This one-off Jeep rolled off the assembly 75 years after the U.S. ordered the first Willys MB

July 15 is an important date in Jeep history. In fact, it was on this date in 1941 that the U.S. government awarded Willys-Overland Motor Company the contract to build the Willy MB. Now, 75 years later, Jeep is celebrating by building a one-off Wrangler configured to look like its grandfather. This modern take on the original will roll off the same assembly line as the MB (minus the modernization and robots, of course), making the occasion even more sentimental.

“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 recognizable and clearly connected to the original Willys MB,” said Mike Manley, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA Global. “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.”

Manley is certainly right about the Jeep (and more specifically, the Wrangler) being the benchmark for off-road capability. Think about it – what over vehicle has remained so true to its original roots for more than 70 years? Not many. If fact, there are very little modifications needed to make this 2016 Wrangler look like a 1941 Willys MB. Let’s dive into the details below.

Update 07/18/2016: Jeep released a short video showing the Wrangler Salute Concept rolling off the assembly line. There are also interviews with Jeep executives and assembly line workers on the deep meaning this one-off Jeep carries.

Continue reading for the full review.

  • 2016 Jeep Wrangler 75th Salute Concept
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V6
  • Transmission:
    six-speed manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    285
  • Torque @ RPM:
    260
  • Displacement:
    3.6 L
  • 0-60 time:
    8.5 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    85 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    35000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:

Exterior

2016 Jeep Wrangler 75th Salute Concept High Resolution Exterior
- image 682690
2016 Jeep Wrangler 75th Salute Concept High Resolution Exterior
- image 682698

The changes to this 2016 Jeep Wrangler are surprisingly minimal. Jeep designers started with a two-door Wrangler Sport. The roll cage is left off – a simple task thanks to a few bolts. The doors are also off – something easily done by removing the two hinge pins, though it looks like the hinges and door striker have been shaved off. The bumpers are from the Jeep J8, the wartime Wrangler currently built for the Egyptian military. The classic steel wheels and 32-inch, non-directional tires are a familiar sight to those used to seeing Wrangler concept vehicles.

The paint job evokes the look of WWII-spec MBs thanks to the U.S. Star and numbering on the hood

The paint job evokes the look of WWII-spec MBs thanks to the U.S. Star and numbering on the hood. Look closely though, and the numbers reveal today’s date – 2016/07/15. The 419 on the front bumper is the area code for the Toledo, Ohio assembly plant. It’s also interesting to note the rubber bump-stops on the hood for the folded windshield have been replaced with wood, recalling the Willys MB’s design.

All told, it’s a fantastic build that will undoubtedly remain a valued collectors piece in FCA’s possession.

Interior

2015 Jeep Staff Car Interior
- image 622843

2015 Jeep Staff Car Concept pictured
Jeep has not released any photos of the interior, but the low back canvas seats resembling those in the Willys MB are easily seen. Expect other small homages to the past like stamped metal placards resembling those on the Willys MB. Pictured here is the Jeep Staff Car from the 2015 Easter Jeep Safari. The Staff Car carried the same military-like styling as the 75th Anniversary Wrangler. Check out our full review of the Staff Car here.

Drivetrain

2014 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon X - Driven Drivetrain
- image 564949

Jeep didn’t mess with the drivetrain of this 2016 Wrangler. That means its 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 still makes 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Jeep says this concept comes with the standard six-speed manual transmission. The standard Command-Trac 4WD system is also untouched. However, these stock parts give the Wrangler all the capability and agility it needs to conquer nearly any terrain from the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli.

Conclusion

2016 Jeep Wrangler 75th Salute Concept High Resolution Exterior
- image 682692

The Jeep is about as American as baseball and apple pie. It’s hard to find something that represents patriotism and heroism more purely in the automotive segment. Since 1941 and the battles against the Axis powers in World War II, the Jeep has solidified itself as a true national symbol of freedom and the fight to keep it.

The modern Jeep brand is doing its history justice by celebrating and commemorating these historic anniversaries. What’s far more important, remembering this history helps keep alive the memory of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for freedom all those years ago.

Happy anniversary, Jeep. We’re proud of you.

