► Celebrating the 75th birthday of Jeep
► A timeline of Jeep’s rich history
► Topped off by concept-craze 2016
1940: Willys Quad
War – what is it good for? Well, Willys-Overland Co. for starters, who won the contract to build the US Army a new breed of all-terrain runabout.
1941: Willys MB
Where the Jeep name came from is a mystery; most likely it was military jargon derivation of ‘GP’, for ‘general purpose’.
1945: Willys Jeep CJ-2A
Peacetime and civvie street beckons. CJ stands for just that: ‘Civilian Jeep’. Designed for farming, so fewer guns.
1946: Willys Wagon
Jeep branches out from its military roots for the first time with wood cladding
1953: Willys-Overland merges with Kaiser-Frazer – at the time the largest merging of two automotive firms.
1970: American Motors Corporation – AMC – takes ownership (until 1987).
The Cherokee name makes its first appearance, initially on a two-door ‘sports’ development of the long-running Wagoneer.
The CJ series finally dies; the Wrangler is its replacement, inheriting its ‘great off-road, rubbish on it‘ DNA. The series is still going strong today.
1987: Chrysler becomes Jeep’s new owner.
1987: In a masterstroke of product placement, a pink Jeep Renegade becomes Barbie’s sports utility vehicle of choice for the next two and a bit decades.
1990: Freedom concept
Ahead-of-the curve design for a luxury two-door ragtop SUV, with power-folding roof and picnic basket rollover bar.
1992: Grand Cherokee
Chrysler pushes Jeep into the posh 4×4 ring with the likes of Range Rover. Grand Cherokee the most upmarket Jeep yet.
2014 : Another change at the top: Chrysler is now Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
The platform-sharing Fiat 500X’s more macho alter-ego takes the Jeep brand into a whole new, potentially lucrative market.
2016: Happy birthday to us!
Why celebrate with one wild concept car when you can punt out an army of them?
A mutated Wrangler, stretched by 12in to accommodate the Dodge Hellcat’s 707bhp V8. Rally raid suspension and 40in boots.
Crew Chief 715
A steely eyed salute to Jeep’s military history, inspired by the ’60s Kaiser M715. ‘Tactical green’ paint, aircraft control switches and Ride of the Valkyries looped on the stereo. Possibly.
A stomach-stapled Wrangler with 26 inches cut from its length, 35in tyres and low-back leather buckets for that ’50s beach buggy vibe. Like Barbie’s ride made macho.
Retro done right. Original battle-scarred body from a 1960 Jeep Forward Control with 2005 Wrangler running gear beneath. Analogue compass, CB radio and vinyl seats.
A super-stretched Renegade-based pickup with a 2in lift kit, 5ft loadbed, low-range transmission and possibly the greatest paint name ever: ‘Beige Against the Machine‘.
Read more from the May 2016 issue of CAR magazine