies ended up being awarded the initial contracts.
The efforts of these three companies were an integral part in the outcome of World War II.
In spite of their all-American persona, Chrysler is presently owned by Italian automaker Fiat. As a brand, Jeep continues to cling to their heritage, however, and the 2011 lineup included a fancy, 70th Anniversary Jeep Wrangler Unlimited.
The slideshow below is full of media beauty shots of the Jeep from its beginning as a wartime tool to the current recreational version. Most were provided by Chrysler, but there are a few early photos from the Ford archives as well. Jeeps can look pretty cool in pictures, because they like to catch them climbing rocks and splashing through creeks and stuff. Check ‘em out.