Go Anywhere. Do Anything.
From the beaches of Normandy to the beaches of Southern California, the Jeep is an American icon that simply can't be confused with any other vehicle on the road. A symbol of freedom and adventure for everyone from GIs to roadtrippers, Jeep gave America its very first SUV and put the off-road experience within the grasp of the average driver. For 75 years, Jeep has updated, upgraded, and expanded its line over and over again. The result: three-quarters of a century worth of unique makes and models, all of which are somebody's favorite.
In 1940, America was not yet involved directly in World War II, but military planners expected to soon be fighting overseas. To succeed as a mobile fighting force, they would need a simple, durable, capable, and dependable vehicle that could go anywhere, do anything (Jeep's trademarked motto) and be easy to repair and maintain. Willys-Overland Motors submitted a small, four-wheel drive prototype — two were made — that exceeded expectations and demolished the competitor prototypes by Ford and Bantam. It was the Willys Quad, the godfather of all Jeeps to come.
When someone says "Army Jeep," it's the Willys MB that comes to mind. Although Willys originally made an overweight and out-of-spec MA model, it was the MB that the Army adopted as its vehicle of choice and that GIs fell in love with on the front. Fast, rugged, and reliable, the MB was light enough to fit inside gliders used in the D-Day invasion but heavy enough to be fitted with 30- and 50-caliber machine guns.
CJ-2A | 1945-1949
After the war was won, the very first Jeep brand vehicle was marketed to farmers back home. Between 1945-49, the Civilian Jeep (CJ) was offered with a host of upgrades over the military's MB, selling quickly even though cheap MBs were available on the surplus market. Able to do the work of two heavy draft horses for 10 hours a day without overheating, the rugged and powerful CJ-2A revolutionized farming. At the start of production in 1945, 4 million of America's 5.5 million farmers owned neither a tractor nor a truck, but thanks to Jeep, the era of the farm workhorse would soon be history.
Willys Wagon | 1946-1965
Station wagons were nothing new by the postwar years, but the "woodies" of old were rendered instant relics with the arrival of the Jeep Station Wagon in 1946. The first all-steel station wagon in U.S. history, the Willys Wagon was a working car that could carry 4x8 plywood sheets vertically instead of just horizontally like the station wagons of old. Unlike its predecessors, it didn't weather, peel, or squeak, and its revolutionary fold-down hatch is credited with making the tailgate party part of American leisure time.
Willys-Overland Truck | 1947-1965
The Willys-Overland Truck was the first Jeep vehicle to deviate from the standard short wheelbase, flat fender style. Available in two- or four-wheel drive, it was 100 percent truck. Initially introduced as a farming vehicle, the truck endured with only minor changes for nearly two decades.
Jeepster (VJ) | 1948-1951
For three short years starting in 1948, Jeep produced its unique version of a sports car. The Jeepster convertible is a hot collector's item now, but the Jeepster's tepid performance and a then astronomically high price tag of $1,900 made mass sales sluggish. The now-dated Jeepster ad campaign pitched the underpowered car as perfect for new college grads and women drivers.
CJ-3A | 1949-1953
The CJ-3A is widely considered to be the first true personal recreational vehicle. Although it was similar to its predecessors, several features made it stand out as the harbinger of a new era for Jeep. Among them were dual, bottom-mounted windshield wipers and, most notably, the now-familiar one-piece windshield.
CJ-5 | 1955-1983
The CJ-5 ushered in the era of the modern-looking Jeep, with rounded body contours and softer styling lines. But the military models during the Korean War had more than just upgraded looks. The CJ-5 was better by every metric, including dramatically improved comfort, off-road capability, versatility, and strength. The CJ-5 holds the title of the longest production run of any Jeep vehicle.
JEEP FC-150 | 1957-1965
Putting the cab over the engine in the iconic Jeep FC eliminated the need for a longer chassis, made a truck as maneuverable as the Jeep CJ-5 it was built on, and gave it the same four-wheel drive capability. Unusually low beds also made the FCs (for “Forward Control”) easy to load and unload, though that center of gravity and cab positioning made high speeds ill-advised.
FLEETVAN | 1961-1965
Still recognizable in postal delivery and ice-cream trucks roving cities everywhere, the two-wheel drive Fleetvan was efficient, rugged, maneuverable, and a good base for modifications based on what job needed to be done, including sliding doors that were easy to enter from either side and a U.S. Post Office model that let deliverers drive standing up.
Wagoneer (SJ)/Super Wagoneer | 1963-1991 / 1966-1969
The 1960s saw the arrival of the first true sport utility vehicle, a machine that offered passenger car comfort and style with the power and off-road capability of four-wheel drive: the Jeep Wagoneer, with design and functionality that defined the Senior Jeep (SJ) line. The ultra-luxe Super Wagoneer was the forerunner of the modern luxury SUV.
