Belt up and enjoy this 365-day ride as you cruise past the most momentous motoring events in history. Packed with fascinating facts about races, motorists and the history of the mighty engine, this is a must-visit web site for any car enthusiast.
A chronological day-by-day history of Jeep.
The Nash Motor Company, based in Kenosha, Wisconsin, US, was founded by former General Motors president Charles W. Nash after acquiring the Thomas B. Jeffery Company. Jeffery's best-known automobile was the Rambler whose mass production from a plant in Kenosha, Wisconsin began in 1902. The 1917 Nash Model 671 was the first vehicle produced to bear the name of the new company's founder. Nash enjoyed decades of success by focusing its efforts to build cars "embodying honest worth ... [at] a price level which held out possibilities of a very wide market." Charles Nash convinced the chief engineer of GM's Oakland Division, Finnish-born Nils Eric Wahlberg, to move to Nash's new company. Wahlberg is credited with helping to design flow-through ventilation that is used today in nearly every motor vehicle. Introduced in 1938, Nash's Weather Eye directed fresh, outside air into the car's fan-boosted, filtered ventilation system, where it was warmed (or cooled), and then removed through rearward placed vents. The process also helped to reduce humidity and equalize the slight pressure differential between the outside and inside of a moving vehicle. Another unique feature of Nash cars was the unequal wheel tracks. The front wheels were set slightly narrower than the rear, thus adding stability and improving cornering. Wahlberg was also an early proponent of wind tunnel testing for vehicles and during World War II worked with Theodore (Ted) Ulrich in the development of Nash's radically styled Airflyte models. Nash's slogan from the late 1920s and 1930s was "Give the customer more than he has paid for" and the cars lived up to it. Innovations included a straight-eight engine with overhead valves, twin spark plugs, and nine crankshaft bearings in 1930. The 1932 Ambassador Eight had synchromesh transmissions and free wheeling, automatic centralized chassis lubrication, a worm-drive rear end, and its suspension was adjustable inside the car. A long-time proponent of automotive safety, Nash was among the early mid- and low-priced cars to offer four-wheel brakes. The Nash was a success among consumers that meant for the company "selling for a long time has been 100% a production problem... month after month all the cars that could be produced were sold before they left the factory floor." For the 1925 model year, Nash introduced the entry-level marque Ajax. A car of exceptional quality for its price, the Ajax was produced in the newly acquired Mitchell Motor Car Company plant in Racine, Wisconsin. In 1924, Nash absorbed LaFayette Motors and converted its plant to produce Ajax automobiles. The LaFayette name was reintroduced in 1934 as a lower priced companion to Nash. LaFayette ceased to be an independent marque with the introduction of the 1937 models. From 1937 through 1940, the Nash LaFayette was the lowest priced Nash, and was replaced by the new unibody Nash 600 for the 1941 model year. Before retiring, Charlie Nash chose Kelvinator Corporation head George W. Mason to succeed him. Mason accepted, but placed one condition on the job: Nash would acquire controlling interest in Kelvinator, which at the time was the leading manufacturer of high-end refrigerators and kitchen appliances in the United States. The resulting company, as of January 4, 1937, was known as the Nash-Kelvinator Corporation. Nash as a brand name continued to represent automobiles for Nash-Kelvinator. This was the largest merger of companies not in the same industry up until that time. In 1938, Nash introduced an optional conditioned air heating/ventilating system, an outcome of the expertise shared between Kelvinator and Nash. This was the first hot-water car heater to draw fresh air from outside the car, and is the basis of all modern car heaters in use today. Also in 1938, Nash, along with other car manufacturers Studebaker and Graham, offered vacuum-controlled shifting, an early approach at removing the gearshift from the front floorboards. Automobiles equipped with the Automatic Vacuum Shift (supplied by the Evans Products Company) had a small gear selector lever mounted on the dashboard, immediately below the radio controls. In 1936, Nash introduced the "Bed-In-A-Car" feature, which allowed the car's interior to be converted into a sleeping compartment. The rear seat back hinged up, allowing the rear seat cushion to be propped up into a level position. This also created an opening between the passenger compartment and the trunk. Two adults could sleep in the car, with their legs and feet in the trunk, and their heads and shoulders on the rear seat cushions. In 1949 this arrangement was modified so that fully reclining front seat backs created a sleeping area entirely within the passenger compartment. In 1950 these reclining seat backs were given the ability to lock into several intermediate positions. Nash soon called these new seat backs "Airliner Reclining Seats". In 1939, Nash added a thermostat to its "Conditioned Air System", and thus the famous Nash Weather Eye heater was born. The 1939 and 1940 Nash streamlined cars were designed by George Walker and Associates and freelance body stylist Don Mortrude. They were available in three series - LaFayette, Ambassador Six and Ambassador Eight. For the 1940 model cars Nash introduced independent coil spring front suspension and sealed beam headlights. The 1941, Nash 600 was the first mass-produced unibody construction automobile made in the United States. Post-World War II passenger car production resumed on October 27, 1945 with an Ambassador sedan first off the assembly line. There