The Jeep was born from necessity to help defeat the Axis powers in WWII, and the original vehicle still exists 75 years later in the form of the 2-door Wrangler. Jeep gave us the HMMWV/HUMMER, however it also influenced several vehicle designs, and even the birth of a competitor that the Jeep brand looks to emulate to this day.
I would go so far as to say that the Jeep, is the most influential vehicle in automotive history, and I have listed several reasons below…
- Success in WWII was largely attributed to the ability of the United States to out produce the Axis Powers, and the Jeep was of significant influence in the ground war. It has been said that without the Jeep, we would not have won WWII
- Maurice and Spencer Wilks of the Rover Company used a Willys Jeep as the basis of the first Land Rover, in 1947. Land Rover became a dominant utility and off road vehicle around the world, and FCA Jeep strives to emulate their success in the luxury SUV market today
- The Original Jeep was also the inspiration for the Toyota Land Cruiser, Ford Bronco and International Scout, all of which began life as a ladder frame, solid-axle front and rear 4X4 vehicle
- The Jeep was the first sport utility vehicle, maybe even a utility vehicle first, as the first civilian Jeeps were known as Agri-Jeeps, for all of the tractor like implements they could be fitted with
- Speaking of sport utility vehicles, the Jeep invented the category, and I would argue is the only true remaining sport utility vehicles in production. I am considering that the completely removable top, as well as doors gives the Jeep the sport piece, and perhaps it does not incorporate a PTO for the utility, it’s certainly more of a sport utility than a Ford Explorer!
And today, the Jeep lives on in 2018, true to it’s original design with the JL!