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Jeep History: An American Brand Conceived For War

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Jeep Wrangler-75th Anniversary

Today, Jeep is a globally well-known automobile brand that has its SUVs made by FCA, FIAT Chrysler Automobiles. The used-to-be Chrysler Corporation acquired the Jeep brand, as well as its remaining assets, in the 1980s from American Motors Corporation (AMC). Although it has made trucks in the past, the Jeep line nowadays consists solely of off-road and sport-utility vehicles, at least for meantime.

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1940-bantam-jeep-brc

1940 Bantam BRC — the first “Jeep”

The Beginning

When it became obvious that the U.S was going to be part of World War 2, particularly the war in Europe, in the 1930s, the military’s branches began to look at material preparations. They would need many transport vehicles.

When, in early 1940, the US Army got ahold of over 130 companies and asked them if they wanted to build a prototype of a compact, 4WD reconnaissance vehicle for war duty, only two companies responded to the request: Willys-Overland and The American Bantam Company. A working prototype needed to be delivered within less than 50 days for those companies who wanted to follow through with the request, which explains why the Army didn’t get many responses.

Prototypes

The army refused Willys’ request for more time to come up with a prototype. Meanwhile, the broke American Bantam Car Company, who had no engineers left on their staff, got Karl Probst, an ex-Bantam consultant to help with their prototype.

After rejecting Bantam’s initial request, Probst responded to a direct Army request and started work. Working at a fast pace, Probst laid out plans for the Bantam prototype, known as the BRC (Bantam Reconnaissance Car) in just two days. This was an unbelievable feat, .

Although Bantam’s prototype met almost all requirements, the Army felt that the company (Bantam himself) was too small to supply the number of vehicles it wanted, so it gave the Bantam design to Willys and Ford, asking them make any modifications they deemed necessary. The resulting Ford “Pygmy” and Willys “Quad” prototypes looked similar to the Bantam BRC prototype.

Jeep World War 2

Jeep Building

Getting back to the Jeep story, incredible as it seems, 1500 of each of the three Jeep prototypes were manufactured and tested out in the field. Billed the Model MB, the Willys version of the vehicle would become the main Jeep design and was built at a plant in Toledo, Ohio. 

Ford was chosen as the second supplier but was asked by the army to build their Jeeps to the Willys’ design. American Bantam, the first Jeep’s makers, spent the rest of the war building heavy-duty trailers for the Army. The MB Jeeps became the light four-wheel drive vehicle not just for the U.S Army, but for its Allies as well.

What’s interesting is that none of the original manufacturers used the “Jeep” term to designate their vehicles. Although there is some , a number of historians acknowledge that it was a slang that people applied to the vehicle’s military name, “GP (General Purpose) Vehicle.” This was likely because the tendency to turn military acronyms into words is common.

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Jeep

2020 Jeep Wrangler Willys, Black & Tan Editions Bring Some Style

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New Jeep Wrangler Willys edition

The special edition Wranglers feature new cosmetic trim and extra standard equipment.

Jeep has unveiled two new special edition versions of the popular Jeep Wrangler, namely the throwback Willys and the Black & Tan.

Both models are based on the Wrangler Sport S, but each features unique touches that give them a distinct look.

“Wrangler Willys harkens back to the original Jeep while Wrangler Black & Tan offers a unique look with a tan top.” Jim Morrison, head of the Jeep brand in North America, stated. “We are proud that both new models will add to the wide appeal Jeep Wrangler already offers.”

New Jeep Wrangler Willys edition, rear

2020 Jeep Wrangler Willys edition pays tribute to the OG World War 2 Jeeps

2020 Jeep Wrangler Willys

Paying homage to the World War II Jeep, the Wrangler Willys edition makes a return with a limited-slip rear differential, Rubicon rock rails and shocks, heavy-duty brakes, and 32-inch Firestone mud terrain tires.

A Willys hood decal, unique black 17-inch aluminum wheels with gray pad print, and a gloss black sport grille help it stand out from the other Wrangler models. Buyers will be able to choose from 10 colors: Black, Granite Crystal, Sting Gray, Billet, Ocean Blue, Firecracker Red, Punk’n, Hellayella, Mojito! and White.

Pricing for the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Willys starts at $33,740 for the two-door model and $37,240 for the four-door version.

new jeep wrangler black tan edition, front angle

The 2020 Jeep Wrangler Black & Tan edition focuses more on eye-catching looks.