were few changes from 1942 models, most noticeable were longer and slimmer upper grille bars and a projecting center section on the lower grille. The 600 models got a new, more conventional front suspension & steering system. The inline 8-cylinder Ambassador model did not return in 1946. The large Ambassador engine thus was the seven main bearing, overhead valve 234-cubic-inch six-cylinder developing 112 brake horsepower. For the 1946 model year Nash introduced the Suburban model that used wood framing & panels on the body. It was similar to the Chrysler Town and Country and Ford Sportsman models. Suburbans were continued in 1947 and 1948 models with 1,000 built over all three years. In 1948 the Ambassador convertible returned with 1,000 built. The aerodynamic 1949 Nash "Airflyte" was the first car of an advanced design introduced by the company after the war. Its aerodynamic body shape was developed in a wind tunnel. The "cutting-edge aerodynamics" was the most "alarming" all-new postwar design in the industry since the Chrysler Airflow. The few changes for the 1950 Airflytes were a wider rear window, concealed fuel filler cap, some dashboard features and addition on Ambassadors of a GM Hydramatic automatic transmission option. The 600 models were renamed the "Statesman". A new first for an American car were seat belts, also new was a five-position Airliner reclining front passenger seat back, both optional in both models. The stroke on the Statesman engine was increased 1/4 inch giving 186 cubic inches and 85 HP and the Ambassador received a new cylinder head that increased HP to 115. Changes for the 1951 model Airflytes were to the rear fenders, elongated to incorporate vertical taillights, a new conventional dashboard replacing the Uniscope mounted on the steering column, a new vertical bar grille with horizontal parking lights and addition of GM Hydramatic as a Statesman option also. The three best sales years for Nash up to that time were 1949, 1950 and 1951. Nash-Kelvinator's President George Mason felt Nash had the best chance of reaching a larger market in building small cars. He directed Nash towards the development of the first compact of the post war era, the 1950 Nash Rambler, which was marketed as an up-market, feature-laden convertible. Mason also arranged for the introduction of the Austin-built small Metropolitan from Britain, which was introduced as a 1954 model. The full-size Nash Airflytes were completely re-designed for 1952, and were promoted as the Golden Airflytes, in honor of Nash Motors' 50th anniversary as an automobile builder (the company now counting the years of the Thomas B. Jeffery Company as part of their own heritage.) "Great Cars Since 1902" became one of the company's advertising slogans. Nash was one of the few American car manufacturers to introduce an all-new 1952 model other than Ford Motor Company. The new Golden Airflytes presented a more modern, squared-off look than did the 1949–1951 models, which were often compared to upside-down bathtubs. Pininfarina of Italy was contracted by Nash to design a body for the new Golden Airflyte; however management was unhappy with the design and the result was a combination of an in-house design and Pininfarina's model. Using its Kelvinator refrigeration experience, the automobile industry's first single-unit heating and air conditioning system was introduced by Nash in 1954. This was a compact, affordable system for the mass market with controls on the dash and an electric clutch. Entirely incorporated within the engine bay, the combined heating and cooling system had cold air for passengers enter through dash-mounted vents. Competing systems used a separate heating system and an engine-mounted compressor with an Evaporator in the car's trunk to deliver cold air through the rear package shelf and overhead vents. The alternative layout pioneered by Nash "became established practice and continues to form the basis of the modern and more sophisticated automatic climate control systems." 1951 saw the introduction of the Anglo-American Nash-Healey sports car, a collaborative effort between George Mason and British sports car manufacturer Donald Healey. Healey designed and built the chassis and suspension and also, until 1952, the aluminum body which another British manufacturer, Panelcraft Sheet Metal Co. Ltd., fabricated in Birmingham. Nash shipped the powertrain components. Healey assembled the cars, which were then shipped to the U.S. for sale. In 1952 the Italian designer Battista Farina restyled the body, and its construction changed to steel and aluminum. High costs, low sales and Nash's focus on the Rambler line led to the termination of Nash-Healey production in 1954 after 506 automobiles had been produced. In January 1954 Nash announced the acquisition of the Hudson Motor Car Company as a friendly merger, creating American Motors Corporation (AMC). To improve the financial performance of the combined companies, all production beginning with the 1955 Nash and Hudson models would happen at Nash's Kenosha plant. Nash would focus most of its marketing dollars on its smaller Rambler models, and Hudson would focus its marketing dollars on its full-sized cars. The Nash Metropolitan produced with the British Motor Corporation, which had been marketed under both the Nash and Hudson brands, became a make unto its own in 1957, as did the Rambler. The Ramblers quickly overtook Nash and Hudson as the leading line of cars manufactured by AMC. In 1970, American Motors acquired Kaiser Jeep (the descendant of Willys-Overland Motors) and its Toledo, Ohio, based manufacturing facilities. In the early 1980s, AMC entered into a partnership with Renault which was looking for a re-entry into the American market in the 1980s. AMC was ultimately acquired by Chrysler Corporation in 1987, becoming the Jeep-Eagle division.
