NOVEMBER 30, 2013: IS IT TIME TO BRING BACK THE ORIGINAL JEEP TO THE NEW VEHICLE MARKET?

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The Jeep was the stuff of dreams for many of us when we were kids.

 

They were originally built as an all purpose vehicle designed to deliver Allied soldiers to the battlefield in WW II.

 

 

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That’s why we did a story on one Jeep that actually landed on the beaches of Normandy with all of the courageous soldiers who fought to regain control of that territory from Nazi Germany forces.

 

Many of us were introduced to the Jeep through TV and movies when we were kids in the 60s.

 

We loved it when the Jeeps went flying guns-blazing over the sand dunes in the ‘Rat Patrol’ introduction and we laughed when Roy Rogers’ sidekick Pat Brady drove his Jeep named Nelly Belle in the TV western.

 

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The most important part of the equation for the Hollywood shows was the Jeep and most car guys will agree that a vintage first-generation Jeep was-and will always be-one of the coolest sets of wheels ever produced with an internal combustion engine.

 

First-Gen Jeeps are macho enough for a man yet cute enough for a woman. They have a universal appeal that never disappeared over the course of time for either gender.

 

They are incredibly versatile and performed many duties outside of their earliest use as one of the best military vehicles ever made for the battlefield.

 

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The Jeep evolved from its first design as a strictly military vehicle and could be found in many post-war roles on farms as well as remote areas where conventional vehicles feared to tread.

 

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Jeeps underwent cosmetic changes over the years and eventually the original Jeep design morphed into a vehicle with familiar Jeep-like features, but not quite a Jeep.

 

The original Jeep was designed with very Spartan features because its role was transporting soldiers into the heat of battle.

 

Creature comforts like softer suspensions would not have given the Jeep enough durability to handle the extreme conditions.

 

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The next generation Jeeps began to add more features designed for an everyday style of driving and started to alter the look of the Jeeps.

 

They were still very cool and mindful of the original Willys Jeep, but something was lost along the way. The newer Jeeps were not the same as their little warrior ancestor from WW II.

 

 

We have reached a point where it is now over 70 years past the introduction of the original Jeep and it may be time to consider the return of a first generation design for Jeep.

 

The cool factor would be off the charts and I suspect these 21st century versions would be a very hot purchase item.

 

Imagine if you will, a new Jeep with a fold-down windshield and completely open door spaces for ease of entry in summer months, built the same size and exact look of the original WW II Jeep.

 

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The only changes from the original Jeep might be the power-train (possibly even the new little Mopar diesel) to obtain better mph and mpg numbers on the road-or off road for that matter.

 

Sure there are safety Nazis who will stand in the way of a new stripped-down retro-Jeep, but the feisty little Jeep has already battled Nazis once in its history and would not back away from another scrap.

 

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Many car guys would feel it is well worth the effort to bring back the original look Jeep.

 

Count us among them.

 

Jim Sutherland

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