Gladiator / J-Series | 1963-1987
The Gladiator J-Series truck line ran for nearly a quarter century, although the Gladiator name was dropped in 1971, and was the precursor to souped-up models such as the Jeep J-2000, J-3000, and J-4000 Series. Sharing the same powertrain, front-end styling, and platform as the Wagoneer, the Gladiator signaled the end of the Willys-Overland Truck, which was first introduced in 1947.
Jeepster Commando (C101/C104) | 1967-1973
By the late 1960s, the leisure vehicle craze was in full force, and Jeep launched the Jeepster Commando as an answer to the Land Cruiser and Bronco. It was the first compact four-wheel-drive vehicle with an automatic transmission, and the original C101 was available in four body styles: power-top convertible, station wagon, pickup, and roadster.
Cherokee | 1975-1983
In 1975, the vaunted Wagoneer was reimagined as a sporty, highly detailed adventure vehicle marketed to America's restless youth and the wanderlust that consumed them. It was theJeep Cherokee, the recreation vehicle that turned legions of Americans into Jeep loyalists and gobbled up awards and accolades reserved for only the best four-wheel-drive vehicles. Two- and four-door versions would eventually become available, as would a variety of different packages.
CJ-7 Golden Eagle | 1970s
The Golden Eagle is one of the most famous and recognizable Jeeps in history, but only partially because of upgrades such as big tires, a Levi's Soft Top, and a rear-mounted spare. The main reason for the Golden Eagle's celebrity can be traced to "The Dukes of Hazzard" television show, in which sex symbol Daisy Duke drove a Golden Eagle named Dixie.
Wagoneer Limited | 1978-1979
The iconic vehicle that would come to be known as the Grand Wagoneer was unveiled in 1978 as the Wagoneer Limited. It carried the mantle of its predecessor the Super Wagoneer and was, at the time, the most luxurious four-wheel drive vehicle ever conceived. Road and Truck magazine famously dubbed it "The Champagne of 4-wheel-drives.”
CJ-8 Scrambler | 1981-1985
The CJ-8 Scrambler was either a short pickup truck or a long CJ-7, depending on who you ask. The open-cab model, which was available in soft or hard top, was not particularly popular during its run. Today, however, it's coveted among off-roaders and collectors.
Cherokee (XJ) | 1984-2001
The small SUV craze can be traced to 1984 and the arrival of the Cherokee XJ, after Jeep brass realized the compact utility vehicle was where the future was heading. Shorter, lighter, and narrower than the Wagoneer, the Cherokee — which would eventually offer 14 trim models — was a game changer. It swept all three top 4x4 magazine awards, converted legions of car drivers into SUV enthusiasts, and endured through the beginning of the new millennium.
Comanche (MJ) | 1986-1992
Just as the Cherokee XJ slimmed down the SUVs of the era, the Comanche arrived around the same time as a smaller, slimmer pickup truck. Like the Cherokee XJ, it contained a uniframe buildunique among pickups of the era. Although it signaled the dawn of a new generation of Jeep trucks, the Comanche also spelled the end of a different era: It was lights out for the original Jeep pickup line, which began four decades earlier in 1947.
Wrangler (YJ) | 1987-1996
The 1947 pickup lineage wasn't the only branch on the Jeep family tree to come to an end in the 1980s. In 1987, the long-lived and highly celebrated CJ line gave its curtain call to make way for the Wrangler YJ. It was the first and last Jeep of its kind to feature square headlights, and although it looked more like the CJ-7, it actually had more in common mechanically with the Cherokee.
Grand Cherokee (ZJ) | 1993-1995
On Jan. 7, 1992, the first Jeep Grand Cherokee ZJ made a dramatic appearance at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, crashing through the convention center glass. Grabbing many of the world's most coveted auto awards, the Jeep Grand Cherokee ushered in the era of the modern SUV and offered a model other automakers would try to copy. Like the Comanche MJ and Wrangler YJ before it, the Grand Cherokee ZJ was a legend killer — the celebrated Wagoneer had officially been replaced as Jeep's midsize luxury SUV.
Wrangler TJ | 1997-2006
Although the looks of the new-and-improved Wrangler TJ were a throwback to the celebrated CJ-7, looks can be deceiving. Eighty percent of the new Wrangler's parts were redesigned completely. Not since the original Willys Quad prototype morphed into the MB had any Jeep undergone such a dramatic and thorough overhaul.
Wrangler Rubicon | 2003-present
Named in honor of the legendary Rubicon Trail in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, theWrangler Rubicon was touted as the most capable Wrangler ever built — and some diehard fans say the best looking. The next year, the Wrangler Unlimited was unveiled; in 2005, Jeep debuted the Rubicon Unlimited, which combined the best of both upgraded models.
Commander XK | 2006-2010
In 2006, the Jeep grew up — and it grew up big. That year, theCommander XK became the first trail-rated, seven-passenger, 4x4 vehicle in Jeep history. Boxy and tall with an upright windshield, the behemoth is related to the Grand Cherokee, but instantly recognizable as the Commander.