OF THE JEEP
Bantam Car Company
won the opening round of the contest to satisfy the US army's 1940
specification for a light four wheel drive but Willys Overland won the
battle and, some would say, the war. To ensure supply in war-time the Army
decided on a second supplier - Ford. Between 1941 and 1945 Willys and Ford
built about 700,000 of the vehicle.
ways to tell a Ford GPW from a Willys MB:
Willys chassis front Cross-member is tubular, whereas the Ford
cross-member is an inverted U section. Other ways include looking at the
tops of all the nuts and bolts, Fords should all be script F marked,
though this is not reliable as some restorers replace all the nuts and
bolts with new ones. Most of the panels on a Ford Jeep will be stamped
with a script F somewhere or another. For example in the middle of the
seat frames (back panel), top of the mud guards, on the bonnet hinge, on
the rear foot rests, even on the reflectors for some models. I think that
the Ford Motor Co. made sure that their stamp was on every sub-assembly of
Overland Jeep MB : Specifications
2+2 seats, what doors?
52" (steering wheel) - 72" (soft top),
petrol 4-cyls, 2 valves/cyl, side-valve
79.4mm, stroke: 111mm, c.r.: 6.48:1
3-speed, 2-speed transfer case, part-time 4WD
beam-leaf/beam-leaf, brakes: drum/drum
to the Bantam, Rifkind
JEEP IN CIVILIAN CLOTHING
the liberating heroes came home in 1945 they needed an all-terrain vehicle
like the original Jeep CJ for adventure and family. Willys-Overland
answered the call with the first all-steel station wagon, equipped with a
six cylinder engine and what was to become Jeep's legendary four wheel
a year after the first civilian Jeep vehicle, the Jeep CJ-2A, the Willys-Overland
all-steel station wagon was an auto industry first. The new wagon provided
all the capability and ruggedness of the original four-wheel-drive Jeep CJ
with the practicality and increased passenger and cargo space of a station
new 'Jeep' station wagon had pressed steel framing and three-tone
paintwork which simulated the wood look. It used Jeep running gear and
MB-style front sheet metal and was designed to compete against the
"real" wood wagons still being manufactured by Detroit's Big
The new vehicle chassis was also available in a sedan delivery truck.
Four-wheel-drive would become available in these models in 1949 along with
the 148 cubic-inch 'Lightening' six-cylinder engine.
The 50s saw the introduction of the "Hurricane" engine which was
then the most economical and powerful engine in its class. This was the
standard engine on the wagon with the "Lightening," the optional
V-6. During this time, Willys-Overland continued to sell their four-wheel
drive all-steel station wagon, and even licensed out its manufacturing to
companies in Japan and Argentina.
In 1953 Willys-Overland, the original developer of the Jeep vehicle, was
sold to the Henry J. Kaiser interests for $60 million. This would be the
beginning of Kaiser's influence on the future of 4WD sport utility as the
company began an extensive research and development program that would
seek to broaden Jeep products in this area. The fruits of this project
would first be seen in the fall of 1962.
In October 1962, Jeep introduced the new J-series with the Wagoneer. This
vehicle was bigger than the station wagon and the first of what could
properly be called a Sport Utility Vehicle.
The Wagoneer, powered by the first modern overhead-cam six-cylinder truck
engine known as the 'Tornado-OHC' six, could also be had with an industry
first automatic transmission. It was offered in two and four-wheel-drive
This, along with the J-series "Gladiator" pickups, was the first
fresh non-military design from the company since the all station wagon and
sporty two-wheel Jeepster. Both the Wagoneer and the Gladiator found a
huge market with construction, agricultural and military buyers and
evolved into a niche with everyday retail buyers who wanted a good
looking, all-terrain vehicle for fishing, skiing, hunting, hauling, and
The second-generation Wagoneer also included a Super Wagoneer Station
Wagon that featured three-tone body striping, vinyl roof, chrome roof
rack, full wheel hubcaps, and white-walled tires. The Super Wagoneer came
with four-wheel drive and power supplied from a 327-cubic inch V8, and
said Kaiser Jeep, "constituted a unique and dramatic approach to the
station wagon market...designed for the prestige buyer who is rapidly
becoming aware of the safety and advantages of four-wheel-drive. While
being the ultimate in detailed elegance, the new vehicle still has all the
traditional versatility and ability of Jeep vehicles to go on or off
In the 70s, four-wheel-drive vehicles made a major leap from utility to
family motoring. By the end of the decade, Ford, Chevrolet and Chrysler
had all launched new vehicles for the burgeoning sport utility market.
The Jeep Wagoneer for 1972 included the biggest standard engine in the 4WD
station wagon field -- a 258-cubic-inch AMC-built OHV 6-cylinder. In 1974,
The Cherokee Chief became the two-door version of the Wagoneer, and there
was also the larger Custom Wagoneer. A four door model of the Cherokee was
available by 1977.
Although the sporty Cherokee was similar to the more luxurious Wagoneer at
birth, down the road the names Cherokee and Cherokee Chief would apply to
the most successful Jeep vehicle in history.
