History Of The Jeep Brand

The Jeep brand has a long and storied lineage. The history started decades before World War II and the brand has seen a multitude of owners. In the section below, you will find some notable milestones of the brand's existence.

Year Event
The Standard Wheel Company expands bicycle operations to include Overland Automotive.
The Overland "Runabout" is introduced.
John North Willys, an Overland dealer in Elmira, NY travels to Indianapolis and buys the Overland Automotive Division of Standard Wheel Company.
Overland Automotive is moved to Toledo, OH.
Overland Automotive is renamed Willys-Overland Motor Company.
John North Willys purchases Edwards Motor Company of New York City, obtaining a license to develop Knight sleeve-valve engines. Production of the Willys-Knight automobiles begins.
Willys continues increasing production and becomes the number two automaker in America, second only to Ford.
The Willys Whippet debuts. Featuring a 100" wheelbase, it is the smallest car then made in America.
Production of the Willys-Knight automobiles end.
John North Willys, the father of the company that will later become known as Jeep, passes away.
Coming out of bankruptcy following the Great Depression, the company is reorganized as Willys-Overland Motors, Inc.
Two of the five Willys Quad prototype vehicles are delivered to the US Army. Powered by the 60hp "Go-Devil" engine, this vehicle has more power than the competing entries from Bantam Car Company and Ford.
Willys improves upon the Quad with the debut of the Willys MA. 1,553 units are produced. Of these, approximately 30 are known to still be in existence.
Willys begins production of the world-renowned Willys MB. 335,531 units are produced. "Jeep" becomes a household name with the news of this amazing vehicle that can go anywhere and do anything. These are the most desired Jeep vehicle for restoration.
The US Army contracts Willys to develop a long-wheelbase version of the MB. Willys responds by developing the MLW-1 and MLW-2 prototypes.
The CJ-1 is developed. This is the first prototype of the CJ line. No CJ-1s are known to still be in existence.
The CJ-2 is developed. 45 examples of this model are built. Nine of these vehicles are known to still be in existence.
Willys-Overland begins producing the Civilian Jeep (CJ) line, with the introduction of the CJ-2A model. 214,202 units were produced between 1945 and 1949.
Production begins on the Willys Jeep Wagon. Over 300,000 are manufactured between 1946 and 1965. This vehicle is the first 4-wheel drive wagon and is the predecessor to today's Grand Cherokee and Commander.
The first Land Rover prototype is developed by the Wilks family using many spare Willys MB parts.
Production begins on the Willys Jeep Truck. From 1947 to 1965, more than 200,000 are manufactured.
Production begins on the Willys Jeepster. Only 19,000 vehicles are manufactured from 1948 to 1950.
The CJ-3A is introduced, and more than 132,000 are made before the production ends in 1953.
Willys CJ-V35 is developed for the US Marines. This vehicle was designed to be driven in deep water. Over 1000 units are delivered prior to the start of the Korean War. Only 29 of these vehicles are known to still be in existence.
Willys develops the M38 / MC for the US Army. Similar to the CJ-V35, this vehicle is delivered to support troops in the Korean War.