The first “Wienermobile”, an automobile shaped like a hot dog used to advertise Oscar Mayer products, created by Oscar’s nephew, Carl G. Mayer, rolled out of General Body Company’s factory in Chicago, Illinois, US. The cost of the promotional vehicle was 5000 dollars. Although gas rationing kept the Wienermobile off the road during World War II, in the 1950s Oscar Mayer and the Gerstenslager Company created several new vehicles using a Dodge chassis or a Willys Jeep chassis. One of these models is on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. These Wienermobiles were piloted by "Little Oscar" who would visit stores, schools, orphanages, and children's hospitals and participate in parades and festivals. In 1969, new Wienermobiles were built on a Chevrolet motor home chassis and featured Ford Thunderbird taillights. The 1969 vehicle was the first Wienermobile to travel outside the United States. In 1976 Plastic Products, Inc., built a fiberglass and styrofoam model, again on a Chevrolet motor home chassis. In 1988, Oscar Mayer launched its Hotdogger program, where recent college graduates were hired to drive the Wienermobile through various parts of the nation and abroad. Using a converted Chevrolet van chassis, Stevens Automotive Corporation and noted industrial designer Brooks Stevens built a fleet of six Wienermobiles for the new team of Hotdoggers. With the 1995 version, the Wienermobile grew in size to 27 feet long and 11 feet high. The 2004 version of the Wienermobile includes a voice-activated GPS navigation device, an audio center with a wireless microphone, a horn that plays the Wiener Jingle in 21 different genres from Cajun to Rap to Bossa Nova, according to American Eats, and sports fourth generation Pontiac Firebird taillights. Following mechanical problems with the Isuzu Elf, Oscar Mayer decided to adopt a larger chassis in order to accommodate an increase in size of the signature wiener running through the middle. While the Wienermobile was not as long as the 1995 version, it was considerably wider and taller. Craftsmen Industries went through numerous overhauls of the truck including a flipped axle and a leveling kit. This version held a record for numerous suspension problems, most leading to the chassis not being able to hold the large weight of the Oscar Mayer Wiener. In 2004, Oscar Mayer announced a contest whereby customers could win the right to use the Wienermobile for a day. Within a month, the contest had generated over 15,000 entries
An Oscar Mayer Wienermobile in Rochester, Minnesota in 2012Show Article
The first Willys-built Jeep prototype was presented to the United States Army for testing. In 1939, the U.S. Army asked America's automobile manufacturers to submit designs for a simple and versatile military vehicle. With the U.S. declaration of war, mass production of the Willys-Overland Jeep began in 1941. By the war's end in 1945, some 600,000 Jeeps had rolled off the assembly lines and onto the battlefields of Asia, Africa, and Europe. The efficient and sturdy four-wheel drive Jeep became a symbol of the American war effort--no obstacle could stop its advance. Somewhere along the line the vehicle acquired the name "Jeep," likely evolving from the initials G.P. for "general purchase" vehicle, and the nickname stuck. In 1945, Willys-Overland introduced the first civilian Jeep vehicle, the CJ-2A--the forefather of today's sport utility vehicles.
Willys Quad Jeep, delivered to the Army 13 November 1940Show Article
The Ford Motor Company delivered two jeep prototypes for testing at the US Army proving grounds at Camp Holabird, Maryland. They were the only vehicles among competing vendors to survive the army’s arduous truck test. Both units were built on the same chassis, one with a Ford built body and one with a body by the Budd Company, a Ford subcontractor and specialist in steel auto bodies. The Budd design, derived from the Bantam specifications, looked more like the Bantam BRC-60 than Ford's body design which had some unique Ford inspirations. The Ford body was immediately preferred by the Army and the Budd unit was withdrawn. Of particular interest is the Ford Pygmy front end, with its flat grill and headlights in a protected position behind the grill, which was the model for all future jeeps. The Pygmy also originated the use of a double bow for the top canvas and the two piece opening, folding windshield. By the end of World War Two, Ford had built almost 280,000 of what Army-speak referred to as a ‘light reconnaissance and command quarter-ton 4X4’. That forerunner of today’s Sport Utility Vehicle was also known as a GP or GPW – shortened to ‘jeep’.
