January 10, 2007

Today in Automotive History

1942 : Ford makes Jeeps

A Spindletop oil derrick on its first day of operation in 1901The Ford Motor Company signed on to make Jeeps, the new general-purpose military vehicles desperately needed by American forces in World War II. The original Jeep design was submitted by the American Bantam Car Company. The Willys-Overland company won the Jeep contract, however, using a design similar to Bantam's, but with certain improvements. The Jeep was in high demand during wartime, and Ford soon stepped in to lend its huge production capacity to the effort. By the end of the war, the Jeep had won a place in the hearts of Americans, and soon became a popular civilian vehicle. And that catchy name? Some say it comes from the initials G.P., for "General Purpose." Others say it was named for Jeep the moondog, the spunky and durable creature who accompanied Popeye through the comics pages.

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