Our favorite models from Jeep’s 77-year history
Omix-ADA has been all about keeping Jeeps going for years, offering replacement parts for nearly every Jeep built. The company’s headquarters in Suwanee, Georgia, contains a collection of Jeep models that goes back to the brand’s infancy. From the original prototypes to the popular open-top CJs and luxurious Wagoneers, the collection has an example of nearly every significant Jeep model ever made.
Dave Logan, long-time Jeep aficionado and historian, gave us a tour of the collection and pointed out some of the highlights. Here are our favorites.
From left to right, the 1941 Willys MA, 1941 Bantam BRC, and 1941 Ford GP represent the three competing designs for the U.S. Army’s 1/4-ton truck project that would eventually become known simply as the “Jeep.” Portions for all three designs were used in the final design that was built by both Willys and Ford.
This Ford GPW is modeled after the ones used by the British Long Range Desert Group to wage war against Erwin Rommel’s troops in northern Africa during WWII. They were equipped to survive long distances in the desert and provide fast assaults to raid Axis airfields.
Ford’s attempt at an amphibious Jeep, the GPA was almost as ungainly on land as it was on water. Many ended up in WWII service in the Soviet Union.
An early attempt by Willys to tap into the luxury market, the 1949 Jeepster featured an upscale interior with an engine-turned gauge panel.
The CJ-5 was the civilian version of the M38A1, and they even shared the same hood stamping. The triangular shape in the hood just above the fender is for the snorkel used in military applications.
Before the Wrangler Unlimited, there were the CJ-6 and CJ-8, long-wheelbase versions of the CJ-5 and CJ-7, respectively.
The 1971 Hurst edition Jeepster Commando was AMC’s attempt to add some youthful appeal to its Jeep model line in the same way that muscle cars had invigorated AMC cars. The problem was that they forgot the muscle. A hood-mounted tach and non-functional scoop did nothing to the Dauntless V-6 borrowed from Buick. Only 100 were built.
The Willys Wagon is one of the oldest truck-based SUVs. It was introduced in 1946 as a ’47 model, just in time for the Baby Boom, when families needed more space to haul bigger families. The truck version, on the left, shows the later, v-shaped grille that was introduced in 1950. It remained in production in the United States until it was replaced by the Wagoneer.
This 1966 Jeep Wagoneer still features the vertical “Rhino” grille that was used on early models and was already being phased out by 1966 in favor of a full-width grille.
Like their Willys Wagon predecessors, Wagoneers had a long production run. This 1990 Grand Wagoneer was built after Chrysler’s acquisition of Jeep, yet it still used AMC’s 360-cu-in V-8.