Also introduced to the Wagoneer line during the 70s was Quadra-Trac, an
automatic full-time 4WD system. This was another Jeep brand industry
A market research program undertaken by American Motor Corporation, the
Jeep brand owner at the time, culminated in the birth of the modern
Research had found that future markets lay in compact sport-utility
vehicles. AMC then pumped $250 million into the design and production of
the new compact XJ Cherokee and Wagoneer sports wagons. They were
introduced to the press at Borrego Springs, California, in late 1983 and
immediately received rave reviews.
new version of the Cherokee was introduced in 1984. It was available in a
two or four door wagon body style. Unit-Body construction, and a
much-improved suspension lead the list of features. The four wheel leaf
springs were replaced by front coil springs and rear leaf springs. The new
Cherokee was much lighter and fuel efficient than the old model. Very few
parts were carried over from the old models. Four Wheel Drive was optional
on all models, and All Wheel Drive was available on some models. Automatic
hubs were standard on all 4x4 models. The Cherokee was offered in two-door
and four-door configurations.
The new Cherokee was a unique and revolutionary vehicle. It measured in 21
inches shorter, 6 inches narrower, 4 inches lower and weighed less 1,000
pounds less than the senior Jeep Wagoneer first introduced in 1962. It was
the only compact sport utility to offer two-door and four-door models and
it was built as a Unibody rather than using a traditional chassis and
frame construction. It was named "4x4 of the Year" from three
magazines in 1984. It was powered by either a four-cylinder base model or
an optional 2.8-litre V-6. In 1987, a 4.0-litre V-6 would become the
premium power plant.
Jeep Cherokee Limited 4.0i 4x4
base powertrain was a four speed manual transmission with the AMC 2.5l
(151 cid) four cylinder engine. The 2.5l four gained fuel injection, and
an optional five speed transmission for the 1986 model year. A three or
four speed automatic transmission was also available with the four
cylinder. A 2.8l six cylinder was also available with a five speed manual
or four speed automatic transmission. The original six cylinder was not an
AMC engine; it was made by General Motors. The V-6 was the same engine
that was used in many Chevy and GMC Trucks, and Pontiac and Chevy Sedans.
This V-6 was sold by AMC with a 2bbl carburator.
four cylinder Diesel was also available with either the five speed manual
or four speed automatic. The Diesel engine was the Renault 2.0l
Turbo-Diesel. Most of the Diesel Cherokees were sold in Canada and Europe.
In 1986, a pickup truck body was added, the Commanche. It had bed rails
welded onto the back of the cab in lieu of a true frame. The Commanche is
probably the highest production Unit-Body pickup truck ever produced.
configurations were available through the 1986 model year, in four body
trims: base, Chief, Laredo, and Wagoneer. In 1987, the whole line was
revamped, with a new six cylinder engine, and the discontinuance of the
Diesel model in the United States. The new six cylinder was a 4.0l (242
cid) inline, Throttle-Body Injected engine. This engine, aside from being
much more powerful and reliable than the V-6, was the last true AMC
engine, based on the 2.5l four.
Commanche was available in four trims, base, Sport, Chief, and Laredo.
Sales of the Cherokee and Commanche took off in 1987; unfortunately, AMC
had already agreed to the merger with Chrysler. Chrysler made few changes
to the Cherokee after the takeover. Most of the changes were in the wiring
for the Stereo, A/C, etc. etc. Chrysler also changed the instrument panel
for the 1990 model year, but changed it back to the old AMC panel in 1993.
Both engines gained Multi-Port Fuel Injection for the 1991 model year. The
2.5l went to 125 bhp, and the 4.0l went to 190 bhp.
Several four-wheel-drive systems, including Command-Trac and Selec-Trac,
offered either part-time or full-time four-wheel traction. Various
interior and exterior styling, comfort and off-road performance packages
were also offered. The model line continued largely unchanged into the
nineties, although many revisions and improvements were made to the
The 90s saw Jeep engineers develop a right-hand-drive version of the
Cherokee. This produced a model that made it possible to sell to mail
fleets, and to export markets in Britain, Australia and Japan. Over half
of all Jeep vehicles sold overseas are Cherokees. Jeep engineers had one
more model to add to this winning new range: the Grand Wagoneer Limited.
It was introduced as the ultimate luxury performance model, powered by an
electronically fuel-injected 5.9 litre V8 engine. But with the
introduction of the Grand Cherokee in 1993, the Grand Wagoneer Limited was
1997 model year brought about the most radical changes in the Cherokee's
design since it's introduction 13 years prior. The body panels were
redesigned for improved aerodynamics, and the interior was changed to a
more Chrysler-esque design. The interior was the most radical change,
where the Cherokee's boxy, Renault-Insipried design became very rounded
and modern. Chrysler plans to continue producing the Cherokee base
Unit-Body unchanged through the 2000 model year. The 2 Millionth Cherokee
rolled off the line at the Toledo, Ohio, plant in July 1996 with President
Clinton behind the wheel.
the latest version of the Cherokee combines over 50 years of engineering
and technological excellence with the classic styling and practicality of
a Jeep vehicle. Be sure to check out all the refinements to this American
icon: an all-new interior, dual air-bags** and UniFrame construction.
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