  • Leave it
    • * Only a one-off commemorative piece
    • * Not for sale

Press Release

Jeep® Brand Celebrates 75th Anniversary With Commemorative Wrangler 75th Salute Concept Vehicle

  • Unique commemorative Wrangler 75th Salute concept celebrates the Jeep® brand’s history and legendary military heritage
  • Wrangler 75th Salute concept showcases rugged functionality highlighted with heritage design cues first seen on original Jeep military vehicles
  • Built on the 75th Anniversary of July 15, 1941: the date Willys-Overland Motor Co. was awarded the U.S. government contract to build the first Willys MB
  • New Jeep Wrangler 75th Salute concept built on the same assembly line in Toledo, Ohio, that has produced Wrangler for decades
  • Based on a Wrangler Sport model, powered by a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine and mated to a six-speed manual transmission

July 15, 2016 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - Since 1941, the Jeep® name has symbolized a unique family of go-anywhere, do-anything vehicles – first developed for military use, and after 1945, continually adapted for a wide variety of civilian applications. The Jeep brand is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2016, and to mark the occasion, a commemorative one-of-a-kind Wrangler 75th Salute concept vehicle is being created today as a tribute to the brand’s legendary history and military heritage.

2016 Jeep Wrangler 75th Salute Concept High Resolution Exterior
- image 682693

“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 recognizable and clearly connected to the original Willys MB,” said Mike Manley, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA Global. “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 “function over form” of the original Jeep military service vehicles is evident in this unique concept vehicle. The Wrangler 75th Salute concept – a modern interpretation of the Willys MB – is based on a two-door Wrangler Sport and highlights rugged functionality with heritage design cues, including the absence of B-pillars and doors. The exterior features an olive-drab color scheme that was first seen on military vehicles 75 years ago and is present throughout the Wrangler 75th Salute concept.

Features, including 16-inch steel wheels wrapped in 32-inch military non-directional tires, hood latches, a rear-mounted spare tire, steel front and rear bumpers with tow hooks and low back canvas seats, echo the original military Jeep vehicles. Other features include custom wood hood blocks and side mirrors, as well as bronze commemorative fender badges.

2016 Jeep Wrangler 75th Salute Concept High Resolution Exterior
- image 682694

The Jeep Wrangler 75th Salute concept vehicle is built on the same assembly line that has produced the Wrangler in Toledo, Ohio, for decades, and is powered by a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine and mated to a six-speed manual transmission.

About Jeep’s Military History
In July 1940, the U.S. military informed automakers that it was looking for a “light reconnaissance vehicle” to replace the Army’s motorcycle and modified Ford Model-T vehicles. The Army invited 135 manufacturers to bid on production and developed a lengthy specification list for the vehicle, including a 600-lb. load capacity, wheelbase less than 75 inches, height less than 36 inches, smooth-running engine from 3 to 50 miles per hour, rectangular-shaped body, four-wheel drive with a two-speed transfer case, fold-down windshield, three bucket seats, blackout and driving lights and a gross vehicle weight below 1,300 lbs.

At first, Willys-Overland and American Bantam Car Manufacturing Company were the only two companies answering the call. Soon, however, Ford Motor Company entered the picture, and competition began among the three over which company would receive the lucrative government contract.

Each company produced prototypes for testing in record time. The Army took possession of these vehicles in November 1940 at Camp Holabird, Maryland. Each of the three designs exceeded the Army’s specification of 1,300 lbs., but the Army soon realized that limit was far too low and raised it for the next round of vehicles.

The Army issued the next round of contracts in March 1941. Bantam was to produce 1,500 Model 40 BRC vehicles, Ford would build 1,500 modified and improved GP Pygmies and Willys would build 1,500 Quads. Further testing and evaluation led to the Army’s selection of the Willys vehicle as the standard.

With modifications and improvements, the Willys Quad became the MA, and later the MB. But the Army, and the world, came to know it as the Jeep. In 1941, the Willys MB began rolling off the assembly line straight into the heat of battle and the rest is history.

About Jeep Brand
Built on 75 years of legendary heritage, Jeep is the authentic SUV with class-leading capability, craftsmanship and versatility for people who seek extraordinary journeys. The Jeep brand delivers an open invitation to live life to the fullest by offering a full line of vehicles that continue to provide owners with a sense of security to handle any journey with confidence.

2016 Jeep Wrangler 75th Salute Concept High Resolution Exterior
- image 682694

The Jeep vehicle lineup consists of the Cherokee, Compass, Grand Cherokee, Patriot, Renegade, Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited. To meet consumer demand around the world, all Jeep models sold outside North America are available in both left and right-hand drive configurations and

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