70 Years of jeep: the evolution of the original

70 Years of jeep: the evolution of the original

Frankfurt, 20. July 2011 – since the soft suvs have been around, it has been somewhat forgotten, but for decades, proper off-road vehicles were hauling in the german "jeep". Even if you bought the bonsai copy suzuki LJ, you still had a "jeep". Jeep was as universal a term as "tempo" or "eagle owl", even if they do not belong here at all. Now the real jeep turns 70, time to open the picture album.


The real jeep was developed 70 years ago for the US military. It was used by the US army as a maneuverable all-purpose vehicle in world war II. A total of 360.000 vehicles of the type "willys MB" were built until 1945 and brought to europe for the american gis. Because the return transport after the end of the war was too expensive, many vehicles remained in europe. The europeans then used the willys MB as a tractor and space machine for reconstruction. The military service vehicle was thus an important forerunner for other civilian off-roaders and suvs – the name jeep developed into an umberbegriff for off-road vehicles in germany.

Two vehicles were available

As early as 1938, the U.S. Army was looking for a replacement for the motorcycles with sidecars and ford model T used until then. The new vehicle had to be light, maneuverable and robust. In addition, the military wanted a vehicle with all-wheel drive and off-road reduction that could carry a payload of at least 250 kilograms. The wartime rush gave the 135 vehicle manufacturers contacted by the U.S. Military only 49 days to deliver a prototype. After a further 26 days, 70 test vehicles were to be ready. Two manufacturers took up the challenge – american bantam and willys-overland.

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