When the United States entered World War II in 1941, the automotive industry quickly switched to over to making war machinery.  While “war machinery” meant aircraft, tanks and guns for many, some manufacturers still made vehicles. Willys Corporation was one of them. From 1941 until 1945, Willys built some 360,000 vehicles for the war effort. This was fortunate for Willys for not only did they stay in business during the war, they accumulated automobile production knowledge during a time when most manufacturers were building other machinery.

Jeep 1
Jeep 1

The whole country wanted cars

After the war, war machinery production came to a halt and Detroit went back to building cars and trucks. It was a wonderful time for the car manufacturers.  Not only did civilians want new cars, millions of returning GIs did too. Patrick Autobody of Schumburg, IL, a well-known collision repair center, says couldn’t build them fast enough.

Willys gets an early start

After a few years to get the assembly lines rolling again, Willys introduced the Jeepster VJ-2 to the public in July 1948. It was a car that was based on the Military jeeps that Willy’s had built so many of. The base price of $1,765 for the VJ-2 included many features that were an extra cost on competitor’s cars, such as whitewall tires, hubcaps with bright trim rings, bumper guards, dual horns, cigar lighter, wind wings and a continental spare tire with cover.  It was a good looking car too.

Slow sales

Unfortunately, sales were slow. The Jeepster was an automobile that looked like a jeep so it 1948  Jeepsters were retitled as 1949 models.  Willys soon realized that they needed to improve the Jeepster’s competitive position with modified styling. A Jeepster enthusiast we located at a Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, RAM dealer, explained to us that styling was an issue but so was the price.  Willys reacted quickly and released the 1949 models with a base price of just $1,495.

New Engine

Plus, they added some power.  Willy’s introduced a new six-cylinder engine in the VJ3-6 in 1949 and priced it at $1,530.  The result was that Jeepster sales picked up for a while, but production for 1949 totaled only 2,960 units. Of these, 2,307 were equipped with the four-cylinder engine and 653 with the new six.

The last year

There were two series of 1950 Jeepsters.  Jeepsters carrying the new four-cylinder engine and revamped styling, including the new grill with 5 horizontal chrome bars, were designated VJ-473, while six-cylinder models were VJ-673. The total 1950 Jeepster production was 5,845 units, of which 4,066 were four-cylinder models and 1,779 were sixes. Even though production increased a bit, sales remained quite below expectations.

The end of the line

Poor marketing efforts and weak advertising didn’t help to increase sales, so the decision was made to cease production of the Jeepster. Despite the 3 year production run from 1948 – 1950, the Jeepster never caught on with the general public. A total of just 19,131 Jeepsters were produced and sold. Today used Jeepsters are a hit with collectors because they are affordable, fun classics.

Jeep has introduced a new limited edition of its Renegade model. Being christened as Jeep Renegade Night Eagle Edition, it is based on the Longitude mid-range level. The Night Eagle edition is limited to 350 units, while it goes on sale from February 1, 2016 in the United Kingdom. The limited edition Jeep Renegade comes with several added features, while mechanically it comes with the 1.6L MultiJet II engine and 2.0L MultiJet II mill.

Jeep Renegade Night Eagle Edition
Jeep Renegade Night Eagle Edition

Talking about the Jeep Renegade Night Eagle edition, it features 17-inch black alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, satin grey Jeep badges and unique Night Eagle badge, coloured roof bars and side mirrors, and satin grey grille rings on a black front grille. Out of the 350 units, 160 would be offered in the unique Volcano Sand matt paint finish while the rest will be available in two other colours: Carbon Black and Alpine White. Just so you know, Jeep had launched a similar Night Eagle limited edition of the Cherokee in November last year. The limited edition Jeep Renegade could further be equipped with impeccable features such as electric panoramic sunroof, heated front seats and steering wheel, and regular size spare tyre.