Ford Pygmy Prototype JeepShow Article
Ford built its first general purpose (or "jeep") vehicle for U.S. military at Rouge Plant, Detroit, Michigan. Small in size and light in weight, these new vehicles were designed to carry out a number of duties including quick troop transport, towing anti-tank guns and other light auxiliary and artillery pieces. Standardized features for the WW2 Army Jeep included a three-speed floor gearshift (first-gear unsynchronized), a center hand-brake, and a 15-gallon gas tank located under the driver's seat. The six-volt electrical system included a 2H battery and 40-amp generator. Wipers were operated manually. At each corner of the truck, and at the center of either side, handles wre mounted for lifting the truck up and out of tough spots. Every Army Jeep was fitted with a pintle tow-hook. Highly maneuverable and versatile in operation, these vehicles proved worthy right from the start. The Ford GP originated many of the design features that became part of the standard World War II Army Jeep®. Many features of the Ford GP found their way into the final wartime design. This new revolutionary type of military vehicle played a major role in the US’s defense effort allowing the soldiers to traverse any type of terrain. Most of the Ford GPs were eventually sent to England, Russia, and other Allies under the Lend-Lease program. With the Allies' victory in the summer of 1945, World-War Two came to an end. The last Ford GPW was built in July and the last Willys MB in August. Ford unsuccessfully sued Willys for the rights to the term "Jeep", leaving Willys full rights to the name. Although the Willys company neither coined the term nor designed the original vehicle, their name became synonymous with Jeep. Willys continued to manufacture Military Jeeps, and would soon start producing the Willys Civilian Jeep as well.
Ford World War II JeepShow Article
The first Jeep CJ-2A was produced.Show Article
The Kaiser-Frazer Corporation was organised with Henry J Kaiser as Chairman of the Board and Joseph W Frazer as President and General Manager. In 1946 Kaiser-Frazer displayed prototypes of their two new cars at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. The Kaiser was of an advanced front wheel drive design while the Frazer was an upscale conventional rear wheel drive car. The production costs and the limited time available prevented the front wheel drive design from entering production, so the new 1947 Kaiser and Frazer shared bodies and powertrains. Being some of the first newly designed cars on the market while the "Big Three" were still marketing their pre-war designs, the Kaisers and Frazers made an exciting entrance. Kaiser and Frazer continued to share bodies and engines through 1950 with different exterior and interior trim.Henry Kaiser had no automotive marketing experience; Joseph Frazer did, having held various positions with Packard, GM, Chrysler, and Willys-Overland. Kaiser believed in pressing forward in the face of adversity, while Frazer was more pragmatic. As the market for Kaiser-Frazer products slowed in 1949 with the introduction of new designs from the Big Three, Kaiser pushed for more production, creating an oversupply of cars that took until mid-1950 to sell. Kaiser and Frazer had repeated disagreements on how aggressive production should be until, finally, Joseph Frazer left the company in 1951 and the Frazer nameplate was dropped after a short 10,000 unit production run in 1951 that used up the remaining inventory of the 1949-50 bodies. In 1952, the Kaiser-Frazer Corporation was renamed Kaiser Motors Corporation and continued building passenger cars through 1955. In 1953 Kaiser bought the ailing Willys-Overland company for US$63,381,175 and merged the Kaiser and Willys operations under the name Kaiser-Willys Corporation. The decision was then made to exit the passenger car market, which was accomplished at the end of the 1955 model year. By 1956, Willys Motors built only utility vehicles, many for export, and was turning a healthy profit. In 1970, the Kaiser Jeep Corporation, as the company had been renamed in 1963, was sold to American Motors Corporation. Production of Kaiser-Frazer models was centered at Willow Run, Michigan. Willow Run, the largest building in the world at that time, was built by the U.S. government just prior to WWII for Henry Ford to build B-24 Liberator bombers. Once the war ended, Ford had no interest in the facility, and the War Assets Administration began a search for someone to lease or buy the building. When K-F expressed interest in the facility, the WAA offered them an attractive five-year lease rate. K-F also had manufacturing facilities in Jefferson MI; Long Beach CA; Portland OR; Leaside, Ontario, Canada; Haifa, Israel; Kawasaki, Japan; Mexico City and Rotterdam (known as "Nekaf", for Nederlandse Kaiser-Frazer fabrieken). U.S. production was concentrated at Toledo, Ohio, upon the purchase of Willys-Overland starting in 1953; the Willow Run facility was sold to General Motors after GM suffered a disastrous fire at their Livonia, Michigan, Hydramatic automatic transmission plant and needed a facility quickly to resume production.
