What's in a jeep? Wouldn't a four wheel drive off-roader with another name be just as sturdy?
Maybe. But legacy counts for something, and the jeep has a solid one. Born off war in the US in 1941, the video above narrates the "autobiography" of this godfather of all four wheel off-roaders to come, inspiring even the Land Rover.
The jeep, some believe was instrumental in the Allies winning the second World War. It certainly had a great impact and it became so popular that the name became synonymous with all off-roaders, especially here in India. Like Xerox and Cadbury, Jeep became a generic term for the product.
While versions of the original Jeep have in fact existed in India for many years now, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles India has finally announced that it will be launching its Jeep Grand Cherokee and Wrangler Unlimited in India. These vehicles trace their lineage to the original jeeps, and will be coming to India for the first time.
Acknowedged the director for Jeep product marketing, Jim Morrison, in an interview to Mint, "We understand Jeep is a generic name for SUVs in India, we want to clearly delineate what the generic term is and what Jeep represents...".
The etymology of the word is blurry, though it is often associated with a shortened version of general purpose vehicle, of GP.
The story goes that in 1939 the US military needed a vehicle which was fast and could go over difficult terrain. They invited 135 different car companies to compete for a contract to build this new vehicle.
Only three companies entered – Bantam, Willys-Overland, and Ford. In 1940, Banta,m with the help of a freelance engineer Karl Probst, was the first to produce a working prototype for the military. Willys-Overland and Ford soon followed with their own prototypes, basically knock-offs of the Bantam car with some improvements, but enough to knock Bantam out of the race.
Watch the longer documentary below on this iconic army automobile.