The Jeep Wrangler has been around for over 70 years and has seen a lot of changes. In this blog post, we will be discussing the history of the Jeep Wrangler from 1945–2018 and the first year of Jeep Wrangler, focusing on the different models that have come out during that time. Be sure to read all the way to the end to find out about the latest Jeep Wrangler model!
Before we continue, if you want to know more about the Jeep Wrangler, you can check out this article: Jeep Wrangler Model Years
The History of the Jeep Wrangler (The First Year of Jeep Wrangler)
The Jeep Wrangler is one of the most iconic off-road vehicles ever made.
One of the most recognizable cars in America and one of the few that have been produced continuously is the Jeep Wrangler. Even though the Jeep’s appearance has changed over the years, its origins may be found in the WWII Willys MB, often known as a “jeep.”
The most widely accepted theory regarding the origin of the term “Jeep” is that it was inspired by Popeye the Comic Book Character, who would “go anywhere and do anything.”
Since its debut, the Jeep Wrangler has been a legendary off-road vehicle, and it has never been more well-liked than it is now. The history of the Jeep Wrangler begins with the creation of vehicles for World War II.
Willys-Overland received a contract from the US military to produce a four-wheel-drive vehicle for use in the conflict. Because of the vehicle’s outstanding performance, Willy created a Jeep for civilian usage after the war, and the rest is history.
The first historical model to use the Wrangler moniker debuted in 1986 at the Chicago Auto Show and was modeled after the four-wheel-drive vehicle utilized in World War II.
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CJ Jeeps: 1945-1986
After World War II, when the Allies’ triumph was assured, Willy’s started developing a civilian Jeep. In May 1944, this model—known as the “CJ” for civilian Jeep—became available. The frame was still very much a “Jeep,” despite the addition of a canvas top, a tailgate, and lower gears.
Although the original spare tire didn’t ride on the tailgate as it would eventually do, the Jeep nonetheless resembles the Wrangler we know today in all other respects.
Jeep made the decision to offer these cars in distinctive color schemes. By 1948, you could buy a Jeep in one of five colors: Michigan Yellow, Potomac Gray, Picket Gray, Emerald Green, or Normandy Blue.
Their hopeful American post-war names were intended to represent their patriotism. There were eventually seven iterations of the CJs because it was a well-liked vehicle.
A clip on 60 Minutes in 1980 proved that the CJ could roll over. Watching the video naturally caused people to get worried. These test results were later found to be greatly exaggerated.
There had only been eight rollovers out of 435 trials. The fact that the same Jeep was involved in four rollovers suggests that its tires were worn. But it was already too late. The CJ name was permanently tarnished and would be linked to giving in. Instead, Jeep introduced the Wrangler to replace the CJ.
Wrangler YJ: 1986-1995
The original model of the Wrangler was the Jeep YJ. They made their debut at the Chicago Auto Show at the beginning of 1986. They were produced in Ohio’s Toledo South Assembly Plant.
The Jeep Wrangler YJ was unique compared to other Jeeps.
They had rectangular-shaped headlights. The wiper blades that rest on the windscreen give the car its distinctive appearance.
The grilles had an angle at the top and a straight downward direction at the bottom. You can get YJ variants with soft tops and full-frame doors. Soft plastic windows with zippers were available in some soft top models.
To make getting into and out of the Jeep Wrangler and driving more comfortable, this variant has less ground clearance and a wider track. A YJ model with partial or full doors and a 20-gallon gasoline tank were both available.
Wrangler TJ: 1996-2006
Periodically, Jeep delivered significant upgrades, but the TJ launched more than ten years after the first, was the first true second-generation Wrangler.
In 1997, the Jeep Wrangler TJ made its debut. Jeep has gained knowledge through its victories and defeats. The frame and body were made more rigid, but coil springs were also used to make the ride more comfortable.
They also reinstated the Jeep’s original round headlights, much to the delight of Jeep fans worldwide (they really do look more friendly than the angrier square ones).
However, the TJ was in many ways more of a remodel than a relaunch because the engine options remained the same as the YJ. However, the upgrades made it possible to operate the Jeep more frequently as a daily driver.
The Jeep maintained its distinctive character while providing some of the conveniences that owners required to use their Jeep more frequently, thanks to fewer rattles and improved temperature management.
Wrangler JK: 2006-2018
The JK was the Jeep Wrangler’s third model. The North American International Auto Show and the New York Auto Show both hosted the introduction of this off-road vehicle in 2006.
The JK shares certain characteristics with earlier Wrangler vehicles. It has independent bodies and frames, rigid live axles at the front and back, and flat-folding windshields.
The car can be operated without any doors. The Wrangler was available with four doors for the first time. The JK’s wheelbase was extended by 20 inches rather than the other Wrangler versions’ 10 inches.
With the exception of steering, practically all JK model operations are controlled by software. Compared to earlier models, the JK has better stability control. To provide more stability, it incorporates an anti-lock braking system, an electronically limited slip differential, and a traction control system.
Wrangler JL: 2018- Now
The Jeep Wrangler JL is the most recent model. It debuted at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show. The JL is available in both two- and four-door body styles. The Jeep Wrangler TJ model’s appearance is strikingly similar.
It has seven vertical slots in the front grille and circular headlamps. There are four trim options available for the JL: Sport, Sport S, Sahara, and Rubicon. While the other trim levels have both two-door and four-door body styles, the Sahara trim level JL only has four doors.
Four-wheel drive is standard on all JL Wranglers. It maintains a separate body and frame and is built to be more comfortable to handle and drive than earlier models.
Find the details about one of the Jeep Wrangler models, Rubicon, in our article here: Old Jeep Rubicon – What You Need to Know
The Jeep Wrangler has been around for over 70 years and has seen many changes throughout its history. From its inception as a CJ Jeep to its current incarnation as the Jeep Wrangler, this vehicle has had an impact on American culture and the way people commute.
In this blog, we have covered the history of the Jeep Wrangler and highlighted some of the most significant changes over the years. Make sure to read through to learn all you need to know about this iconic vehicle!