The origin of the term "jeep"[]

There are many stories about where the name "jeep" came from. These, although they make for interesting and memorable stories, are not quite accurate.

-Probably the most popular notion has it that the vehicle bore the designation "GP" (for "General Purpose"), which was phonetically slurred into the word jeep. R. Lee Ermey, on his television series Mail Call, disputes this, saying that the vehicle was designed for specific duties, was never referred to as "General Purpose," and that the name may have been derived from Ford's nomenclature referring to the vehicle as GP (G for government-use, and P to designate its 80-inch-wheelbase). "General purpose" does appear in connection with the vehicle in the WW2 TM 9-803 manual, which describes the vehicle as "... a general purpose, personnel, or cargo carrier especially adaptable for reconnaissance or command, and designated as ¼-ton 4x4 Truck", and the vehicle is designated a "GP" in TM 9-2800, Standard Military Motor Vehicles, 1 September 1943, but whether the average jeep-driving GI would have been familiar with either of these manuals is open to debate.

This version of the story may be complicated by the name of another series of vehicles with the GP designation. The Electro-Motive Division of General Motors, a maker of railroad locomotives, introduced its "General Purpose" line in 1949, using the GP tag. These locomotives are commonly referred to as Geeps, pronounced the same way as "Jeep".

-Many, including Ermey, claim that the likelier origin refers to the character Eugene the Jeep in the Thimble Theater (Popeye) comic strip. Eugene the Jeep was dog-like and could walk through walls and ceilings, climb trees, fly, and just about go anywhere it wanted; it is thought that soldiers at the time were so impressed with the new vehicle's versatility that they informally named it after the character. The character "Eugene the Jeep" was created in 1936.

-The term "jeep" was first commonly used during World War I (1914-1918) by soldiers as a slang word for new recruits and for new unproven vehicles. This is according to a history of the vehicle for an issue of the U.S. Army magazine, Quartermaster Review, which was written by Maj. E. P. Hogan. He went on to say that the slang word "jeep" had these definitions as late as the start of World War II.

"Jeep" had been used as the name of a small tractor made by Modine.

The term "jeep" would eventually be used as slang to refer to an airplane, a tractor used for hauling heavy equipment, and an autogyro. When the first models of the jeep came to Camp Holabird for tests, the vehicle did not have a name yet. Therefore the soldiers on the test project called it a jeep. Civilian engineers and test drivers who were at the camp during this time were not aware of the military slang term. They most likely were familiar with the character Eugene the Jeep and thought that Eugene was the origin of the name. The vehicle had many other nicknames at this time such as Peep and Pygmy and Blitz-Buggy, although because of the Eugene association, Jeep stuck in people's minds better than any other term.

Words of the Fighting Forces by Clinton A. Sanders, a dictionary of military slang, published in 1942, in the library at The Pentagon gives this definition:

"Jeep: A four-wheel drive car of one-half to one-and-one-half ton capacity for reconnaissance or other army duty. A term applied to the bantam-cars, and occasionally to other motor vehicles (U.S.A.) in the Air Corps, the Link Trainer; in the armored forces, the ½ ton command car. Also referred to as "any small plane, helicopter, or gadget."

Early in 1941, Willys-Overland demonstrated the vehicle's ability by having it drive up the U.S. Capitol steps, driven by Willy's test driver Irving "Red" Haussman, who had recently heard soldiers at Fort Holabird calling it a "jeep". When asked by syndicated columnist Katherine Hillyer for the Washington Daily News (or by a bystander, according to another account) what it was called, Irving answered "It's a jeep."

Katherine Hillyer's article was published on 20 February 1941 around the nation and included a picture of the vehicle with the caption:

"LAWMAKERS TAKE A RIDE- With Senator Meade, of New York, at the wheel, and Representative Thomas, of New Jersey, sitting beside him, one of the Army's new scout cars, known as "jeeps" or "quads," climbs up the Capitol steps in a demonstration yesterday. Soldiers in the rear seat for gunners were unperturbed. "

This exposure caused all other jeep references to fade, leaving the 4x4 truck with the name.

Willys-Overland Inc. was later awarded the sole privilege of owning the name "Jeep" as registered trademark, by extension, merely because it originally had offered the most powerful engine.

The Jeep Marque[]

A division of Chrysler LLC, the most recent successor company to Willys, now holds trademark status on the word "Jeep" and the distinctive 7-slot front grille design. The original 9-slot grille associated with all WW2 jeeps was designed by Ford for their GPW, and because it weighed less than the original "Slat Grille" of Willys, (an arrangement of flat bars) was incorporated into the "Standardized jeep" design.

The marque has gone through many owners, starting in 1941 with Willys, which produced the first Civilian Jeep (CJ). Willys was sold to Kaiser in 1953, which became Kaiser-Jeep in 1963. American Motors Corporation (AMC) purchased Kaiser’s money-losing Jeep operations in 1970. The utility vehicles complemented AMC’s passenger car business by sharing components, achieving volume efficiencies, as well as capitalizing on Jeep’s international and government markets. The Chrysler Corporation bought out AMC in 1987, shortly after the Jeep CJ was replaced with the AMC-designed Jeep Wrangler or YJ. Chrysler merged with Daimler-Benz in 1998 to form DaimlerChrysler and was split from Daimler less than 10 years later. Presently, Jeep is a division of privately held Chrysler LLC.

