Here's a fun new video from our car-obsessed friends at Donut Media. It shows the evolution of the iconic Jeep from its World War II roots to the forthcoming 2019 Scrambler pickup in a little over two minutes. Using illustrations and audio of Jeep engines and broadcast advertising spots, it's a fascinating look at the common traits that have persisted over more than 75 years and changing consumer preferences.
Three companies originally responded to the U.S. Army's request in 1940 for proposals to make a quarter-ton "light reconnaissance vehicle" tailored to its specs — Bantam, Ford and Willys. The video starts by showing all three early contenders — the Bantam Reconnaissance Car, Ford Pygmy and Willys MB, which was based on the Willys-Overland "Quad" prototype, named for the 4x4 system it utilized. Willys eventually won the contract in 1941 to build 16,000 revised MB models for American and Allied forces. Willys would trademark the Jeep name in 1945 with its CJ-2A, a Civilian Jeep geared toward farmers.
As the video shows, Jeep really started to diversify its body styles and colors in the 1970s and '80s under the ownership of American Motors Corp., which purchased the money-losing Jeep brand in 1970 from Kaiser-Jeep, which itself had acquired the brand from Willys in 1953. The '70s brought models like the CJ-5 Renegade and CJ-5 Laredo, and the video includes updates including the second-generation Wrangler Unlimited in 2004 and the Wrangler-based Scrambler pickup.
Chrysler purchased Jeep from American Motors in 1987, shortly after the debut of the Jeep Wrangler, and has managed to hold onto the brand and ride it to success despite its own bumpy ownership trials and tribulations since then. Despite the many owners over time, Jeep has maintained its headquarters all along in Toledo, Ohio.