Jeep Renegade Night Eagle Edition
Jeep Renegade Night Eagle Edition

The interior cabin boasts of exclusive seats in bark brown fabric with electric lumbar support for the driver, leather wrapped steering wheel, dual zone climate control, DAB UConnect radio with 5-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth and satnav, and cruise control. Jeep Renegade Night Eagle edition gets two engines: a 1.6L MultiJet II motor and a 2.0L MultiJet II mill. The former has a power output of 120 hp, while the latter develops a top power of 140 hp. Both the engines are linked to a 6-speed manual transmission. The 1.6L engine gets a 2WD, while the 2.0L has a 4X4 drive system. The new Jeep Renegade Night Eagle costs £21,595 OTR for the 1.6 MultiJet II 120hp 2WD, and £24,095 OTR for the 2.0 MultiJet II 140hp 4WD.

Jeep has debuted the new Cherokee Overland at the New England International Auto Show. New Jeep Cherokee Overland is expected to go on sale from March 2016. Coming at Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $34,495 (plus $995 destination), the Overland variant joins the Sport, Latitude, Limited and Trailhawk models in the Cherokee lineup.

Jeep Cherokee Overland Edition
Jeep Cherokee Overland rivals the likes of Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, Subaru Forester and Honda CR-V

Talking about the exterior styling of Jeep Cherokee Overland, it gets new body-color fascias with a bright front grille and chin extension, body-color door cladding and wheel flares, new 18-inch aluminum wheels, HID bi-xenon headlamps and “Overland” badge on the liftgate. The designing cues have been taken from the award-winning Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland model. As for the cabin, the Cherokee Overland boasts of a leather-wrapped instrument panel, power front driver and passenger seat with four-way power lumbar, a new Jeep steering wheel with Zebrano high-gloss wood trim, bright door sill plates, and Berber floor mats.

Jeep Cherokee Overland Edition Interior Cabin
Jeep would hold the world premiere of an all-new compact SUV at the New York Auto Show in March 2016

The company is offering standard Nappa leather seats with ventilation and heating function for front seats. An Alpine Premium Audio system with Uconnect 8.4AN AM/FM radio is also on offer as standard. Moreover, a 8.4-inch touchscreen display with Bluetooth, Navigation, HD Radio, SiriusXM Travel Link, SiriusXM Traffic and Uconnect Access Advantage also comes as standard. Besides the aforementioned features, a few more exquisite features are available with the Jeep Cherokee Overland in form of power liftgate, blind spot monitoring and rear crosspath detection, Parksense rear backup assist system and a premium insulation group.

Jeep Cherokee Overland Edition
Jeep Cherokee Overland Edition

Needless to say, Jeep Cherokee Overland edition gets the Jeep Active Drive II 4×4 system, like every other Jeep model. In addition, it also features the Jeep brand’s Selec-Terrain traction control system, via which the driver can select any of the four driving modes available: Auto, Snow, Sport and Sand/Mud. Under the hood, there is the 3.2-litre V6 Pentastar engine with standard engine stop/start (ESS) fuel-saving technology, while producing 271hp of top power and 239 lb.-ft. of peak torque. “Cherokee sales increased 23 percent in 2015, and we expect the new Overland model will attract even more consumers into our Jeep showrooms going forward,” said Mike Manley, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA Global.

It started in the 1930s. The US was reluctant to enter into the armed conflicts in Europe, at that time, but realized in the late 1930s that it may get pulled in if the war escalated. In preparation for this, the US military began to look at various necessary material preparations. In particular, one of the first items on their wish list would be an enormous number of vehicles just for basic transportation. In early 1940, the US Army during the prep phase contacted 134 US-based companies and asked them if they had interest in building a prototype of a small, 4WD reconnaissance car for a potential war effort.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee-1

Only two companies responded to the request; Willys-Overland and The American Bantam Company. The lack of response almost certainly due to the impossible deadline they had placed on the request: a working prototype needed to be delivered within a mere 49 days.

