History of the Jeep Wrangler

A Rugged Journey From Army Base to Suburbia
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A Rugged Journey From Army Base to Suburbia

While a lot of cars can credit the postwar manufacturing boom, expanded highway system, and increasing quality of American life for both their inspiration and success, none can trace their lineage to World War II as directly as the Jeep Wrangler

Though Jeep acknowledges no formal relationship between the Wrangler and the Jeep CJ it replaced, the connection is unmistakable. The Willys Jeep was used by American forces during the war, and its short wheelbase, flat, slotted grille, removable top, and fold-down windshield all became defining characteristics of the civilian version, the CJ (“Civilian Jeep”), when it was introduced in 1944. Civilians liked the concept for the same reasons soldiers did: They were utilitarian and durable, and their short wheelbase and high ground clearance made them nimble and capable where roads were bad, or nonexistent.

As sales of the rugged CJ declined in the 1980s, Jeep began developing the Wrangler, the idea being to retain the essence of CJ but make it less of a toy and more of a daily driver.

This is that story.

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