American Motors Corporation set up the first automobile-manufacturing joint venture in the People's Republic of China on January 15, 1984. The result was Beijing Jeep Corporation, Ltd., in partnership with Beijing Automobile Industry Corporation, to produce the Jeep Cherokee (XJ) in Beijing. Manufacture continued after Chrysler's buyout of AMC. This joint venture is now part of DaimlerChrysler and DaimlerChrysler China Invest Corporation. The current model is the Jeep 2500, an updated XJ Cherokee.

Jeep vehicles have "model designations" in addition to their common names. Nearly every civilian Jeep has a 'xJ' designation, though not all are as well-known as the classic CJ. The current model departed from the xJ format and is designated 'JK'

History of Jeeps[]

Historical models Historical Jeep models:

1940 Bantam Pilot- Prototype
1940 Bantam BRC-60- Prototype
1940 Willys Quad- Prototype
1940 Ford Pygmy- Prototype
1940 Budd Ford- Prototype
1941 Ford GP
1941 Willys MA
1941 Bantam BRC-40
1942 Willys MB (slat grille)
1942-1945 Willys MB (stamped grille)
1942-1945 Ford GPW
1942-1943 Ford GPA
1944 Willys MLW-1- Prototype (Never Finished)
1944 Willys MLW-2- Prototype
1944 Agrijeep CJ-1
1944-1945 CJ-2
1945-1949 CJ-2A
1946-1965 Willys Jeep Wagon
1947-1965 Willys Jeep Truck
1948-1950 VJ — Willys Jeepster
1949-1953 CJ-3A
1950 CJ-V35
1950-1955 M-38 (MC)
1950 X-98- Prototype
1950 CJ-4- Prototype
1950 CJ-4M- Prototype
1950 CJ-4MA- Prototypes
1952-1971 M38A1 (MD)
1952-1971 M38A1C
1952-1971 M38A1D
1953-1968 CJ-3B
1953 BC Bobcat- Prototype
1954-1983 CJ-5
1961-1963 Tuxedo Park Mark III
1969 Camper
1969 462
1970 Renegade I
1971 Renegade II
1972-1983 Renegade Models
1973 Super Jeep
1977-1983 Golden Eagle
1954-1964 M170
1955 USAF DJ
1955-1975 CJ-6
1955-1964 DJ-3A
Surrey Gala Package
1955-1968 CJ-3B Long- Spain
1956-1965 Jeep Forward Control
FC-160- Spain
1959-1962 M422 Mighty Mite
1959-1962 M422A1
1959-1978 M151 MUTT
M718 Ambulance
M718A1 Ambulance
1960-1968 Jeep M606
1960-1977 Jeep Rural- Brazil
1961-1975 Fleetvan
1963-1983 SJ Wagoneer
1963-1986 J-Series
Jeep Gladiator
Jeep Honcho
1964-1967 CJ-5A/CJ-6A Tuxedo Park
1965-1975 DJ-5
1965-1973 DJ-6
1966-1969 SJ Super Wagoneer
1966-1971 C101- Jeepster Commando
1972-1973 C104— Jeep Commando
1974-1983 SJ Cherokee
1967-1975 DJ-5A
1970-1972 DJ-5B
1973-1974 DJ-5C
1975-1976 DJ-5D
1976 DJ- 5E Electruck
1976-1986 CJ-7
1982 — Jamboree Limited Edition (2500 exemplar)
1977-1978 DJ-5F
1979 DJ-5G
1981-1985 CJ-8 Scrambler
1981-1985 CJ-10
1982 DJ- 5L
1984-1991 SJ Jeep Grand Wagoneer
1991 Final Edition
1984-2001 XJ Cherokee
1984-2001 — Base "SE"
1984-1988 — Chief
1984-1990 — Pioneer
1985-1992 — Laredo
1987-1992/1998-2001 — Limited
1988-2001 — Sport
1991-1992 — Briarwood
1993-1997 — Country
1996-2001 — Classic
1984-1990 XJ Wagoneer
1984-1985 — Broughwood
1984-1990 — Limited
1986-1992 MJ Comanche
1986 — Custom
1986 — X
1986 — XLS
1987-1992 — Base "SE"
1987-1990 — Chief
1987-1992 — Laredo
1987-1990 — Pioneer
1987-1992 — SporTruck
1987-1992 — Eliminator
1987-1995 Wrangler YJ
1991-1993 Renegade
1988-1995 Wrangler Long- Venezuela
1993-1998 ZJ Grand Cherokee
1993–1995 – Base "SE"
1993–1998 – Laredo
1993–1998 – Limited
1995–1997 – Orvis "Limited Edition"
1997–1998 – TSi
1998 - 5.9 Limited
1993 ZJ Jeep Grand Wagoneer
1997-2006 Wrangler TJ
2002 TJ Long
2003 TJ Rubicon
2004 TJ Unlimited
2004 — Columbia Edition
1999-2004 WJ Grand Cherokee
2002–2003 — Sport
2002–2004 — Special edition
2002–2004 — Overland
2004 — Columbia Edition
2006 - Golden Eagle Edition