Kaiser-Frazer automobiles, formed after World War II by industrialist Henry J. Kaiser and Joseph W. Frazer, president of the Graham-Paige Motor Company, displayed prototypes of their two new cars at New York's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The Kaiser was of an advanced front wheel drive design while the Frazer was an upscale conventional rear wheel drive car. The production costs and the limited time available prevented the front wheel drive design from entering production, so the new 1947 Kaiser and Frazer shared bodies and powertrains. Being some of the first newly designed cars on the market while the "Big Three" were still marketing their pre-war designs, the Kaisers and Frazers made an exciting entrance. Kaiser and Frazer continued to share bodies and engines through 1950 with different exterior and interior trim. Henry Kaiser had no automotive marketing experience; Joseph Frazer did, having held various positions with Packard, GM, Chrysler, and Willys-Overland. Kaiser believed in pressing forward in the face of adversity, while Frazer was more pragmatic. As the market for Kaiser-Frazer products slowed in 1949 with the introduction of new designs from the Big Three, Kaiser pushed for more production, creating an oversupply of cars that took until mid-1950 to sell. Kaiser and Frazer had repeated disagreements on how aggressive production should be until, finally, Joseph Frazer left the company in 1951 and the Frazer nameplate was dropped after a short 10,000 unit production run in 1951 that used up the remaining inventory of the 1949-50 bodies. In 1952, the Kaiser-Frazer Corporation was renamed Kaiser Motors Corporation and continued building passenger cars through 1955. In 1953 Kaiser bought the ailing Willys-Overland company for US$63,381,175 and merged the Kaiser and Willys operations under the name Kaiser-Willys Corporation. The decision was then made to exit the passenger car market, which was accomplished at the end of the 1955 model year. By 1956, Willys Motors built only utility vehicles, many for export, and was turning a healthy profit. In 1970, the Kaiser Jeep Corporation, as the company had been renamed in 1963, was sold to American Motors Corporation. Production of Kaiser-Frazer models was centered at Willow Run, Michigan. Willow Run, the largest building in the world at that time, was built by the U.S. government just prior to World War II for Henry Ford to build B-24 Liberator bombers. Once the war ended, Ford had no interest in the facility, and the War Assets Administration began a search for someone to lease or buy the building. When K-F expressed interest in the facility, the WAA offered them an attractive five-year lease rate. K-F also had manufacturing facilities in Jefferson MI; Long Beach CA; Portland OR; Leaside, Ontario, Canada; Haifa, Israel; Kawasaki, Japan; Mexico City and Rotterdam (known as "Nekaf", for Nederlandse Kaiser-Frazer fabrieken). U.S. production was concentrated at Toledo, Ohio, upon the purchase of Willys-Overland starting in 1953; the Willow Run facility was sold to General Motors after GM suffered a disastrous fire at their Livonia, Michigan, Hydramatic automatic transmission plant and needed a facility quickly to resume production.
Illustration from a 1946 Kaiser-Frazier brochure of the 1947 front-wheel drive Kaiser.Show Article
The Willys-Overland Company introduced the Jeepster, a sporty variant of the standard Jeep designed by Brooks Stevens.Show Article
The 1,000,000th Jeep was produced. In 1939, the American Bantam Car Company submitted its original design for an all-terrain troop transport vehicle--featuring four-wheel drive, masked fender-mount headlights, and a rifle rack under the dash--to the U.S. Armed Forces. The Army loved Bantam's design, but the development contract for the vehicle was ultimately awarded to the Willys-Overland Company for its superior production capabilities. Bantam wound up fulfilling a government contract for 3,000 vehicles during the war; but the Jeep, as designed by Willys-Overland, would become the primary troop transport of the U.S. Army. Mass production of the Willys Jeep began after the U.S. declaration of war in 1941. The name "Jeep" is reportedly derived from the Army's request that car manufacturers develop a "General Purpose" vehicle. "Gee Pee" turned to "Jeep" somewhere along the battle lines. Another story maintains that the name came from a character in the Popeye cartoon who, like the vehicle, was capable of incredible feats. The Willys Jeep became a cultural icon in the U.S. during World War II, as images of G.I.'s in "Gee Pees," liberating Europe, saturated newsreels in movie theaters across the country. Unlike the Hummer of recent years, the Jeep was not a symbol of technological superiority but rather of the courage of the American spirit--a symbol cartoonist Bill Mauldin captured when he drew a weeping soldier firing a bullet into his broken down Willys Jeep. By 1945, 660,000 Jeeps had rolled off the assembly lines and onto battlefields in Asia, Africa, and Europe. Many remained abroad after the war, where their parts were integrated into other vehicles or their broken bodies were mended with colorful impromptu repairs. Wherever the Jeep roamed, it lived up to its design as a vehicle for general use. During the war, Jeep hoods were used as altars for field burials. Jeeps were also used as ambulances, tractors, and scout cars. After the war, surplus Jeeps found their way into civilian life as snowplows, field plows, and mail carriers. Willys-Overland released its first civilian Jeep model, called the CJ (Civilian Jeep) in 1945.
