weighed in with the GP, a BRC clone with a Ford tractor engine. Willys quickly followed up with the improved model MA, powered by their Whippet Go-Devil engine. The MA got the nod, chosen by the Army as its basic version light recon car. Willys and Ford were contracted to mass-produce the vehicles, while Bantam was tabbed to make jeep trailers and other wartime materiel. The MA was militarized into the MB Standardized Jeep. The origin of the term jeep is a mystery. Ford’s version of the vehicle was designated as the GP, a soundalike to “jeep.” That’s one theory. Another is that the name was inspired by the Jeeps of Jeep island, strange but likable critters who appeared in the “Popeye the Sailor” newspaper funnies. The jeep 1/4-ton utility vehicle had a truck-style separate body mounted on a chassis. It was combat-ready, with a low profile and a high ground clearance. Its flat body panels could be quickly replaced, even under enemy fire. It could travel well in snow or mud, desert and jungle. Put a machine gun on it, and it became an effective fast light fighting vehicle. In every theater of war, wherever the American G.I. went, there went the jeep. “The Sun Never Sets on the Mighty Jeep” was Willys’ proud slogan—no boast, just fact. By war’s end, there were some 640,000 jeeps worldwide. Allied Supreme Commander (and future president) General Dwight D. Eisenhower hailed the as jeep as a vital war-winner. Then came victory, and the jeep came home to win the peace. By September 1945, Willys’ prototype Civilian Jeep CJ-1A had already given way to the CJ-2A model, debuting at a base price of $1,090. It was eagerly snapped up by

A profile view shows off the machine’s characteristic flat hood and rugged, low-slung construction. The flat body panels were designed for quick and easy replacement under combat conditions.

Jeep history


Made with FlippingBook - professional solution for displaying marketing and sales documents online