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The Jeep Wrangler's story begins with the Willys MB

A request from the US military for a new light reconnaissance vehicle during World War II results in the automobile that would pave the way for the Jeep Wrangler.

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Jon Wong
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1940 Willys Quad original pilot

Following a request from the US military for a new light reconnaissance vehicle, Willys submitted the Quad.

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1940s Willys MB

Following revisions, the Quad would eventually become the MA and then the MB.

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1941 Jeep Willys MA

The guidelines laid out by the US military for the new vehicle included four-wheel drive, a smooth engine, fold-down windshield and three bucket seats.

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1941 Willys MA

A wheelbase of less than 75 inches was another requirement for the new vehicle.

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1942 Jeep Willys MB

A load capacity of 600 pounds was also part of the lengthy specification list.

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1943 Jeep Willys MB

The Willys vehicle would eventually win the bulk of the government contract, beating out two other entries from American Bantam Car Manufacturing Company and Ford Motor Company.

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1944 Jeep Willys MB

The Army and the rest of the world would begin referring to the Willys MB as the Jeep.

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1944 Jeep Willys MB

Willys-Overland built more than 368,000 vehicles for the US Army.

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Jeep Willys MB

To help keep up with wartime demand, Ford was also contracted to build the MB. Ford produced roughly 277,000 units for the army.

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Willys MB and Jeep Wrangler

The now iconic vertical slot grille was first implemented by Ford.

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Willys MB and Jeep Wrangler

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Willys MB and Jeep Wrangler

Willys MB and Jeep(R) Wrangler. (J-0268)

Check out the further development of the Wrangler in our next installment of this saga.

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