Willys asked for more time to deliver a prototype but the Army refused the request. The American Bantam Car Company, which was being reorganized within backruptcy and had no engineering left on the staff, solicited Karl Probst, an ex-Bantam employee to help them out.  After turning down Bantam’s initial request, Probst responded to a direct Army request for a design and commenced work. Working at a feverish pace, Probst laid out full plans for the Bantam prototype, known as the BRC (Bantam Reconnaissance Car), in just two days. While much of the vehicle could be assembled from off-the-shelf parts, custom 4WD components were to be supplied by Spicer Corporation.

Although the Bantam prototype met almost all of the requirements, the Army felt that the company (Bantam) was too small to supply the number of vehicles it needed, so it supplied the Bantam-Probst design to Willys and Ford who were encouraged to make their own changes and modifications. The resulting Ford “Pygmy” and Willys “Quad” prototypes looked very similar to the Bantam BRC prototype. Spicer supplied very similar four-wheel drivetrain components to all three manufacturers. According to the folks at JTS Jeep, this is the Spicer of Dana-Spicer, the company that has been building rugged Jeep components for over 80 years now.

Incredible as it now seems, fifteen hundred of each of the three Jeep prototypes were built and extensively field-tested. The Willys version of the car would become the standardized jeep design, designated the Model MB and was built at their plant in Toledo, Ohio.  The Army chose Ford as the second supplier but they were required to build their Jeeps to the Willys’ design. American Bantam, the creators of the first Jeep, spent the rest of the war building heavy-duty trailers for the Army which suited them just fine.
Incidently, none of the original manufacturers actually used the term “Jeep” to designate their vehicles. Although there is some debate as to the origin of the name, many historians acknowledge that it was a slang that was applied to the vehicle’s military name “GP Vehicle” (General Purpose) during WWII. This seems likely because of the tendency to make non-sensical military acronyms into words is very common. For example, HMMWV(for High-Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle) has become commonly known as the Humvee. Whatever the origins, the name JEEP is far from being just military slang and is a world wide recognized trademark.

Today, Jeep is a major brand of automobiles that is manufactured by FCA, FIAT Chrysler Automotive. The former Chrysler Corporation acquired the Jeep brand along with its remaining assets in 1987 from American Motors Corporation (AMC). Although it has made trucks in the past, the jeep line of vehicles today consists solely off-road and sport utility vehicles.

As the nation observed Memorial Day in honor of our veterans, Jeep’s Toledo Assembly Complex in Toledo, Ohio unveiled its own tribute to veterans around the country.

The plant manager and the local UAW chairman, along with employees, veterans, and Chrysler Group’s VP of Assembly Operations, came together to dedicate a permanent memorial to our nation’s military veterans.

jeep 2014

The memorial, placed near the plant’s giant “Jeep” sign, consists of silhouettes of soldiers standing near a fully-restored 1942 Willys Military Jeep.  Employees of the Complex fully restored the 1942 Willys Jeep, replacing parts, refurbishing body panels, and applying new paint.  The team assigned to the restoration included descendents of workers who may have built this Jeep when it was first on the assembly line.

In addition to its tribute to veterans, this memorial recognizes the Toledo Assembly Complex’s nearly 75-year history of assembling Jeeps, starting with the first military Jeeps during WWII.  This memorial also reminds the new generation of Jeep employees where the company came from – and that the Jeep brand owes its existence to WWII veterans.  Willys-Overland built Jeeps for the military during WWII, where they were used as troop and supply carriers, recon vehicles, and ambulances.  After the war, Willys-Overland sold the CJ – which stood for “Civilian Jeep” – a Jeep which was more refined but still maintained the military Jeep’s incredible off-road capability.  If veterans returning from the war had not become the first Jeep enthusiasts when they got home, the brand might not be here today.

Source: Long Island’s East Hills Jeep

The Jeep story is a war story.  In the late 1930s, when it became obvious that US was eventually going to be pulled into the war in Europe, the various branches of the military started to look at the necessary material preparations involved.  At Reedman-Toll Jeep, Langhorne, PA,  they informed us that the US Army contacted 134 companies and asked them if they had interest in building a prototype of a small, 4WD reconnaissance car. Only two companies responded to the request; Willys-Overland and The American Bantam Company.  The lack of response almost certainly due to the impossible deadline they had placed on the request: a working prototype needed to be delivered within a mere 49 days.

