History of Jeep

By John Linden

It was the year 1940, in Butler, Pennsylvania, when Jeep set out to become one of the most iconic American brands with the Willys Quad, and would consistently rival any product on the market today. Throughout the history of Jeep, its versatility has continuously changed the world. First manufactured by the American Bantam Car Company (ABCC), the U.S. Army was the first to test the Willys Quad, but with its massive size and slow speed drawbacks, the U.S. Army defined a list of specifications for an extreme scout car and solicited bids from 135 manufacturers. To win the government contract a lightweight all-terrain military vehicle had to be produced. In July of 1941 a U.S. Army contract to manufacture 16,000 Willys MBs (revision of the Willys MB model) was awarded; with most of the MAs shipped to American allies in England and Russia. The sport utility vehicle gained popularity quickly and the lightweight 4-wheel-drive vehicle became the preferred choice for the U.S. Army and Allied Forces during World War II. However, the civilian world would not be introduced to the Jeep until late 1945.

On the TV show, Mail Call, retired Marine Gunnery Sergeant R. Lee Ermey went on record saying soldiers using the Willys MB on military missions referred to the vehicle as "Eugene the Jeep", Popeye cartoons character's "jungle pet" able to handle any situation he encountered. In 1950, Willys-Overland registered "Jeep®" as its trademark.

For more than 70 years, Jeep® evolved with the constant changes of modern eras without deviating from their roots, subsequently developing one of the most loyal "cult followings" of any other vehicle today. Jeep®'s legendary off-road capabilities and performance are unmatched making it popular as the consumer's choice as an all-terrain, all-weather and all-season vehicle. Whether for the extreme off-road experience or novice Sunday driver, both seek the thrill of driving off the beaten path.

"Jeep® is America's only real sports car." ~Enzo Ferrari, racecar aficionado.

The history of Jeep® goes back for more than 75 years, with a rich heritage connected to freedom, authenticity, adventure and passion. Through steadfast commitment, the brand has consistently proven dedication to strength with meaningful engineering and has forged an extraordinary bond between owners and their vehicles. Also buy jeep covers to resist your jeep against scratches, dust, environmental effects and other hazards.

1940s

  • American Bantam Car Company manufactures the first all-terrain vehicle in Butler, Pennsylvania - 1941

  • U.S. Military is the first to test the Jeep

  • Willys MB Jeep wins U.S. Army contract bid to produce lightweight-all-terrain military vehicles

  • Willys MB Jeep introduced to the public - late 1945

1950s

  • America sees a rise of the recreational vehicle

  • Jeep Jamborees are manufactured

  • Independent carmaker Kaiser-Fraizer purchases Willys-Overland - 1953

  • Name changes to Willys Motor Company - 1953

  • Seven unique models spikes sales.

1960s

  • All-New Jeep Wagoneer is manufactured

  • The brand now has fourteen models available for play, work, recreation and luxury transportation

  • Name changes to Kaiser-Jeep - 1963

1970s

  • American Motors Corporation (AMC) purchases Kaiser-Jeep - 1970

  • Jeeps are equipped with the first full-time 4x4 system.

  • First sporty full-size 2-door Cherokee (SJ) appears

  • The Cherokee is awarded 4WD of the Year

  • Six models spike sales at an all-time high

1980s

  • The All-New Jeep Cherokee (XJ) rolls off the production line

  • Revolutionizes the 4x4 market

  • First 4-door SUV compact Jeep

  • First to be equipped with UniFrame construction

  • First full-time 4x4 system with shift-on-the-fly ability

  • Chrysler Corporation acquires AMC - 1987

  • In years to follow, Chrysler goes through changes

  • merged with Daimler-Benz

  • sold ownership majority to become Chrysler Group LLC

1990s

  • All-New 1993 Jeep® Grand Cherokee (ZJ) sets benchmark industry wide

  • Improved on and off road balance

  • New coil suspension - 1997

  • Grand Cherokee (WJ) noted as most capable SUV in history - 1999

  • Total 1990sí sales reach 629,000 units sold

2000 - Present Day

  • Jeep Wrangler Rubicon most capable vehicle in Jeep's history - 2003

  • 4-door Wrangler variant launch

  • Wrangler Unlimited (4-doors) provides room and utility capabilities

  • For latest Wrangler Unlimited (4-doors) model order online jeep wrangler car covers to protect our jeep

  • Patriot and Compass first to known as small cross utility vehicles - 2006

  • Grand Cherokee redesign - 2011

  • Cherokee replaces the Liberty as redefined midsize vehicle - 2014

  • Renegade takes the Jeep brand into the small SUV market - 2015

  • There is no denying it; Jeep is an American icon that has played an intricate role in shaping the country's (and world's) history. From the battlefields of WWII to the backwoods and down the highways, the history of Jeep radiates American as no other vehicle can. If you are the proud owner of one of these American Icons, be sure to protect it with one of the many Jeep Covers offered by carcovers.com