Jeep is proud of its heritage; each of its modern vehicles sports a tip-of-the-hat to the original Willys MB that started the Jeep legacy as a military service vehicle in 1941.
Now, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of that hard-working icon, Jeep has built a modern interpretation of the Willys MB, based on the modern-day Wrangler.
The military theme is strong. As with the original, the Wrangler 75th Salute concept wears an open body with a doorless design, steel wheels, military-specification tyres, and a coat of olive-drab paint.
Front and rear steel bumpers with prominent hood blocks, low-back canvas seats, a rear-mounted spare wheel, wooden bonnet blocks and commemorative bronze badges on the front guard complete the concept.
Underneath the throw-back exterior styling lies Chrysler’s throughly contemporary 3.6 litre Pentastar V6 engine, backed by a six-speed manual transmission.
“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,” Mike Manley, head of the Jeep brand said.
“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 story starts with a US Government tender for a light reconnaissance military vehicle in the opening days of World War II. Bantam Cars was first to answer the call with its so-named Blitz Buggy. Its design was chosen by the US Government, but, too small to produce the vehicle in the numbers required, the contract was awarded to Willys-Overland and Ford who refined the design and gave us the iconic car we recognise today.
From 1945 onwards civilian versions of the Willys MB, under the CJ designation were made available, with the “Jeep” trademark granted in 1950.
Unfortunately Jeep fans won’t be given the opportunity to park a 75th Salute in their own driveway with the concept slated as a one-off, Australian buyers can instead make do with the plusher Wrangler 75th Anniversary Edition.
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