Jeep came into existence not out of a kid dreaming of developing cars, but out of necessity. The first World War had shown the US Army that they need means to be able to have fast and lightweight transport that could work on every terrain for both transporting and for reconnaissance. The early 1940s saw the need for this kind of vehicle become urgent as the Axis was scoring major victories across the entire war. The army put out a call to all the major auto makers and asked for assistance in bringing their idea to life.
Heeding the call, Willys-Overland came forward to demonstrate the capabilities of their vehicle by driving it up the steps of the United States Capitol. The driver, Irving “Red” Haussman, had heard soldiers at Fort Holabird call the vehicle a jeep. This lead to him answering a question by columnist Katherine Hilyer of what to call this new car. Irving simply answered, “It’s a jeep.” Due to the demand generated by the new jeep, Willys-Overland granted the US Government a non-exclusive license to allow another company to start production on the specs. The company that was chose was Ford. During WW2, the two companies filled more than 700,000 orders.
The Jeep brand that we know today happened when Chrysler purchased the brand from the American Motors Corporation when they had fallen on tough times. It’s been a popular brand since its inception and is instantly recognized by the 7-slot front grille design. A vehicle built out of necessity to deal wit the war has managed to become one of the most popular all-terrain vehicles on the market, a real testament to the design genius on display when the concept began.
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