Jul 30, 2015
Outside Magazine

A “civilian jeep.”    Photo: Tim Tomkinson

A four-wheel-drive vehicle first produced for the U.S. Army during World War II. In 1940, the Army requested prototypes for a lightweight off-road vehicle; it gave contractors just 49 days to turn theirs in. Willys-Overland Motors won the job and manufactured 330,000 jeeps over the next five years, contracting out about the same number to Ford. After the war, Willys-Overland began producing the CJ series (for “civilian jeep”), which quickly became popular with farmers and outdoorsmen. Willys was soon renamed Jeep, and in 1963 the brand debuted the Wagoneer, which added features like automatic transmission and power steering, thus inventing the SUV.

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