The Jeep's History


Gear Patrol has an informative long-read on the history of the general purpose vehicle, known as the GP and quickly dubbed "the jeep." Designed by the American Bantam Car Company for the US Army and produced by Willys-Overland (which would later become Jeep), it not only helped win World War II, it wrote the recipe for every Sport Utility vehicle that followed.


"The vehicle had to be four-wheel-drive; it must be powered by an engine with at least 85 ft-lbs of torque; have a wheelbase of 75" or less and a track width of 47" or less; it must carry a 660 pound payload and tip the scales at a weight that would send Colin Chapman into convulsions: 1,300 lbs. With only 49 days given to develop a prototype and the 75 following to create a fleet of 70 for testing, the list of bidders was small—there were only two."

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It's my truck, my off road vehicle, my 4-wheeler, my ragtop and everyday car all in one.”