HOW TWO CIRCLES AND SEVEN LINES BECAME THE JEEP® BRAND’S RECIPE FOR SUCCESS FOR OVER 75 YEARS.
The Jeep. Brand has always stood for freedom — from its start as an agile workhorse during World War II, to the go anywhere – do anything vehicle for the rest of us ever since. But there’s always been something about that distinctive Jeep grille that’s captured the hearts of America and never let go. It’s confident and commanding. Utilitarian, yet timeless. However you describe it, you won’t find a more enduring design — of a single automotive part — on earth. But why does this part on this vehicle elicit such emotion? Why do we continue to feel a connection to it, decade after decade?
Production genius … Nostalgic patriotism…
And a big dose of romantic mystique.
In 1940, when the U.S. Army commissioned American automakers to build the ultimate light reconnaissance vehicle, Willys-Overland, Ford and Bantam submitted prototypes. Although the Willys Quad was chosen, the final product was a collaboration. As Brandt Rosenbusch, Manager of Historical Services at FCA US LLC, explains, “all the manufacturers brought ideas to the table.” But one in particular would end up defining an automotive brand for 75 years.
One Mother of an Invention. The Willys grille was curved, with 13 slots individually welded into place. But as time was of the essence, Ford proposed a design that could be quickly stamped from a single piece of steel. And with that, the iconic Jeep flat grille was born — a seemingly insignificant solution to a problem that has influenced every Jeep vehicle since.
Decorated War Hero. The Jeep vehicle, as it would become known, quickly became every G.I.’s best friend. From the shores of Normandy to the back roads of Germany, it reached hero status as tales of its legendary accomplishments emerged. Esteemed American General, George S. Patton rode in an open air Jeep vehicle during his tenure in Europe during the “Big One.” In fact, his Jeep vehicle became synonymous with his presence both before and after WWII ended.
“I don’t think we could continue the war without the Jeep. It does everything. It goes everywhere. It’s as faithful as a dog, as strong as a mule, and as agile as a goat.” – Ernest “Ernie” Pyle, WWII correspondent
One Willys MB was even awarded the Purple Heart. After a while, it seemed just one glimpse of that proud, determined grille coming your way, and you knew everything was going to be okay.
13 to 9 to 7. A lot of mystery surrounds the number of slats in the Jeep grille. The original grille had 13. The WWII model dropped to nine. Then came the post-war model with seven slots. And although there have been derivations, seven still seems to be the magic number. Why? Serious Jeep Brand fans have a variety of theories. Some claim the slots represent the seven Wonders of the World. Others insist it’s because it was the first vehicle to ever travel on all seven continents. Jeep Brand history guru Brandt Rosenbusch almost apologetically admits, “the answer is just not that sexy.” It seems the 1945 civilian design needed larger headlights, which meant there was less room for slots.
Despite this cold dose of reality, legendary tales and romantic theories live on. “A Jeep is one of the most customizable vehicles ever built. There’s so much out there from Mopar. that allows owners to make each one their own,” said Brandt. Perhaps that’s exactly why those who love Jeep continue to believe whichever tale speaks to their heart. They’ll customize their legendary Jeep however they damn well please…right down the stories that surround the famous lineage of each vehicle.
“True or not, I’m going to run with the 7 continents stuff. It just sounds too good to leave out of my Jeep® stories.”
“Rayko,” Wrangler online Forum
NOT HIP TO BE SQUARE
The famous Jeep grille is not defined solely by the slots. The instantly recognizable round headlamps have been gracing the fascia since the inception of the vehicle in 1940. The introduction of Jeep Wrangler in 1986 echoed in a new era for the Jeep grille in that the headlamps were square (actually, rectangular) in shape. In 1997, Chrysler Corp. went back to the traditional round shape.
AUTHENTIC JEEP BRAND ACCESSORIES BY MOPAR
Help your customers’ take their Jeep. Wrangler even further out of bounds with Jeep Brand Accessories. They can experience the wind in their hair by day with tools that convert their hard top into an open-air freedom machine. Help them light up the night with the radiance of LEDs. And these are just a few of the accessories available from Mopar.
• Freedom Top Wrench – Part Number: 82215006
• LED Headlamps – PN: 82214333AB
• LED Fog Lights – PN: 82214674 (PLASTIC BUMPER)
PN: 82214785 (STEEL BUMPER)
All authentic extras are available from your local FCA US LLC dealer to make your customers’ Jeep Wrangler bolder and better than ever.