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For the past week I have been driving a Jeep Cherokee Overland. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on it soon enough, but until then I wanted to share something about the brand with you. Some of you may know that Jeeps were originally developed for military use. It was just over 75 years ago, on July 15, 1941, that the Willys-Overland Motor Co. was awarded the U.S. government contract to build the first Willys MB, a vehicle that the world came to know as the Jeep. A few days ago, Jeep launched a unique commemorative Wrangler 75th Salute concept vehicle in celebration of the Jeep® brand’s history and legendary military heritage.
The Jeep Wrangler 75th Salute concept vehicle is built on the same assembly line that has produced the Wrangler in Toledo, Ohio, for decades. The vehicle, based on the Wrangler Sport model, is powered by a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine and mated to a six-speed manual transmission. The “function over form” of the original Jeep military service vehicles is evident in this unique concept vehicle. The Wrangler 75th Salute concept – a modern interpretation of the Willys MB – is based on a two-door Wrangler Sport and highlights rugged functionality with heritage design cues, including the absence of B-pillars and doors.
The exterior features an olive-drab color scheme that was first seen on military vehicles 75 years ago and is present throughout the Wrangler 75th Salute concept. Features, including 16-inch steel wheels wrapped in 32-inch military non-directional tires, hood latches, a rear-mounted spare tire, steel front and rear bumpers with tow hooks and low back canvas seats, echo the original military Jeep vehicles. Other features include custom wood hood blocks and side mirrors, as well as bronze commemorative fender badges.
“We are creating this unique Jeep Wrangler 75th Salute concept vehicle in celebration of the brand’s legendary history, and to demonstrate that 75 years later, today’s iconic Jeep Wrangler is instantly recognizable and clearly connected to the original Willys MB,” said Mike Manley, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA Global. “Since they were first produced in 1941, Jeep vehicles have been the authentic benchmark for off-road capability, having mastered more terrain, led more adventures and provided drivers more freedom than any other vehicle before or since.”
The Jeep vehicle lineup consists of the Cherokee, Compass, Grand Cherokee, Patriot, Renegade, Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited. To meet consumer demand around the world, all Jeep models sold outside North America are available in both left and right-hand drive configurations and with gasoline and diesel powertrain options.