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Jeep celebrates birthday with Wrangler 75th Salute

Captain America: The first Willys MB – later known as the Jeep – rolled off the production line in 1941 after the Willys-Overland Motor Company won a contract to supply vehicles to the US military.

Special Wrangler built to commemorate Jeep’s military roots and 75th anniversary

18 Jul 2016

JEEP has built a one-off, bespoke Wrangler – dubbed the 75th Salute concept – to mark 75 years since the first iconic Willys MB off-roader rolled off the production line in 1941.

Based on the two-door, six-speed manual Wrangler Sport and powered by a 209kW/347Nm 3.6-litre Pentastar V6, Jeep has removed both the B-pillars and doors and has coated the car in an olive-drab colour to pay homage to the military 4x4s of yore.

Further modifications include green 16-inch steel wheels wrapped in military-spec rubber, a tailgate-mounted spare wheel, steel bumpers front and rear with tow hooks, low back seats styled on original military Jeep pews, bonnet latches and unique bronze commemorative decals.

Jeep CEO Mike Manley said the special Wrangler has been made to highlight the unique history the brand has shared with the military.

“We are creating this unique Jeep Wrangler 75th Salute concept vehicle in celebration of the brand’s legendary history, and to demonstrate that 75 years later, today’s iconic Jeep Wrangler is instantly recognisable and clearly connected to the original Willys MB,” he said.

“Since they were first produced in 1941, Jeep vehicles have been the authentic benchmark for off-road capability, having mastered more terrain, led more adventures and provided drivers more freedom than any other vehicle before or since.”

The Wrangler 75th Salute concept was built in Toledo, Ohio, the same town the Willys-Overland Motor Company first produced its all-wheel-drive military vehicles which would later be known as Jeeps.

Winning a military contract in 1941, Willys manufactured more than 660,000 vehicles over the course of the Second World War and in 1945 produced the Willys CJ (Civilian Jeep) – a design which has been carried on to today’s modern Jeep Wrangler.

The last major update for Jeep’s ageing Wrangler came in early 2012, bringing new powerplant and transmission options to the rugged off-roader.

Although local popularity has waned in the first six months of this year – Jeep has sold only 679 units, a 40.4 per cent drop over the same period in 2015 – Jeep is planning to introduce the next-generation Wrangler in 2018 alongside a pick-up based on the same platform.

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