When you think of the Jeep brand, there are generally two models you probably think of. Either the Cherokee or the Jeep Wrangler, and this is understandable seeing as over the years these two models have been their biggest selling vehicles. When you think about needing a rugged vehicle that can go from on road to off-road at the drop of a hat more than likely you think Jeep. The grand daddy of the Jeep brand though is the Wrangler. This is the vehicle that people identify most readily in their minds when someone talks about a Jeep. The Wrangler has been wowing drivers for 78 years, and all through its history the Wrangler has gone through some wonderful transformations. Here are 5 facts you probably didn’t know about the Jeep Wrangler
It started as a purely military vehicle
It all started in 1941 when Willys-Overland won a contract with the U.S. Military to provide a four wheel drive vehicle for the war. This was officially known as the “MB” After its success in World War 2 Willy’s developed a civilian version that could be sold in the United States. In 1945 the Willy’s-Overland CJ-2A. It had a reputation as being reliable, simple to fix, and impossible to break. The CJ-3A was put into production soon after .
It didn’t become the Wrangler until 1987
After the CJ-3, Willy’s moved on to the CJ-5 in 1953 after Kaiser motors bought the company. The CJ-5 was in production for nearly 30 years, up until 1983. This is the first generation that was officially call Jeep. In 1970 American Motors Corporation bought Kaiser-Jeep but the CJ-5 lived on until the 80s
The Golden Eagle was the Last CJ Model
In 1976 Jeep released the CJ-7, nick named the Golden Eagle; it was larger than the CJ-5 and offered Improved on Road Maneuvers. It offered the first automatic transmission in a Jeep, a roof and metal doors.
The First Wrangler Was Produced in 1987
The Wrangler YJ was officially produced in 1987. It was built to be a tough off road bare bones vehicle like it predecessors, but with on road performance in mind. It used a wider track base to improve handling. Over the next few years, Chrysler would but American Motors and new features like seat belts and anti-lock brakes were added to the YJ it was meant to be the civilized off-roader.
There was no 1996 Model
The original wrangler was produced up until 1995. Jeep took a year off from producing their popular Wrangler to make some much needed improvements. First they updated the square headlights to the more updated round lights. The New TJ model was the first one to go to a coil spring suspension from the leaf spring style it had previously for a smoother ride.
The Wrangler has had a long and storied history as one of the most unique vehicles in history. Check one out for yourself and see why they’ve been so popular for almost a century.