Jeep's Greatest Hits: our favourites from its 75 years
MANY car brands have proud histories, but can any besides Jeep lay claim to helping win a war?
In 1940 the US Army helped set wheels in motion for what was to become the Jeep name, granting Willys-Overland the contract to build lightweight 4x4 vehicles for the Allied efforts in World War II.
By 1941 the Willys MB was in production and soon drafted into action in European, African and Pacific theatres of war. Ford was enlisted to help with production of the all-terrain vehicles now nicknamed "Jeep", and the two companies combined to produce a Jeep every ninety seconds. Around 700,000 had been made by war's end.
When peace broke out Jeep made its first model for the public - the CJ-2A - which was the first mass-produced 4x4 civilian vehicle.
A "history etched in mud" has followed with Jeep's timeline of rugged off-road utes, SUVs and lifestyle specials across the decades helping cement the brand as an icon of vehicles for the freedom lovers.
Here's our pick of some of Jeep's highlights from across the 75 years.
First civilian Jeep - and first ever SUV for the public - it was marketed as ideal for deliveries, on farms or in construction, as well as lifestyle pursuits. Over 200,000 were produced between 1945 and 1949.
Introduced in 1954, the CJ-5 had the longest production run of any Jeep. More than 600,000 were sold in 150 countries over 30 years. Came with anything from a 2.2-litre four-cylinder to a 5.0-litre AMC V8, while Australian market editions were even given Ford Falcon six-cylinders at Queensland's Rocklea factory. Special editions complete with wonderful 1970s graphics included the Renegade, Golden Eagle and Golden Hawk models.
The first luxury 4x4 SUV, it was also the first vehicle of its type to be offered with an auto gearbox. Credited with sparking the SUV revolution, it was more car-like than any other 4x4 when it went on sale in 1963, arriving seven years before the Range Rover.
4. SJ Cherokee
Landed in 1974 and based on the Wagoneer, it featured two-door styling, bucket seats, sports steering wheel and racing detailing to appeal to younger buyers. These original SJ Cherokees came to Australia in 1981 where they were assembled in Brisbane until 1985.
An obvious descendant of the World War II Willys MB, this nameplate legend was born in 1986 with distinctive rectangular headlights. Still in production today, thankfully now sporting round headlights once more.
6. Grand Cherokee
A landmark for family SUVs, the Grand Cherokee arrived in 1992 with driver side airbag and ABS as standard. Offered Jeep brand firsts such as Quadra-Coil suspension and revised Quadra-Trac I 4WD system, and four million were sold globally before the current version was introduced in 2011.
First ever small Jeep SUV, this 2014 crossover with retro styling was launched to capture a new generation of buyers. A city-dwelling fashion statement on one hand, but a 4x4 "Trail Rated" Trailhawk variant ensured this very modern Jeep hasn't forgotten its proud heritage.