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Willys finds a market
The first civilian Jeep vehicle, the CJ-2A, was produced in 1945. Willys advertisements marketed the Jeep as work vehicle for farmers and construction workers. It came with a tailgate, side-mounted spare tyre, larger headlights than the Willys MB, an external fuel cap and many more items that its military predecessors did not include. The CJ-2A was produced for four years, and in 1948 the CJ-3A was introduced. It was very similar to the previous model but featured a one piece windscreen, and retained the original L-head 4 cylinder engine used in the military MB model.
Kaiser buys Willys
M-38A1 becomes the CJ-5
Three years later in 1955, Kaiser Jeep introduced the CJ-5, a civilian version of the M-38A1. The main differences being a two piece windshield, recessed headlights and a heavier chassis in the M-38A1. Improvements in engines, axles, transmissions and seating comfort soon made the CJ-5 the ideal vehicle for the public's growing interest in off-road vehicles. A long wheelbase model was introduced and was known as a CJ-6. Apart from a longer wheelbase the CJ-6 was almost identical to the CJ-5. Jeep also introduced a forward control cab-over-engine variation to the CJ line, the FC-150 (4 cylinder engine) and FC-170 (6 cylinder engine) in 1957. They were made until 1964.
The Jeep CJ-5 had the longest production run of any Jeep vehicle, from 1955 to 1983. In the 16 years of Kaiser ownership, manufacturing plants were established in 30 countries, and Jeep vehicles were marketed in more than 150 countries.
A Slight Military Detour...
In 1981, the US Army released its specifications for the HMMWV. AM General submitted its proposal to the Army in 1982 and one year later was awarded a contract to supply 55,000 Humvees at an average price of $21,818 each. The first Humvees were delivered to the Army in 1984. A civilian version of the HMMWV, the Hummer was released in 1992 and has become something of a status symbol. Principle design features of the current model (Humvee and Hummer) include high ground clearance (16"/405mm), a powerful 6.5L V-8 engine (Detroit Diesel - 396 cubic inch), an automatic transmission and 4-wheel independent coil suspension.
AM General Corporation was sold by American Motors to the LTV Corporation in 1983. The company was sold again to the Renco Group in 1992. General Motors acquired the brand name Hummer from AM General in December 1999. GM has taken over marketing of the civilian Hummer and retained AM General to assemble the vehicle.
The Jeep TJ Wrangler, introduced in 1997, looks very similar to the CJ-7, indeed its 'retro' look is quite deliberate, but it is almost totally different mechanically. Nearly 80% of the vehicle parts are newly designed. The TJ uses 4 wheel coil suspension, similar to the Jeep Grand Cherokee, and a totally new interior, including driver and passenger SRS (Air Bags). The in-line, 6 cylinder, fuel injected, 4.0 litre (241 cubic inch) OHV engine delivers 130 kw (180 horsepower) and is also used in the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee models. The Wrangler retains several 'classic' Jeep features such as round headlights, slotted grill, a fold-down windscreen (first seen in 1940) and removable doors as well as a choice of a soft top or removable hard top. A roll bar is also standard.
Since Willys obtained the first United States Trademark Registration for the Jeep name in 1950, ownership of the Jeep trademark, which is now registered internationally, has passed from Willys-Overland to Kaiser to American Motors Corporation, and most recently, to Chrysler Corporation. Chrysler and Daimler merged in 1999 to form DaimlerChrysler. In 2007 DaimlerChrysler demerged and today Chrysler Group LLC own the Jeep brand.
In 2007, after 10 years of producing the highly popular TJ Wrangler, an all new Wrangler was introduced to replace the TJ Wrangler. The new JK Wrangler is powered by a 3.8 Litre V-6. As well as the the traditional two door design, for the first time a four door version of the Wrangler is available.
|The first civilian Jeep, a Willys CJ-2A|
The Jeep CJ-5 was produced for 30 years.
|Jeep CJ-8 (Scrambler)|
|Hummer H1, the civilian version of the military HMMWV (Humvee)|
|The YJ Wrangler had square headlights.|
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