Current models
The Jeep brand currently produces six models:

Jeep Wrangler JK72 — The current version of the Wrangler, released as a 2007 model.
JK74 — The long wheelbase, 4-door version of the 2007 Wrangler.
Jeep Grand Cherokee — Large family-oriented SUV.
WK — The newest Grand Cherokee, 2005-present ("WK" is the designator for the new Grand Cherokee, it is one of the few non-J-designated Jeeps).
2005–present – Laredo
2005–present – Limited
2006–present – Overland
2006–present – SRT-8
Jeep Liberty — KJ — A small SUV (replaced the Cherokee and kept the name outside North America).
Jeep Commander — XK — Newest model in the Jeep line, it is a seven passenger SUV.
Jeep Compass — A small crossover SUV based on the Dodge Caliber.
Jeep Patriot — A small crossover SUV based on the Dodge Caliber, slated to begin production for 2007 model year.

Concept vehicles
1958 DJ-3A Pickup
1970 XJ001
1970 XJ002
1971 Jeep Cowboy
1977 Jeep II
1986 Cherokee Targa
1987 Comanche Thunderchief
1989 Jeep Rubicon Wrangler
1990 Jeep JJ
1990 Jeep Freedom
1991 Jeep Wagoneer 2000
1992 Jeep Concept 1
1993 Jeep Ecco
1997 Jeep Cherokee Casablanca
1997 Jeep Wrangler Ultimate Rescue
1997 Fender Jeep Wrangler
1997 Jeep Dakar
1997 Jeep Icon
1999 Jeep Journey
2000 Jeep Cherokee Total Exposure
2000 Jeep Varsity
2000 Jeep Commander Concept
2000 Jeep Willys
2001 Jeep Willys 2
2002 Jeep Wrangler Tabasco
2002 Jeep Wrangler Patriot
2002 Jeep Wrangler Mountain Biker
2004 Jeep Treo
2004 Jeep Rescue
2004 Jeep Liberator CRD
2005 Jeep Hurricane
2005 Jeep Gladiator Concept
2005 Jeep Jeepster Concept
2005 Jeep Agressor (the Rezo)
2007 Jeep Trailhawk

Military Requirements[]

The public tender The need for a go anywhere reconnaissance vehicle was being felt by the Army since World War I and this promoted the appearance of several proposals over the years. After several tentative versions the specifications laid down by the Quartermaster Corps, on July 7, 1940, called for:

  1. A driving front axle with 2-speed transfer case including provisions for 
     disengaging the front axle drive.
  2. A body of rectangular design with afolding windshield and 3 bucket seats.
  3. Increased engine power (presumably in respect to the Belly-flopper prototype).
  4. Means for towing.
  5. 30-caliber machine gun mount.
  6. Blackout lighting.
  7. Oil-bath air cleaner.
  8. Hydraulic brakes.
  9. Full floating axles.
 10. Wheelbase of 80".
 11. Maximum height of 40".
 12. Maximum weight of 1275 lbs.
 13. Approach and departure angles of 45 and 40 degrees, respectively.
 14. Must reach 50 mph on hard surface.
 15. Special bracing for a pintle hook setup.
 16. No aluminium to be used for cylinder head.
 17. At least 4 cylinders.
 18. 8 of the 70 vehicles made had to be four-wheel-steer.

The invitation to submit bids was sent to 135 U.S. automobile manufacturers to produce 70 vehicles; the small Bantam company managed to meet the deadline delivering the pilot model in September 23 1940. Although it was 730 lbs. overweight it was judged good. Willys-Overland submitted crude sketches of their vehicle and underbid Bantam, although they could not meet the 75 day delivery period; after adding penalties for this the Bantam proposal was lower and this company received an order to produce 70 Model 60 or MKII.

Willys Overland submited two units of its pilot model, the Quad, in November 11; this had many of the features from the Bantam as did another prototype from Ford, who delivered two of its Pigmy in November 23. Both Willys-Overland and Ford were given free access to Bantam's prototype and blueprints, which goes a long way to explain the similarities.

With all three prototypes satisfactory, the Army decided to order 1500 of each for field evaluation, with deliveries to begin in early 1941; each of the prototypes would suffer alterations to remedy deficiencies brought out by the testing. The modified versions were the Bantam 40 BRC, the Willys MA and the Ford GP (G for Government, P for 80" wheelbase).

In July 1941 the War Department decided to adopt one single model; Willys was selected because it bid lower than the others but the MA had to be redesigned in view of the experience gained with the tests. The redesigned model was named MB by Willys but the contracts to manufacture the vehicle went both to Willys and Ford, where it was named GPW (the W was added to refer to the Willys motor). Meanwhile, about 1000 Bantam 40 BRCs were built for the Russian Army.