And Then There Were Seven!!!

Of the MANY topics Jeepers argue and debate, the origin of the sevenslat/seven opening grille that is now THE definitive symbol of the Jeep brand.

The origin of the sevenslat grille is VERY simple!!! It is is not a romantic and mysterious story, it was created out of simple manufacturing necessity.

After WWII, Willys-Overland re-engineered the Jeep for civilian use by upgrading the transmission with gears better suited for civilian use, as well as larger headlamps.  To accommodate the larger headlamps, the stamping die was reworked, stations were removed and reworked to allow the original tooling to be utilized.  The remaining seven openings provided sufficient airflow, just as the nine opening grille did.

Look at the photos below, it’s clear that the overall shape/size of the CJ grille is the same as the MB grille.

  • Ford did not patent the nine opening grill

Henry Ford did not want to have anything to do with the war build-up and only entered the war movement when his son Edsel began working with the Army Air Corp to mass-produce B-24 Liberator bombers.  A.J. Baime chronicles Henry Ford’s ambivalence about getting involved in WWII in his book The Arsenal of Democracy: FDR, Detroit, and an Epic Quest to Arm an America at War.

The U.S. Government needed to ensure a reliable supply of Jeeps, and enlisted Ford to produce the Jeep under license.  Henry Ford insisted that parts produced for the GPW were stamped with an F on them, so Ford could not be held responsible for Jeeps produced by Willys-Overland.

Why would Ford patent the nine opening grille?  And if Ford did, why was this design never seen on a Ford product after the war?

  • The Jeep was not the first vehicle on all seven continents

The idea that the Jeep was the first vehicle to traverse all seven continents sounds good, however, I believe that the VW Beetle was the first vehicle to set a tire on all seven continents.

 

If the Jeep was the first vehicle on all seven continents, why didn’t Willys-Overland use that in their marketing of the CJ Universal after the war?

  • It was a simple tooling change to allow for larger headlamps!!!

As boring as it sounds, Willys-Overland needed to sell vehicles to the civilian population after the war.  The CJ needed larger headlamps, and with limited funds, Willys-Overland reworked the existing tooling

It was just a simple necessity that gave the Jeep the sevenslat grille!!!

FAKE NEWS!!!

FAKE NEWS gave us the Wrangler name!!!

Contrary to popular belief American Motors Corporation, AMC, the parent company of the Jeep brand from 1970 – 1987, and NOT Chrysler Corporation, created the Wrangler as the replacement for the CJ-7.  I recall at the time when Chrysler Corporation purchased Jeep in 1987 that they were “blamed” for “ruining” the CJ-7 and giving us the Wrangler.  

New vehicles are in development for several years, between 5 and 7, prior to launch, therefore Chrysler Corporation could never have pulled off a CJ-7 replacement in less than a year!

So, why did AMC drop the CJ naming?  Because of FAKE NEWS!!! Yes, FAKE NEWS existed long before the Communist, or Clinton, I mean Cable News Network (CNN).  Before CNN, we had good ole’ 60 Minutes, with that stupid stopwatch!!!

60 Minutes did a piece in December of 1980 based on rigged vehicle tests and miss-leading studies, helping to create the idea that the CJ was an unsafe vehicle.

The 60 Minutes segment was based on a report issued by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) on “the extremely hazardous tendency of the Jeep CJ utility vehicle in highway use.”  

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found during a 1981 review of the testing that Dynamic Science Incorporated performed for IIHS, used “abnormal test conditions and unrealistic maneuvers…generated by an automatic control device which…which was programmed to provide input not entirely representative of driver input”.

Several lawsuits followed, some involving the tragic loss of life, alleging that the CJ was the cause of the incident and not simply the risks associated with motor vehicle travel?!

More than one insurance company either refused to issue policies to new Jeep CJ owners or sent warnings to existing policyholders.

The CJ may have also suffered from the bad press that the completely unrelated, however still military “jeep”, M151, did justly receive due to its propensity for rollovers due to a new and unproven front/rear independent suspension system.  Because of the rollover issues, the US Military experienced with the M151, NHTSA did block the sales of the M151 for civilian use, which it had not done to the CJ-based military jeep so that certainly did not help the image of the CJ!!!

AMC began development of the Wrangler in the early 1980s making the vehicle more “user-friendly” with a lower center-of-gravity, softer ride, and added creature comforts, and the square headlights!!!

I am unsure of why the name Wrangler was chosen, however, the CJ name was killed due to FAKE NEWS, and after 30+ years, the Wrangler name has now morphed into us calling our Jeep’s TJ, JK, JL, and JT.

RESOURCES

The Liability Maze: The Impact of Liability Law on Safety and Innovation

edited by Peter W. Huber, Robert E. Litan

High Beam Off Road

It’s well known and well documented that the Jeep Wrangler comes from the factory with poor headlamps – https://www.iihs.org/ratings/vehicle/jeep/wrangler-2-door-suv/2017#headlights

While walking the vendor area of the 3rd Toledo Jeep Fest, I came across High Beam Off Road, and it looks like they have a solution!!!

High Beam Off Road offers LED lighting solutions for XJ, YJ, TJ. JK and JL!!!

All of High Beam Off Road’s products come with a Lifetime Warranty!!!

High Beam Off Road has some GREAT looking products, at GREAT prices!!!

Check out High Beam Off Road today to upgrade your Jeep’s lighting, and tell them you heard about them from sevenslats.com!!!