The last Crosley automobile was produced at their Marion factory in Indiana, US. Incorporated in 1939, Crosley Motors began assembling mini-cars in Richmond Indiana. The first Crosley was a two-door convertible. It weighed less than 1,000 pounds and sold for $250. In the beginning, his idea was for these small cars to be sold in department stores that also sold his radios and refrigerators: since the car was only 48 inches wide, it could be moved through a standard commercial store door. While there were some stores, such as Macy’s in New York, that displayed Crosley automobiles next to the Crosley refrigerators, the idea of selling cars in department stores did not really catch on. According to some reports, Mrs. Averell Harriman was the first Macy’s customer to buy a Crosley. The Crosley dealer network developed primarily as extensions of filling stations and automobile repair shops. In 1941, Crosley brought out some new body styles: both two- and four-door convertibles, a station wagon, a panel truck, a pickup, and a convertible sedan (this featured windows for the rear seat passengers). There was also the Parkway Delivery (a mini-panel truck with no roof over the front seat) and Covered Wagon (a convertible pickup truck with a removable back seat). With the top in place, the Covered Wagon functioned as a car and with the top down and the rear seat removed it became a ¼ ton pickup truck. A record-setting gas mileage run was made by Cannonball Baker in a Crosley Covered Wagon. He drove from Cincinnati to Los Angeles, then back through New Orleans, Jacksonville, and New York. The trip covered 6,517 miles and the Crosley averaged more than 50 miles per gallon. The Crosleys came equipped with a speedometer (60 mph maximum), ammeter, oil pressure gauge, and a hand-cranked windshield wiper. The windows slid open for ventilation and for signaling. In the summer, many Crosley owners simply removed the windows. The glove compartment was large enough for a pair of gloves, but little more. Prices for the 1941 models ranged from $315 for the 915 pound two-passenger convertible to $470 for the four-passenger station wagon which weighed 1160 pounds. At this time, the Cadillac Fleetwood sold for $2,195 and the Lincoln Continental convertible sold for $2,700. World War II brought gasoline rationing to the United States. With good gas mileage—50 mpg—the Crosley became an attractive vehicle. However, the war ended the production of all civilian automobiles in the United States, including the Crosley. Less than 6,000 prewar Crosleys were built. Following the war, Crosley car production resumed in 1946 with the new, larger, and aerodynamic CC model. At this time the public was car-hungry and ready to buy anything with an engine and four wheels. Initially, suppliers couldn’t provide nameplates for the cars and so Crosley had the name painted three inches high in red on the front and rear bumpers. The first post-war Crosleys were available only in grey with red seats. The speedometer now went to 70 mph and the glove compartment had been enlarged so that it could hold two pairs of gloves. In 1948, Crosley introduced the term “Sport Utility” with an open model based on a wagon. In 1948, Crosley introduced the first real postwar sports car in America: the HotShot. It sold for less than $1,000 and featured coil springs on the rear wheels and disc brakes on all four wheels. In 1950, Crosley brought out the Farm-O-Road model which was a small utility vehicle. The Farm-O-Road was designed: “To do big jobs on small farms, and smaller jobs on big farms.” The vehicle looked like a small Jeep and was intended for rural customers who wanted a vehicle for doing chores around the farm and which could take them into town as well. The base price was $795 and options included dual rear wheels, a pickup bed which could come with a hydraulic dump, power take-off on both front and rear, a rear seat, a top, and side window curtains. Attachments included such items as a 10-inch plow, a sickle bar mower, and a three-gang reel mower. Crosley’s best year was 1948 when 24,871 cars were sold. Sales began to slip in 1949. By 1951 production was down to 300 cars per month and in 1952 only 1,522 Crosley’s were sold at which time production stopped. There were plans to merge Crosley with Nash, but when Nash merged with Hudson that merger did not happen.
The 1953 Jeep four-wheel-drive wagons were introduced.Show Article
The Jeep CJ-3B was introduced.Show Article
The Willys-Overland Company, which brought America the Jeep, celebrated its golden anniversary. The original design for an all-terrain troop transport vehicle--featuring four-wheel drive, masked fender-mount headlights, and a rifle rack under the dash, was submitted to the U.S. Armed Forces by the American Bantam Car Company in 1939. The Army loved Bantam's design, but the production contract was ultimately given to Willys-Overland on the basis of its similar design and superior production capabilities. Mass production of the Willys Jeep began after the U.S. declaration of war in 1941. By 1945, 600,000 Jeeps had rolled off the assembly lines and onto battlefields in Asia, Africa, and Europe. The name "Jeep" is supposedly derived from the Army's request to car manufacturers to develop a "General Purpose" vehicle. "Gee Pee" turned to "Jeep" somewhere along the battle lines.
