As with the Wrangler pickup and four door models, Jeep is once again teasing the public by producing a concept vehicle with similar looks to the original military model of WWII. This “one off” vehicle rolled down the Toledo assembly line on the approximate 75 year anniversary date of July 15, 2016. Like the versions from WWII, it’s made of the same material, unobtainium.
Video: Rolling Off The Assembly Line
In the two videos below, you can see the concept Wrangler roll off the assembly line and get met with thunderous applause from the factory works.
Video courtesy of DriveMag
In the second video, we get to hear from some of the visionaries of this project who made this concept become a reality. Hear what they have to say below!
Video courtesy of YouCar
Detroit Controlled Bringing WWII Vehicles Back to the US
What’s that you say? I see old flat fender military models all of the time. Although this is true, the Jeep models of WWII were once shoved off the sides of ships returning from the war. As it turns out, Detroit made a pact with the government that military vehicles would fill the factories if they were not allowed to compete with civilian production after the war.
As a result, many were pushed off the decks of ships rather than returned to the good old USA where they were made. There were Jeeps that made it back to serve on military bases. These, along with those left overseas are the ones that were eventually made available for purchase to the public long after the embargo subsided.
Jeep Prevailed and Endured
As a compromise to the military pact, Willys actually, made a civilian model available to the public. The CJ, or Civilian Jeep was based on the MB or Military version B. Soldiers, hunters, ranchers, farmers, and outdoor enthusiasts snatched the CJ up like crazy.
Many of these purchasers were ex-military and had fallen in love with the Jeep and its capabilities while serving. Others just were sick of converting cars for utility use or wanted more than the limitations of the pickup trucks that were mostly two wheel drive.
Original MB Versus Recent Concept Wrangler
The ruggedness and utilitarian look of the first Jeeps remained although the Jeep transitioned with time and technology. The “one off” Wrangler model that honors the 75 year anniversary bridges the gap between the two eras. The current Wrangler design has retained the same basic shape, vertical grill, round headlights, and solid axles.
The new Jeep features a coil spring suspension that replaced the original leaf setup. Other improvements include the six-speed manual transmission powered by a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine with electronic control and fuel injection. The original Jeep sported an inline 4 cylinder and a 3 speed manual with the traditional point style ignition. Open knuckle front ends replaced the original closed knuckle design and disk brakes now offer way more stopping power than the drum style of the past.
Jeep’s recent Wrangler model did follow a militaristic look with olive drab paint, smooth military rims wrapped in non-directional tires, and canvas seats. The doors, roll bar, and top have all been removed to resemble the easy access, exiting, and entering that enabled fast military response by our troops. Incidentally, non-directional tires may have worked to provide smooth road driving and off-road traction during a time where 45 MPH was the average top vehicle speed and dirt roads dominated.
However in this era of higher speeds and paved roads, one might desire water channeling in order to avoid hydroplaning. Don’t expect these tires to be a part of the package simply because of the safety risk. If you are a tire company that is reading this, smell the opportunity for a tread design with the marketing potential of the Goodyear Wrangler. (Hint, hint. PS, I write patents in addition to automobile articles.)
Like its grandfather, the concept military based Wrangler has text and symbol markings. The “Invasion Star” graces the hood although some speculation on orientation exists. The star points backwards towards the cab where some may argue that it should face forward as an indication to aircraft of convoy travel direction.
“419” the Toledo area code along with the date of production “2016070515” are other text markings that give the concept Wrangler even more militaristic appeal.
Availability? Not Likely in the Near Future
It remains to be seen if Jeep will go into production with the military version. No doubt it has appeal to those who served or had GI Joe toys in their youth. Timing for this vehicle indicates Jeep has messed up a bit as it will no doubt ride the Wrangler pickup intro for a while. When that trend subsides, perhaps Jeep will get the message that this military Wrangler version does have market potential.
It would benefit them to introduce it worldwide and flood world markets like foreign manufacturers currently do in America. After all, the world had no issue with military Jeeps showing up on their shores 75 years ago. Why should it be a problem now? It would be an excellent reminder of those who made a sacrifice for the freedom of many a long, long time ago.
It would be interesting to see the 2018 Wrangler JL make this concept a reality, maybe even with the 4 cylinder turbo Hurricane engine. But for now, we’ll just have to day dream about it and pester Jeep.
What are your thoughts on this concept? Would you crawl from beach to beach in it or pass it up for your standard Wrangler? Comment below and let us know!
Authored by: Scott Deuty