Attention soldiers! June 15 marks the 75th anniversary of the date the Willys-Overland Motor Co. was awarded a government contract to build the first Jeep, which was then referred to as the Willys MB.
The iconic vehicle’s current caretakers at FCA/Jeep are celebrating the date by unveiling a rugged throwback Wrangler 75th Salute. This is a modern interpretation of the Willys MB, but is – unfortunately in our opinion – only a design concept. Featuring an olive-drab militaristic color scheme, and a minimalistic design that eliminates the window “B” pillars and doors and features low back canvas seats, it’s based on a Wrangler Sport model and likewise packs a 3.6-liter V6 engine and rides on contemporary mechanicals.
The original sport-utility vehicle is arguably among the most recognizable rides on the planet, but do you know how the Willys MB came to be called Jeep? It’s officially is a colloquial derivative of the acronym “G.P.,” which stands for “general purpose,” though it’s also said to be influenced by the then-popular character “Eugene the Jeep” from the original Popeye comic strip. For the benefit of our younger readers, this was a mysterious magical animal who’s only utterance was the nonsensical word, “jeep.”