Unveiled 75 years to the day since Willys was awarded contract to supply US military

on July 15, 1941, Willys-Overland Co. was awarded a contract to supply the United States military with its Willys MB, soon to be known universally as the Jeep. The design specifications had been put out to tender just 12 months earlier.

To mark the 75th anniversary of the occasion, Jeep has built this concept,called the Wrangler 75th Salute. It's based on the current Wrangler Sport, with power from a 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox.

To transform the modern Wrangler into something resembling its great-great-great grandfather, the doors and B-pillar have been removed, and steel bumpers with tow hooks added.

There are low-back canvas seats, exterior hood latches, a rear mounted spare tire, and 16-inch steel wheels with 32-inch military off-road tires. A coat of military-spec olive drab paint and bronze fender badges finish it off.

The military's original specifications called for a vehicle with four-wheel drive and a two-speed transfer case, a wheelbase of less than 75 inches (1,905 millimetres), a fold-flat windshield, and weight of less than 1,300 pounds (590 kilograms, later raised). Of the 135 manufacturers invited to submit designs, only Willys-Overland, American Bantam, and Ford responded. After intensive trials, Willys' design won out. Ford and other companies produced the MB throughout World War Two, producing a total of 647,925.

 

 

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