Jeep - The Legend on Wheels

Jeep is an icon of motor history that has for over 75 years proved one of the most durable and popular vehicles for its go-anywhere capability. Rooted in the military necessity of the Second World War the Jeep soon after spread to all manner of uses both military and civilian. From the CJ range of classic Jeeps through the Wranglers to the modern Cherokees and beyond, the Jeep with its distinctive vertical slot grill has won friends and conquered frontiers across the globe.

There is a rich history to be explored in this durable range of multi-functional vehicles that have proved through the years to excel at both fun and function. Tough and basic in some models whilst handsome and luxurious in others. These vehicles have been where few others have followed and will do so for many years ahead. Let's take a closer look at The Jeep.

The Jeep CJ-3A went to production in 1948 alongside the last of the previous generation. It shared much of the design of the previous CJ-2A but continued to improve and take on its own identity over the next 6 years until production ended in 1953.

The changes made from to the CJ-3A were varied but most obvious was the single piece windscreen as opposed to the previous split windscreen. The flat fenders were retained but the rear wheel arches were adjusted to give more legroom for the driver and passenger.

After the end of World War II, the production of Military Jeeps was due to end. Before that happened the manufacturers, mainly Willys-Overland had been testing the Jeep concept for other uses such as agricultural vehicles. In order to make it into a suitable tool, power take-off and a drawbar hitch were added. Along with this lower ratio gears and strengthened clutch and chassis were required if it was to see duty down on the farm.

The CJ-1 or Agrijeep was constructed around the original Willys MB specification but a new CJ-2 was designed and built from new specific parts including the 'composite body' from American Central Manufacturing that had been used in both wartime Willys MB and Ford GPW from 1944 onwards. These were a start to civilian life but neither saw mass production.

Classic Jeeps started in civilian life with the production of the CJ-2A or Civilian Jeep in 1945. Building on those early military vehicles they bore the classic marks of the vertical slotted grill, upright windscreen and distinctive shape that are enduring in many of today’s Jeep models. What a useful vehicle they proved to be, winning admirers in all sections of civilian service. The CJ was modified to be useful as a small agricultural vehicle with many optional accessories.

The CJ-3A came in late 1948 and is identifiable with a single piece windscreen but had also strengthened transmission and drive train. At this point there was a hiccup in the evolution as the CJ-4 only ever got to prototype status. This was a combination of shortage of funds allied to the costs and restrictions of developing the M38A1 for the Korean war. After several attempts it was aborted and finally a modified CJ-3B was delivered in 1953.