Jeep 1
Jeep 1

Willys asked for more time to deliver a prototype but the Army refused the request.  The bankrupt American Bantam Car Company, who had no engineering left on the staff, solicited Karl Probst, an ex-Bantam consultant to help them out.  After turning down Bantam’s initial request, Probst responded to a direct Army request and commenced work. Working at a feverish pace, Probst laid out full plans for the Bantam prototype, known as the BRC (Bantam Reconnaissance Car), in just two days.  While much of the vehicle could be assembled from off-the-shelf parts, custom 4WD components were to be supplied by Spicer Corporation.  The hand-built prototype was completed and driven to Camp Holabird, MD for Army testing September 21, 1940.

Although the Bantam prototype met almost all of the requirements, the Army felt that the company (Bantam) was too small to supply the number of vehicles it needed, so it supplied the Bantam design to Willys and Ford who were encouraged to make their own changes and modifications. The resulting Ford “Pygmy” and Willys “Quad” prototypes looked very similar to the Bantam BRC prototype and Spicer supplied very similar four-wheel drivetrain components to all three manufacturers. It now was a contest among three possible suppliers.

Fifteen hundred of each of the three models were built and extensively field-tested. The Willys version of the car would become the standardized jeep design, designated the Model MB and was built at their plant in Toledo, Ohio.  The Army chose Ford as the second supplier but they were required to build their Jeeps to the Willys’ design. American Bantam, the creators of the first Jeep, spent the rest of the war building heavy-duty trailers for the Army.

Incidently, none of the original manufacturers actually used the term “Jeep” to designate their vehicles. Although there is some debate as to the origin of the name, many historians acknowledge that it was a slang that was applied to the vehicle’s military name “GP Vehicle” (General Purpose).  This seems likely because of the tendency to make non-sensical military acronyms into words is very common. For example, HMMWV (for High-Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle) has become commonly known as the Humvee.

Today, Jeep is a major brand of automobiles that is manufactured by Chrysler Group LLC, a multi-national company in a global strategic alliance with the FIAT Group SPA.  The former Chrysler Corporation acquired the Jeep brand along with its remaining assets in 1987 from American Motors Corporation (AMC). Although it has made trucks, Jeeps line of vehicles today still consist solely off-road and sport utility vehicles.

 

Have you though about getting a new vehicle?  If you have, you probably contemplated in your head what kind of vehicle you should get whether it be a car, SUV or truck.  You also probably wonder if it should be a coupe or four door.  While a four door is safer, a coupe is better if you are more concerned about the style you want to ride in. If you are even more concerned about safety, you should look into an SUV or a truck because the added mass is better in the event of a crash.  SUV’s and trucks also allow for much  better towing, but they are gas guzzlers because of the added mass that they have to carry. If you are thinking about going with an SUV, think about the 2013 Jeep Cherokee.

The ’13 Cherokee has a choice between a V-6 or V-8, so that its consumers can be satisfied about its sufficient horsepower or its good fuel economy numbers.  Of course if you want the fastest version of the ’13 Grand Cherokee, pull out all the big guns and spring for the SRT8 performance wagon.   This performance wagon can compete with very luxurious SUVs like the Porsche Cayenne, BMW X5 and X6 and Mercedes-Benz AMG utilities.  The SRT8 not only competes on the same level as luxurious SUVs but it also is the Grand Cherokee that gets the best amenities.

For 2013, the Cherokee has lowered aerodynamic drag and has made slightly better styling cues, and it also has put some more amenities in the top of the line Cherokee SRT8.  Underway, the Grand Cherokee cabin is very quiet, even with the throttle floored, even over rough pavement. There are three layers of noise insulation, adding to the weight but the quiet is impressive.

Come down to their dealership to find Jeeps in Durham, at Sport Durst Auto!