Jeep Wrangler 75th Salute

Jeep recently unveiled the Wrangler 75th Salute concept, which celebrates the company’s brand history and military heritage. Built on the 75th anniversary of the date the Willys-Overland Motor Company was awarded the US government contract to build the first Willys MB (aka the Willys Jeep), the concept features some design cues that were first seen on original Jeep military vehicles.

Based on the Wrangler Sport, the concept is powered by a 3.6 litre Pentastar V6 engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. To recreate the Willys Jeep look, the concept has its doors and B-pillars removed, while steel bumpers with tow hooks have been added.

Elsewhere, there are now low-back canvas seats, exterior hood latches, a rear-mounted spare tyre and 16-inch steel wheels with 32-inch military off-road tyres. Finishing touches include a coat of military-spec olive drab paint and bronze commemorative fender badges.

For a bit of history, in July 1940, the US military called for vehicle to serve as a four-wheel drive “light reconnaissance vehicle.” It invited 135 manufacturers to submit their designs, but only two – Willys-Overland and American Bantam Car Manufacturing Company – responded initially. Ford soon put its hat into the ring to contest for the coveted military contract.

Further testing and evaluation led to the US Army’s selection of the Willys vehicle as the standard. While it is officially known as the Willys Quad, the world came to know it as the Jeep. In 1941, the Willys MB began rolling off the assembly line, destined for the battlefield, and the rest they say, is history.

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