Bird's-eye view of Willys-Overland Co.. Toledo. O.Show Article
Kaiser bought the ailing Willys-Overland company for US$63,381,175 and merged the Kaiser and Willys operations under the name Kaiser-Willys Corporation. The decision was then made to exit the passenger car market, which was accomplished at the end of the 1955 model year. By 1956, Willys Motors built only utility vehicles, many for export, and was turning a healthy profit. In 1970, the Kaiser Jeep Corporation, as the company had been renamed in 1963, was sold to American Motors Corporation. Production of Kaiser-Frazer models was centered at Willow Run, Michigan. Willow Run, the largest building in the world at that time, was built by the U.S. government just prior to WWII for Henry Ford to build B-24 Liberator bombers. Once the war ended, Ford had no interest in the facility, and the War Assets Administration began a search for someone to lease or buy the building. When K-F expressed interest in the facility, the WAA offered them an attractive five-year lease rate. K-F also had manufacturing facilities in Jefferson MI; Long Beach CA; Portland OR; Leaside, Ontario, Canada; Haifa, Israel; Kawasaki, Japan; Mexico City and Rotterdam (known as "Nekaf", for Nederlandse Kaiser-Frazer fabrieken). U.S. production was concentrated at Toledo, Ohio, upon the purchase of Willys-Overland starting in 1953; the Willow Run facility was sold to General Motors after GM suffered a disastrous fire at their Livonia, Michigan, Hydramatic automatic transmission plant and needed a facility quickly to resume production.
The Hudson Motor Car Company merged with Nash-Kelvinator, a car manufacturer formed in turn by the merger of the Nash automobile firm and the Kelvinator kitchen-appliance company. The new concern was called the American Motors Corporation. At the time, it was the largest corporate merger in US history. By the end of 1957 the original Nash and Hudson brands were completely phased out. The company struggled at first, but Rambler sales took off. After two model years (1963 and 1964) of only producing compact cars, AMC focused back to larger and more profitable cars like the Ambassador line from the perceived negative of the Rambler's economy car image. In the face of deteriorating financial and market positions, Roy D. Chapin, Jr., took charge to revitalize the company, and designer Richard A. Teague economized by developing several vehicles from common stampings. While prices and costs were cut, new and more sporty automobiles were introduced, and from 1968 AMC became known for the Javelin and AMX muscle cars. AMC purchased Kaiser's Jeep utility vehicle operations in 1970 to complement their existing passenger car business. From 1980, AMC partnered with France's Renault to help finance their manufacturing operations, obtain much-needed capital, and source subcompact vehicles. Renault sold its 47% ownership stake in AMC to Chrysler. Chrysler made a public offer to purchase all the remaining outstanding shares of AMC stock on the NYSE. Renault left the US market completely as a brand in 1987. The Renault Medallion was sold through the newly formed Jeep Eagle Division of Chrysler as an Eagle, not a Renault. AMC's badge would be used on the Eagle Sports Wagon through the 1988 model year, then be eliminated entirely. The Jeep/Eagle division of Chrysler Corporation was formed from the AMC Jeep Renault dealer network. The Jeep and Eagle vehicles were marketed primarily by former AMC dealers. Ultimately, the Eagle Brand of car would be phased out like Chrysler's DeSoto, Plymouth, and Imperial by 1998.
The 500,000th post-World War II Jeep was produced.Show Article
The first Jeep CJ-5 was produced. A total of 603,303 CJ-5s were produced between 1954 and 1983.
Jeep CJ-5Show Article
The Jeep FC-150 3/4 -ton pickup was introduced as a 1957 model.Show Article
The Jeep Wagoneer was introduced.Show Article
Karl Probst (59), credited with the design of the Jeep in 1940, died. The original Jeep was created by American Bantam Car Company in Butler, Pennsylvania, designed for use by the U.S Army during World War II. Probst drafted the design for the Jeep in two days, commencing on 17 June 1940. Bantam's first hand-built prototype was complete and running by September 21, 1940, just meeting the 49-day deadline and was delivered to the Army Quartermaster Corps for testing at Camp Holabird, MD.Show Article
The 11th Tokyo Motor Show opened. The Toyota Corona, the third generation RT 40, made its debut to compete with the Bluebird. Toyota equipped the Crown Eight with a V8 engine to contend with foreign cars, while Isuzu Bellet 1300 and 1500 Coupe & GT, and the 6 cylinder Skyline GT long-nosed "sheep skinned wolf" attracted attention. Other models that made their debut included Hino Contessa 1300, Bluebird 2-door saloon, Mazda Familia 800, Publica Sports, and Datsun Coupe (Silvia). In the foreign car division, displays included the Triumph series (UK), Jeep Wagoneer (US) developed from the Jeep, a masterpiece produced by World War II, and the 4 wheel-drive Huflinger (Austria), creating a slightly international mood.
