The Legacy of the Willys Jeep

Arguably considered to be what actually won the Second World War for the allies, the Willys Jeep may no longer be the rugged vehicle it once was, but its legacy lives on in many of Jeep’s more modern vehicles. Articulated in the early 1940s for the military, the Jeep was synonymous during the war time, as they were cheap to manufacture and did not really have any standards of safety at the time, hence the cheap manufacture. However, in retrospect, one could easily find that the spring less Jeep have way to a new generation of rugged vehicles that were practical and easy to handle. Here is just a summary of it;


It all started in 1940, when the Willy-Overland Company produced the Willys Quad prototype vehicle for rugged use. This was eventually commissioned by the United States Army and was subsequently developed in various times during the war to come up to the image of the Jeep we know today. The Jeep of the time was built without any springs, which dampens the comfort to great levels. However, the military did not care for comfort, and only cared for rugged, low maintenance vehicles that could tread to hard terrain. As a result, so many were produced that there was a surplus at the end of the war, which allowed a great many veterans, returning from the front lines, snatch them up for bargain prices. The name of the vehicle is one such intriguing feature of the vehicle, as no one really knows how it came to being. It is widely believed that the top brass of the military called it Willys GP (General Purpose), due to the various ways it could be used, thus it is believed that ‘GP’ eventually became ‘Jeep’.


One of the major features that resulted in the success of the Jeep during the war time and after it was the way it was crafted. Designed with stability, ruggedness and practicality in mind the essence of it is still echoed in the modern models produced by the company. One such model is the Jeep Wrangler that is widely believed to be the direct descendent of its World War II ancestor. Although modified and fitted with more modern levels of comfort, such as electric seats, power windows, Air conditioning and proper suspension to name but few of the modifications, the purpose and overall design can easily be recognised to the old Willys Jeep. It really goes to show that a 70 year old design can still compete with other models too.


Made with the intention of being a utilitarian vehicle that could venture off-road and on regular tarmac, the Jeep was modified with a number of revolutionary technology over the years. Such modifications that have been implemented on the newer models are four-wheel drive, traction control and locking differentials to name but a few. As a result, modern day Jeeps are perfect for those adventurous souls out there that explore the road less travelled.

By the looks of it the legacy of the fabled Willys Jeep is still alive and kicking, even in the 21st Century. You know you have an adventurous when you have a Jeep.

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