August 01, 2006

Today In Automotive History

1941 The Jeep is born

Parade magazine called it "...the Army's most intriguing new gadget...a tiny truck which can do practically everything." During World War I, the U.S. Army began looking for a fast, lightweight all-terrain vehicle, but the search did not grow urgent until early 1940. At this time, the Axis powers had begun to score victories in Europe and Northern Africa, intensifying the Allies' need for an all-terrain vehicle. The U.S. Army issued a challenge to automotive companies, requesting a working prototype, fit to army specifications, in just 49 days. Willy's Truck Company was the first to successfully answer the Army's call, and the new little truck was christened "the Jeep." General Dwight D. Eisenhower said that America could not have won World War II without it. Parade was so enthusiastic about the Jeep, that, on this day, it devoted three full pages to a feature on the vehicle.

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