Today, it might be hard to picture a time when the Wrangler wasn’t a central part of the Jeep lineup. Through the years, the Jeep Wrangler has become one of the most iconic off-roading vehicles in existence. It is also one of the few vehicles that have remained in continuous production since its creation. To learn about how this influential vehicle rose to prominence over the years, consult this brief history of the Jeep Wrangler.
The Beginning: Wartime Vehicles
In order to discuss the history of the Jeep Wrangler, it’s important to first address the origin of the Jeep brand itself. The original Jeep was first manufactured by Ford in 1940. One year later, Willys built the iconic MB, which inspired the core style of all modern Jeeps.
While Jeeps are now a popular civilian vehicle, they were originally developed for WWII efforts. As such, they had an extremely rugged design and were equipped to handle a wide range of different terrains. Based on the vehicle’s origin, it is unsurprising that the Jeep Wrangler is currently one of the most capable off-roading vehicles in existence.
The Emergence of Civilian Models
While Jeeps were originally designed and implemented as wartime vehicles, they began being manufactured as civilian vehicles. Once WWII ended, Willys-Overland continued Jeep production by designing a model that was more suited to civilian use. Thus, the CJ-series (civilian Jeep) was born in 1994.
The CJ was modeled after the Willys MB but featured a variety of attractive upgrades, such as more comfortable seating, enhanced suspension, larger headlights, and a four-cylinder engine, just to name a few. The creation of the CJ-series largely set the stage for the later emergence of the Jeep Wrangler.
The Jeep Wrangler Is Born
After seven iterations of the CJ, it was eventually replaced by the Wrangler following exaggerated test results, which claimed that the CJ was highly susceptible to rolling over. In 1986, the Jeep Wrangler translated the brand power and capability of the CJ line into a more street-friendly design. Part of what made the Wrangler more appealing to the daily driver was its additional comfort features and improved handling. In addition, the Wrangler also featured anti-roll bars. Unlike the CJ model, which was designed primarily for off-roading, the Wrangler was more multi-functional.
And there you have it. That’s a brief history of the Jeep Wrangler.
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