01.27.17 - WW2 Willys Jeep

Not every vehicle on the market can track its roots back as far as World War II, but the Jeep Wrangler certainly can. This is a vehicle that was originally built to be the troop carrying machine of the American military as they fought against the foes in Europe. The rough terrain and battle blown landscapes of Europe caused a need for a vehicle that could easily handle the challenges presented when going from one battlefield to another with a short wheelbase and high ground clearance that could be trusted to take care of business wherever this vehicle was called upon.

What made the Willys GP the right choice on the battlefields and through the varied terrain in Europe? This vehicle offered the wheelbase that wouldn’t get stuck with exceptional entry and exit angles, it rode on large inflated tires with deep treads to be able to trudge through the mud, sand and snow found in Europe and it offered the ground clearance with a wide footprint that made it nearly unstoppable. This vehicle was a huge part of the overall success of the American troops in the war because they could get where they needed to go with ease.

Once the war was over, Willys needed to present this vehicle to the American public as a viable option for something they could use wherever needed. At the time, the most present aspect of the American landscape and lifestyle was the farming industry. With more vast farming land than any other single country in the world many of the troops returning from war were going back to the family farms and would need a great way to handle the job. The newly named Willys Jeep would get the job done as an alternative to a tractor, making it possible to have this one vehicle for the fields and the roads.

Farming wasn’t the only industry that was able to benefit from the versatility of the Jeep. This vehicle could be used for a variety of uses where things had to be carried such as large water tanks for firefighting in remote locations, for the National Parks Service and the many locations where rangers would need the Jeep to move around their parks with ease. The Jeep hadn’t caught on as a recreational vehicle at this point and was still considered mostly a military vehicle that could have some private applications.

It seems the work of Willys-Overland to bring the Jeep to the public eye and present this vehicle as the one that offered everything we needed it for worked out great. The Jeep not only became its own name and the Wrangler was the renamed model that originally started out as the Willys GP, but this brand and this model have experienced immense success over the years. Whether farmers were buying the Jeep for the purpose of getting the job done on the family farm or other professionals found a way to make the Jeep work for them, this vehicle was gaining attention with many of the ads found in the video below.

Remember that ads such as the one linked here were originally shown before movies when we didn’t have previews for upcoming movies. Once television took hold and shorter commercials were needed, Jeep was all too happy to oblige, but this video from the 1950s shows you how companies would advertise several decades ago. This type of advertising and the familiarity some of the troops who had fought overseas helped to spurn the immense success this vehicle experienced and continues to experience to this day.