Jeep is a household name. They’re a favorite for Bullhide and other off-road enthusiasts. Jeep originated with military models used by each service of the U.S. military starting in 1940. Willys-Overland and Ford built various models. Willys held the original Jeep trademark, leading to consumer-driven models.
The first CJ (Civilian Jeep) prototype was introduced in 1944 and went through various iterations until 1986. The CJ-2 was the first full-production consumer Jeep. With a focus on farming and industrial applications, extras like a rear seat, center rear-view mirror, canvas top, heavy-duty springs and a front passenger seat (stock CJs only had a driver seat).
After Willys was sold to Kaiser in 1953, the CJ was given an overhaul. The CJ3B had a high grille and hood for the new engine as well as the option of a four-speed manual transmission. In 1986 the CJ was replaced with the Jeep Wrangler.
The Jeep DJ is a two-wheel-drive variant of the CJ. One model was used as a postal delivery vehicle. The DJ was the last light duty vehicle to have front drum brakes.
Over the years Jeep produced SJ models which were full-sized and whose wheelbase did not exceed 132 inches. These models came with two or four doors with a tread width of no more than 67 inches.
The Jeep YJ, more popularly known as Jeep Wrangler, is now a third-generation four-wheel drive off-road vehicle. First produced in 1986, several iterations of the YJ have been produced over the years including the YJ Islander, YJ Renegade, TJ and finally the JK. The JK is the modern model Wrangler that offers a short and long wheelbase, two and four doors, stability control system, and runs almost all vehicle functions under computer software control.
The XJ is better known as the Jeep Cherokee. This compact SUV was made from 1984 to 2001. It featured a lightweight unibody design, which was the first nonmilitary vehicle to have it. It’s become a real 4×4 icon.
The MJ, also known as the Jeep Comanche, was a pickup variant of the Cherokee. It was produced from 1984 to 1992 and had rear-wheel and four-wheel drive. Due to low sales, the company ceased production after only making 190,446 models.
The ZJ, Jeep Grand Cherokee, is the successor of the XJ. Keeping the unibody design, the Grand Cherokee has won 30 awards for off-road capability, luxury, safety and best in class.
The Jeep Liberty was produced from 2002 to 2012. It was the smallest of Jeep’s four-door SUVs. It was the first Jeep to use rack and pinion steering, which provides less backlash and greater feedback.
Jeep has made so many models over the years; it’s difficult to keep track of them all. What are you favorite models for some off-road fun?