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The Jeep Wrangler SUV Game A lot of great things came out of the 1980's and one of them was the Jeep Wrangler. Officially unveiled at the 1986 Chicago Auto Show, the Wrangler immediately became a consumer favorite and is inexorably linked to freedom and adventure, with an enormous and fiercely dedicated group of owners that live the brand's Go Anywhere. Do Anything slogan.

Indeed, the Wrangler is one of America's most iconic vehicles, with a lineage to match. The Jeep's roots date back to the Willys MB from WWII, which was a stalwart workhorse vehicle heavily relied upon on battlefields and other military stages around the world. The colloquial "Willys" name derived from its manufacturer, Willys-Overland Motors, based in Toledo, Ohio from 1908 to 1963.

Where Did the Name Come From?

Theories abound on where the Jeep name originated. The vehicles were referred to as jeeps as far back as their days in the war, but it is widely believed (for good conversation, if nothing else) that Jeeps are named after a character from the Popeye comics who would "go anywhere and do anything," which eventually became the brand's tagline. The "real" story, however, originated with the military's reference to the vehicles as General Purpose, commonly known as GP. Pretty soon everyone simply put the letters together and called them Jeeps.

Proud Valor

President Eisenhower claimed that the Jeep was one of the most important tools in the war. In fact, one rugged Jeep was awarded the Purple Heart. Traditionally awarded to solders injured during combat, this four-wheeled soldier also received the prestigious award for surviving two separate beach landings.

The Jeep Culture

Similar to calling all facial tissue Kleenex (which is a brand name), it is not uncommon for people to call any off-road vehicle a Jeep. This is a vivid testament to the proud, Harely-Davidson-like culture orbiting around this popular vehicle, driven by owners who revel in adventure and enthusiasm. There's even a "Jeep Wave" every time a pair of them meet. (Just like the two-fingered Harley sign.)

Thank You, CJ

There would be no Wrangler today without it predecessor, the CJ. Incredibly popular with die-hard fans, the CJ was nevertheless "too rugged" for everyday driving. Once the Wrangler platform was introduced with lower ground clearance, six-cylinder engine, and smooth ride; it forever changed the SUV landscape. Competitors all over the land introduced their own versions of the Jeep, but nothing compared to the original.

In Conclusion

The success of the Jeep inspired a whole new category of everyday-driver 4x4s and SUVs and Jeeps have been regarded as one of the most influential designs in automotive history. The Jeep carries on that reputation today, with time- and battle-tested rugged construction, unmistakable good looks with the beloved vertical grill slats, and a one-of-a-kind fan base.

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