No other off-road vehicle basks in a large following and widely loved as the Jeep. An icon in the world of motoring, the Jeep exudes a certain aura that draws people who love to live carefree lives. But what makes the Jeep an appealing vehicle is its rich history that deeply embedded in the value of patriotism.
Looking for a new vehicle that can navigate certain terrains without compromising its stability, the US Army initiated a bid to build such vehicle. In'40, three American motoring company were invited to bid for the contract - American Bantam Car Company, Ford Motor Company, and Willys-Overland. But Willys-Overland limited resources soon prompted the US Army to request Ford Motors to build the Jeep using the Willys-Overland design.
The finished model was coded GPW by Ford with G standing for government, P in reference to the 80 inch wheelbase, and W for the Willys-Overland car design. Hundreds of thousands of Jeeps saw action in the Second World War and some were even leased to the British and Russians under the lend-lease program. The Jeep was a multi-purpose vehicle during the war, capable of serving as a communications vehicle to a light attack vehicle when rigged with a .50 cal machine gun.
With Allied victory in the World War II, the Jeep became a symbol for freedom and victory. Photographs of infantry and their superiors posing with the Jeep helped raised the vehicle's popularity to an even higher heights. Pictures of Roosevelt, Churchill, Eisenhower, and MacArthur who posed with the Jeeps also helped in promoting the Jeep's status as the "in" vehicle.
By the time war was over, Jeep was already a household name. Capitalizing on the free publicity it got in the war, Willys-Overland began to manufacture civilian Jeeps. The public's general reaction was significantly positive. The Jeep went on to become one of the best "selling" vehicles of all time.
The Jeep eventually evolved to keep up with time. Major and minor changes were implemented. But one thing the Jeep never ditched was its familiar, rugged look.
Today, the Jeep is one of those vehicles that enjoys a very large following of people coming from varying backgrounds. As such, it is highly unlikely that the Jeep's production specifically that of the Jeep Wrangler, will come to a complete halt. For Jeep owners and enthusiast, the reason why is that so is quite simple; "It's a Jeep thing; you wouldn't understand.