History of Jeep
Originally manufactured as a reliable and durable wartime vehicle during World War II, Jeep is the oldest off-road vehicle brand and a vital part of the war effort.
After becoming involved in the war, the United States Army contacted 135 companies requesting prototypes of a four-wheel-drive vehicle that could be used for reconnaissance - only two would respond, Willys-Overland and the American Bantam Car Company. Working to a tight deadline and with dwindling finances, the companies struggled to complete the task. However, on 22nd July 1940, Bantam's design was submitted and hand-built from existing automotive parts although custom parts were supplied by Spicer). This design was later sent to Willys and Ford who then proceeded to make their own modifications, with the Willys version later becoming the standard design; however the trademark metal grille was a Ford design.
Thanks to their effectiveness, Jeeps were taken on by every division of the US military and employed for a myriad of situations. They were used as ambulances and tractors as well as utilised for cable laying. The vehicles also became famous for being the first motor cars to pass the notorious and dangerous Burma Road. During this time, the Jeep even became somewhat of a status symbol with Queen Elizabeth, President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill who all used the vehicle for touring and visits.
Following the war, Jeep continued to be popular despite never finding a true footing in the general consumer market when compared to larger, more commercial brands. It passed through many owners, such as Kaiser Motors and American Motors Corporation, eventually selling to Chrysler, creating the brand Chrysler Group LLC. The Grand Cherokee, introduced in 1993, is credited as starting the SUV craze and it quickly became the yardstick that others would have to measure up to.
Jeeps continue to be manufactured throughout the world. Their modern and practical feel teamed with their rugged and steadfast performance mean they really are the ideal vehicle for practically any terrain.