Cars & Coffee – May 19, 2019

I attended the first Cars & Coffee of 2019 at the site of the former Walter P. Chrysler Museum, on the FCA World Headquarters Campus.

Jeep brought out the J6, Flatbill and M-715 Five-Quarter Concepts, and they were VERY impressive!!!

The J6 was my favorite, however I don’t think that Jeep will put it into production.

The Flatbill Concept highlights the extremes that the Gladiator can be taken too!!!

The M-715 Concept looks too much like a concept to me, and not enough like a Jeep.  It certainly had a crowd around it!!!

Cars & Coffee is a regular monthly event that Chrysler has held, since they built the museum.  Unfortunately, Fiat closed the museum and turned it into offices for Maserati and Alfa Romeo.


As mentioned previously, Moparinsiders.com reported that the Chrysler Museum may be making a come back at the old Viper plant.

Click here for the complete article from moparinsiders.com

There were several nice Jeeps on display as well.

Cars & Coffee also had many GREAT looking vehicles on display!!!

What kind of Dress???

Apparently Jeep (FCA) thinks it’s a Jeep!!!  I had previously posed the question of what makes a jeep, a Jeep?  That post was met with mixed reviews, however according to autoweek.com, Jeep (FCA) seems to think that the Roxor is a Jeep!!!

Click here for the complete article from Autoweek…

Jeep (FCA) is trying to invoke the “Trade Dress” clause.  Trade dress, according to Wikipedia is:


“a legal term of art that generally refers to characteristics of the visual appearance of a product or its packaging (or even the design of a building) that signify the source of the product to consumers.[1] Trade dress is a form of intellectual property.”


For the price of a JL Rubicon, I would seriously consider going with a JL Sport, then buying a Roxor with a tow bar, and probably still be money ahead!!!

In a twist of fate, Mahindra North America was able to secure a spot on the main floor of the 2019 North American International Auto Show that opens this week!!!

I don’t know much about trade dress, however I am going to consider the Roxor to be like a Jeep, in the same vein in which I consider the HMMWV/HUMMER to be like a Jeep!!!

Ultimately, I believe that Jeep (FCA) will lose the argument, just as Jeep (DaimlerChrysler)did in 2002, as reported in the Toledo Blade.

Click here to read: “Appeals court rules in favor of GM in HUMMER grille fight”

I look forward to the Detroit Auto Show each and every year, and am especially looking forward to this years show to compare the Jeep, and the Roxor side by side!!!

See you at the show!!!

-Chris

Jeep Museum Making a Comeback?

Moparinsiders.com just reported that FCA will be re-opening a portion of the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant, now known as Conner Center, to display the vehicles from the Walter P. Chrysler Museum that was closed in 2017.

Click here for the complete article from moparinsiders.com

Chrysler did a GREAT job with the Walter P. Chrysler Museum over the years, with great representations of each brand, especially Jeep, as well as changing themed displays.

I am looking forward to 2019, and the opportunity to visit these vehicles again!!!

Meme Monday

Well here we are at Monday again, and what better way to start a week then with some memes!!!

The Gladiator is Back, and I Like It!!!

The Jeep Gladiator made it’s official debut on Wednesday at the LA Auto Show, in what I thought was an impressive presentation!!!

I had previously posted the question, “Will it Sell? – Jeep Scrambler”, and I am already wrong on one point…the Jeep pick-up was not named the Scrambler!!!

While some are upset that Jeep did not bring back the Scrambler name, I suddenly think that the Gladiator name is a good fit!!!  The Jeep Scrambler was not a huge sales success when it was new, and like many unique vehicles, has only gained in value and popularity since it has been out of production.

The Gladiator/J-10 was a purpose built pick-up, and it’s appropriate that the new Jeep pick-up bear the Gladiator name again!!!

Besides, who is really worried about the actual name that their Jeep came with?  There are countless Jeepers living in agony, needing HELP coming up with a name for their Jeep!!!

 

And if you are not obsessed with naming your Jeep, you now have a new lettering scheme to discuss the Jeep Gladiator.  The code for the Gladiator is JT, just like the CJ, YJ, TJ, JK, JL, so now we can discuss who has a JTR = Rubicon, JTS = Sahara or JTO = Overland???

Jeep gave the Gladiator a respectable payload and towing capacity, giving it a legitimate shot to compete in the mid-size truck segment.

There have been some detractors that believe there should be a two-door version of the Gladiator, however you can hardly find a full-size pick-up with only two doors still in production!!!

Speaking of doors…I have also read that Jeep should have given the Gladiator a larger rear door.  I imagine that the doors are interchangeable between the JT and JL, keeping the body tooling somewhat universal.

To me it’s more of a visual perception against the longer body-side on the Gladiator, and you don’t have the fender right there to contend with, as you do with a JL.  I do believe that Jeep made the rear door a little larger for the JL/JT, over the JK, so I do not believe the rear door shape will be a deal breaker.

I still question, “Will it Sell?” based on the MSRP pricing, considering the sticker pricing of the JL, however I understand that it is a product of the technology craze within the new vehicle market, however I still believe that an automatic transmission is too fancy technology!!!

I do like the Trail Cam feature for the Gladiator, considering the length of it!  A Trail Cam would be a nice addition to a four-door JK!

I see Jeep Gladiator owners helping the tailgate net industry make a comeback!!!  I believe that the same folks who change their grill, will also take off their tailgate for a tailgate net!!!

After seeing the reveal, and reading feedback on the Gladiator, I like it even more, and look forward to purchasing one in a couple of years when I hand my JK down to my kids!!!

-Chris