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Jeep

Jeep

United States of America United States of America (1941 - present)
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History


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History

There are many theories around the origin of the “jeep” word, but the most believed one is that the early off-road vehicles were named “GP” – standing for ‘Governmental Purposes’ or ‘General Purpose’ – and eventually the word got phonetically slurred in pronunciation until it became ‘jeep’.

Another popular theory tells that the word ‘jeep’ came from a cartoon character from Popeye cartoons that “could go anywhere”; it was called ‘Eugene the Jeep’.

In fact, ‘jeep’ was also used in slang vocabulary to designate a certain number of things, especially amongst the military, like a nickname. So when the 4x4 vehicles arrived to be tested in field, the soldiers named it ‘jeep’ because it still didn’t have a proper name.

At that time, the jeeps were also nicknamed with many other words, like Blitz-Buggy, Peep and Pygmy.
During World War II, these would become the US Army’s most used and indispensable light vehicles with four-wheel drive system, as well as for almost all military forces in the world.

In 1941 the American carmaker Willys-OverlandWillys-OverlandWillys-OverlandUnited States of America, 1912 > 19538 models
36 photos
signed a contract to start building the 4x4 vehicles in mass quantities. The company then began producing the first Civilian Jeep – properly dubbed CJ – at the factory in Toledo, Ohio.

However, Willys-Overland was a rather small business company with only one production facility, thus the government of the United States requested the American car giant FordFordFordUnited States of America, 1903 > present92 models
2500 photos
11 videos
to also start manufacturing the Jeeps, which were named ‘GPW’ so they would be differentiated from the Willys’.

The Jeep brand has since undergone through many owner companies, as Willys sold it to KaiserKaiserKaiserUnited States of America, 1945 > 19554 models
32 photos
in 1953 and then, in 1970, American Motors (AMC)AMCAMCUnited States of America, 1954 > 198713 models
10 photos
1 video
bought it from Kaiser. Finally, in 1987 ChryslerChryslerChryslerUnited States of America, 1925 > present70 models
873 photos
1 video
acquired the entire AMC company, including the Jeep brand.

Nevertheless, the Jeeps became so popular for so many purposes beyond the military use that they began being strongly imitated by many other car companies worldwide. From 1954 on, the French company HotchkissHotchkissHotchkissFrance, 1903 > 19556 models
was actually licensed by Willys to start producing the Jeep too.

Today, Jeep and Chrysler car brands are owned by Chrysler Holding LLC and the jeeps are still being produced at the same factory in Toledo, Ohio, United States.

The Jeep has been written off as a “masterpiece of functionalist design” by the Museum of Modern Art.

 



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Perhaps surprisingly, the Jeep brand didn’t have an actual graphic identity until 2003, when its first logotype was finally sketched up.

The resulting symbol represents the front of a Wrangler Jeep, with its front seven-slot grille, the rectangular windshield and its round headlights. The word ‘Jeep’ can be read above this image.



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