Then and Now: Jeep Wrangler

Everybody loves the iconic Jeep Wrangler! It’s about as American as apple pie and the Fourth of July, as the saying goes. But the vehicle plays a larger role in American history than some may think. Not only is the Wrangler great for beach parties, off-roading, and Sunday drives; it played a crucial role in WWII! The Jeep was originally designed as a troop carrier and light utility vehicle. The Willys-Overland design eventually won favor with the troops and the War Department and was chosen over Bantam and Ford troop carriers. Some design elements of the other vehicles were incorporated, but the main mechanics and chassis were unchanged. Eventually, the Willys MB came to be known as “Jeep” by the troops that used it. Some say that jeep was a term, used by the military mechanics, for unproven vehicles. Others think that it comes from Eugene the Jeep, a character from Popeye at the time. One other idea is that the name comes from the Ford vehicle of the time, the GP (GeeP). Either way, the name has stuck to this day.

The modern Jeep Wrangler is a much different beast than its WWII ancestor, but still a very capable and well liked vehicle. It is still a four-wheel drive vehicle designed for off-road use. It is still produced by an American company and most are still built in Toledo, Ohio. But the modern Jeep Wrangler is just as comfortable on the road as it is off! It has become an SUV just as capable of cruising along a scenic highway as it is climbing the trails in places like Moab, Utah. With the 3.5 liter Pentastar V-6, it has 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque to put through its selectable 4- or 2-wheel drive system. If you like the modern incarnation of the Jeep, stop by Cumberland Chrysler Center to see one online or in person!


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