The Life of Jeep
The Early Jeep
The Jeep was originally designed for the military as a small reconnaissance vehicle to be utilized in WWII. In 1940 the War Department contacted 135 companies and only two responded to the war-time request for a rugged 4x4 vehicle small enough to be loaded onto a plane and flown overseas. The first Jeep was designed and a working prototype was built in a rush of only 49 days.
The American Bantam Car Company located in Butler Pennsylvania and the Willys-Overland Company of Toledo, Ohio designed two models. Elements from each design were incorporated into the first Jeep model. The Ford car manufacturing factories were also commissioned to build the wartime Jeeps in mass quantities. War-time Jeeps were stationed all over the world and were used by thousands of servicemen and women during the war. The Jeep proved it's usefulness to the thousands of Allied soldiers.
After the war, the demand for a similar post-war light utility model was growing for all those veterans returning from the battlefield. The Jeep evolved into the Civilian Jeep CJ, a station wagon and the Jeep pickup. The Willys-Overland company was soon bought by Kaiser Manufacturing Co. and became Kaiser-Jeep Corp. Six years later it was acquired by AMC American Motors.
In 1987 Chrysler which was led by Lee Iacocca, bought the AMC American Motors Corporation and the Jeep sales were at an all-time high which was a key factor in that decision. By this time the term "SUV," an abbreviation for "sport utility vehicle" had become synonymous with the Jeep's on-road and off-road capabilities. It seemed everyone wanted a Jeep that was built to handle any road conditions for fun or everyday use. The Grand Cherokee hit the scene just as customers wanted to carry more in their vehicles like a minivan but also wanted the ability to traverse rough terrain like a sport vehicle. The Jeep Grand Cherokee began selling in 1992 and helped propel Chrysler to the third place of all the US automakers.
The Jeep Life
The love for all-things Jeep has grown from the 50's when the WWII solders had to leave their trusted vehicles behind on the battlefield. The unique style of the body has made the Jeep one of the most recognizable car icons. The Jeep owners soon found themselves gathering with other like-minded Jeep owners to compare accessories and additions to their Jeep, admire different styles and ever evolving models of Jeeps and also participate in trail riding and Jeep rallies.
Jeep enthusiasts around the world helped launch Jamborees and Rally's which have become a popular venue for Jeep owners to get together and enjoy the company of other Jeep owners. Jeep Rallies are held every year in multiple locations around the world to celebrate the Jeep way of life. Jeep owners are passionate about traveling the nations highways to take a taste of a little off-road adventure all while enjoying life in a Jeep. It could be a charity event while cruising a beach with the top off or navigating a mountain trail full of scenic switchbacks. Jeep owners love to promote the sport of driving on and off the roads and experiencing some of the most adventurous trails.
Which Jeep do you own?
© 2017 Alan Lehmann