2020 Jeep Wrangler Black & Tan

Like the Willys, the Black & Tan also aims to achieve a heritage look with 17-inch Machine Granite wheels wrapped in all-terrain tires, a Low Gloss badging and a tan soft top.

Designers gave the interior a Wizard Black painted instrument panel that nicely contrasts the Heritage Tan cloth seats.

The 2020 Jeep Wrangler Black & Tan is available in all the Wrangler’s colors and has a starting price of $32,940 for the two-door model and $36,440 for the four-door version.

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Advice

5 Tips For Wheeling Off-Road With Your Jeep

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New Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, Offroad

It’s important to be prepared for your first four-wheeled outdoor adventure.

Jeep has established a off-road legacy from decades of engineering world-class vehicles capable of handling the toughest terrain and environments possible. Whether you are driving a base stock Jeep fresh off the line or fully upgraded rig, there is hardly any place a trail-rated Jeep can’t get you.

But going on your first off-road outing can be a bit intimidating for anyone. There is a lot to learn and a lot that can happen, so we have put together some handy tips to help you experience your Jeep’s off-road capabilities to its fullest!

1. Know Some Off-Road Terms and Jargon

It’s easy to get lost in the sea of jargon used by enthusiasts if you are new to the world of off-roading. You don’t have to be walking dictionary, but being familiar with the most common off-road terms and jargon can help you become more at home with any off-reading community you might join. Here is a list of many terms to take with your on your adventure.

2. Plan Ahead and Know your Vehicle

Not all trail-rated Jeeps are the same, and it especially important to know how much ground clearance your vehicle has and the capabilities of its tires. A stock Jeep handles trails well, but it’s a good idea to invest in some All-Terrain tires to optimally mitigate rough terrain and potential accidents.

Plan out your adventures and use a map to keep track of your progress while out on the trail. recommends letting friends and family know when and where you are going out on your adventure. An emergency kit packed with essentials is a must, so bring one along. You just never know what will happen while out on a trail.

3. Drive with a Friend or Family Member

Exploring and enjoying the outdoors in a Jeep or any other 4X4 vehicle can be fun and exciting, especially when a friend or family member is along for the ride. Having a companion not only makes the trek more enjoyable, but it also makes it much safer.

Having an extra person in the vehicle can be invaluable. He or she can help spot and guide you through a difficult piece of terrain, relaying information about how your Jeep is positioned and where you can go. It would be even better if said person has off-roading experience.

4. Take it Slow and Steady

Wheeling is all about enjoying the outdoors and pushing you and your vehicle’s driving capabilities to the limits, but it’s important to take your time on the trail and especially with obstacles. Doing so will help prevent accidents and reduce the wear and tear on your Jeep.

Taking a short snack or water break will revitalize your body and mind, helping you stay focused and relaxed. Maintain steady momentum forward to reduce the risk of getting stuck or waylaid by muddy / slippery terrain. Traction is key in the world of off-roading, so slow steady speeds helps ensure that three wheels are on the ground and you and your co-pilot/spotter have time to properly navigate obstacles.

5. Join a Jeep Club

If you are looking for off-road trails to traverse, there is a good chance that the Jeep Clubs in your area have some adventures planned. In addition to providing a welcoming atmosphere for everyone from all walks of life, experienced off-road clubs offer a lot of knowledge on how to properly wheel. Many clubs even offer beginner’s courses and information sessions.

To find a Jeep Club, simply do an online search to see what clubs are in your surrounding area. Many of them have active forum sites with posted event dates to help you reach out and introduce yourself!

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Auto Tech

Fiat Chrysler Unconnect Now Lets You Order Pizza Using Your Car

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Chrysler Jeep Ram UConnect market

Uconnect has consistently been one of the best infotainment system on the market, and Uconnect Market will make it even better.

Not to be outdone by General Motors, which has been a dominant force when it comes to offering in-car commerce, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has has given its Unconnect infotainment system a new Market platform that treats Jeep, RAM, Chrysler, and Dodge owners to most of the same convenience features enjoyed by owners of GM vehicles.

Unconnect Market allows a variety of third-party companies to offer connected buying services directly through the infotainment system. With it, you will be able to order and pay for food, reserve a table at a restaurant, fill your tank at pump-and-pay gas locations, locate and pay for nearby parking, and even schedule service appointments.

Adding a credit card when setting up a Uconnect Market account gives you authorized card-free fuel fill-ups at participating Shell stations.

The Unconnect Market platform rolls out via an over-the-air (OTA) update in the second half of 2019 for current 2019 model year or newer Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram vehicles equipped with Fiat Chrysler’s 8.4-inch touchscreen.

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