The Jeep is one of the most well-known and iconic vehicles in the world. Created during WWII, the Jeep would go on to become a symbol of American culture and ingenuity. It has been featured in countless movies, TV shows, and music videos. But what is its history? Where did it come from? What was it like before it became an icon? Find out when you read on!
How the Jeep Got its Start
The Jeep got its start thanks to an American engineer named Walter Chrysler. He was hired by the United States military in 1940 to help them with the war effort, specifically with the issue of providing a vehicle that could navigate tough terrain.
To solve this problem, Chrysler designed the Jeep from scratch. One of the most famous aspects of the design was that it could be driven in both directions: forward and reverse. This meant that it could go up hills as well as down them and traverse rough terrain much more easily than any of the other vehicles at the time.
When WWII ended, Chrysler’s company- now known as Chrysler Corporation- continued producing Jeeps for civilians and military use around the world. And while they have changed over time, they continue to be an iconic symbol of American culture and ingenuity in many parts of the world today.
The Development of the Jeep
The Jeep was designed to be a vehicle that could take on any terrain. Prior to the Great Depression, there were only a couple of varieties of automobiles available in the United States.
But when the economy dropped, people needed vehicles that could handle any type of terrain for work and leisure. That’s when American Bantam Car Company came up with the idea for the Jeep. It was first developed as an all-terrain military vehicle and then later became an automobile staple.
The first Jeeps were actually delivered to U.S soldiers in 1940, just before WWII started – which means it played a key role in both world wars! The Jeep has also been in many films, including Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) and Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011).
The Military Use of the Jeep
The Jeep was first designed by a group of engineers at Willys-Overland – the company that would eventually become Kaiser. It received the nickname “jeep” because they didn’t want to give it an official name. It was originally designed as a military vehicle and was used extensively during World War II. They were famously driven by American GIs in World War II, and gained recognition as a powerful force on the battlefields. Around 6,000 jeeps were deployed to Allied forces in Africa and Europe. The jeeps were used for carrying people or equipment, scouting, commandeering enemy vehicles, liaison duties, and more. In fact, some jeeps were modified with .50 caliber machine guns!
A Timeline for the Birth and Death of a Symbol
1938 – The Jeep is officially created.
The first Jeep was created in Toledo Ohio during WWII by the American Bantam Car Company (a subsidiary of Willys-Overland). The original design was called the “Quad,” which would later be renamed to reflect its four-wheel drive capabilities.
1940 – Production begins after the first order, which totaled around 100 units, are made.
Production began on December 15th, 1940 and was produced steadily throughout World War II. The vehicle proved to be a valuable tool for the Allied Forces as it could be used in multiple capacities: carrying wounded soldiers, transporting supplies for the troops, driving through fields too rough for tanks, and even being driven underwater in a submarine version.
1941 – More than 1 million Jeeps are manufactured.
More than 1 million Jeeps were manufactured from 1941-1945, though it’s unclear just how many Willys-Overlands may have built. It’s estimated that Ford and GM each contributed about 200 thousand Jeeps during this time period as well.
1945 – The Jeep ceases production after WWII ends.
Jeep ceased production on May 24th, 1945 in order to focus on post-war car production–over 2 million vehicles were sold between 1946-1950 with much of the credit going to various Jeep models. These post war years also saw Jeep start becoming more of an iconic symbol than before and more people took notice of its popularity after it was featured in movies like “It
It’s been over 75 years since the Jeep was created and it is still as iconic as it ever was.
Although the Jeep will never be as powerful as it once was, there is no denying that it is still a very useful vehicle. The Jeep will always hold a special place in our hearts, and will always be used in some capacity to provide us with the freedom to be who we are.