Unless you have just landed on this 4×4 planet you will know that this year is the 75th anniversary since the first Jeep rolled off the production line, the giveaway is the ‘Since 1941’ logo plastered all over the current Jeep Renegade.
Amongst many slightly tedious special editions (75th Renegade and Cherokee) which are essentially standard cars with a little more kit and some special paint and badges, Jeep has finally decided to make a real, working tribute to the one car that got it all started in the mass production industry.
The Willys MB ‘Jeep’ was a 4WD drive military only vehicle produced from 1941 to 1945 solely for use by the U.S. Army and allied forces during the WWII, the Willys was then re-engineered into the Jeep CJ-1 for civilian use as a prototype only in 1944 at the end of World War II. Whilst no actual CJ1’s survived to this day and documentation is scarce on the subject this was the first marker for Jeep building a civilian car.
In 1945 the Willys Overland CJ2A followed and stayed in production for only four years, its primary purpose was intended as farming and ranching, with a total of 214,000 cars built this would mark Jeep’s first step into selling vehicles to civilians.
Now finally Jeep have given us a Willys inspired one off to properly celebrate that 75th birthday, called the ‘Jeep Wrangler 75th Salute’ it has been designed as a clear tribute to the original Willys MB which gave the company its first production vehicle, the 75th Salute is based on the current model two door Wrangler, gone are the doors and B-pillars just likes its older distant sibling, added are 16” steel wheels with 32” military specification tyres, the Wrangler has also had its bumpers stripped down to plain steel, the entire truck is finished in standard military matte green. The 75th Salute is powered by 3.6 litre V6 motor via oddly enough a six-speed manual gearbox.
But the bottom line is you cannot buy it !!
So why build it? Surly it would have been a no brainer to produce a limited few thousand that would have sold before they were made …