Willys Overland Jeep
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 4
When the US Government needed a replacement for the then traditional motorcycle with sidecar arrangement (with some old Ford Model T's also still in service!), the GP was designed - and would later be named the Jeep.
Many believe the GP represented General Purpose, however the G actually stood for Government, while the P indicated an 80 inch wheelbase.
Designed from day one to be a military vehicle, the motor needed to be able to run at 4000RPM for over 100 hours without break (to ensure durability in combat conditions), while the whole vehicle needed to be easily serviced and repaired.
Obvious design features were easily accessible oil and air filters, but other unique features included the headlights ability to rotate 180 degrees so that the engine bay could be illuminated for night time repairs.
The Jeep was also - for the day - very capable off road, being able to traverse 50 degree inclines to the left or right, while able to climb a 40 degree slope. It is no wonder that the US Army's official title for the vehicle was "Truck, Quarter-Ton, Four by Four and Command Reconnaisance Vehicle".
Such was the success of the vehicle during the war that production was increased to the point that over 40 were being manufactured each hour.
The vehicle so endeared it'self to the army and servicemen alike that Willys was forced to create civillian models after the war to help quench the public's apetite for the vehicle.
Willys continued production of the Jeep until 1970, although from 1955 they were part of the Kaiser corporation. In 1970 the line was sold to American Motors, which in turn passed to Chrysler in 1987 and they remain the current owners.