Toyota Crown EightShow Article
The Ford Bronco, intended to compete against Jeep's CJ-5 and International Harvester's Scout, was introduced, feeding the burgeoning four-wheel-drive market. The first Broncos were very simple, without options such as power steering or automatic transmission. The idea behind the Bronco began with Ford product manager Donald N. Frey, who also conceived the Ford Mustang; and similarly, Lee Iacocca pushed the idea through into production. In many ways, the Bronco was a more original concept than the Mustang; whereas the Mustang was based upon the Ford Falcon, the Bronco had a frame, suspension, and a body that were not shared with any other vehicle.The Bronco was designed under engineer Paul G. Axelrad. Although the axles and brakes were used from the Ford F-100 four wheel drive pickup truck, the front axle was located by radius arms (from the frame near the rear of the transmission forward to the axle) and a lateral track bar, allowing the use of coil springs that gave the Bronco a 34-foot (10.4 m) turning circle, long wheel travel, and an anti-dive geometry which was useful for snowplowing. The rear suspension was more conventional, with leaf springs in a typical Hotchkiss design. A shift-on the-fly Dana Holding Corporation transfer case and locking hubs were standard, and heavy-duty suspension was an option. The initial engine was the Ford 170 cu in (2.8 L) straight-6, modified with solid valve lifters, a 6-US-quart (6 l) oil pan, heavy-duty fuel pump, oil-bath air cleaner, and a carburetor with a float bowl compensated against tilting. Styling was subordinated to simplicity and economy, so all glass was flat, bumpers were straight C-sections, the frame was a simple box-section ladder, and the basic left and right door skins were identical except for mounting holes. The early Broncos were offered in wagon, halfcab, and a less popular roadster configuration. The roadster version was dropped and the sport package, which later became a model line, was added. The base price was US$2,194, but the long option list included front bucket seats, a rear bench seat, a tachometer, and a CB radio, as well as functional items such as a tow bar, an auxiliary gas tank, a power take-off, a snowplow, a winch, and a posthole digger. Aftermarket accessories included campers, overdrive units, and the usual array of wheels, tires, chassis, and engine parts for increased performance. The Bronco sold well in its first year (23,776 units produced) and then remained in second place after the CJ-5 until the advent of the full-sized Chevrolet Blazer in 1969. Lacking a dedicated small SUV platform, the Blazer was based on their existing full size pickup which was a larger and more powerful vehicle, offering greater luxury, comfort and space. The longer option list included an automatic transmission and power steering, and thus had broader appeal. Ford countered by enlarging the optional V8 engine from 289 cu in (4.7 L) and 200 hp (150 kW) to 302 cu in (4.9 L) and 205 hp (153 kW), but this still could not match the Blazer's optional 350 cu in (5.7 L) and 255 hp (190 kW) (horsepower numbers are before horsepower ratings changed in the early to mid-1970s.) In 1973, the 170 was replaced by a 200 cu in (3.3 L) straight six, power steering and automatic transmissions were made optional, and sales spiked to 26,300. By then, however, Blazer sales were double those of the Bronco, and International Harvester had seen the light and come out with the Scout II that was more in the Blazer class. By 1974, the larger and more comfortable vehicles such as the Jeep Cherokee (SJ) made more sense for the average driver than the more rustically oriented Bronco. The low sales of the Bronco (230,800 over twelve years) did not allow a large budget for upgrades, and it remained basically unchanged until the advent of the larger, more Blazer-like second generation-Bronco in 1978. Production of the original model fell (14,546 units) in its last year, 1977.
Ford Bronco - 1966Show Article
AM General Corporation (producers of Hummer vehicles) was founded as a wholly owned subsidiary of the American Motor Corporation and separate from the Jeep Corporation.Show Article
One of the more successful developments caused by reactions to the OPEC crisis was unveiled when a Buick Apollo with a reworked 1960’s Fireball V-6 engine was driven by Chief Engineer Phillip C. Bowser from Flint, to the General Motors’ (GM) building in Detroit, Michigan where President Edward N. Cole drove it to the former Kaiser-Jeep Corporation plant in Toledo, Ohop. GM had sold the old tooling to Kaiser Jeep in 1965 where it was renamed the Dauntless 255 for installation in CJ-5 Jeeps. When AMC purchased Kaiser Jeep in 1970, the engine was again retired. By 1974, Buick had bought back the tooling from AMC as a hedge against delays in the planned Wankel engines, and the V-6 was soon appearing in Buicks, and by 1978, a turbocharged version was in Regals and LeSabres. This motor went on the power the storied Grand National and GNX Buicks. Production ended in August 2008. The venerable Buick Fireball / 3800 V6 survived in various forms for 47 years, often outliving newer engines originally intended to replace it.Show Article
AMC marked the 25th anniversary of the Nash-Hudson merger with "Silver Anniversary" editions of the AMC Concord and Jeep CJ in two-tone silver (Jeeps then accounted for around 50% of the company's sales and most of its profits); and introduced "LeCar", a U.S. version of the small, fuel-efficient Renault 5, in dealer showrooms.
The Jeep Scrambler CJ-8 was introduced as a mid year model.Show Article
Arnold Schwarzenegger was cited for driving without a license after he drove his Jeep into a ditch with Maria Shriver aboard. No one was hurt.Show Article
The Jeep Wrangler was introduced as a 1987 model, replacing the Jeep CJ.Show Article
The 80th Chicago Auto Show opened. On display were the Ford Probe, Chevrolet Cavalier Z24, Mercedes Benz 300 SE, Jeep Cherokee sport and the tenth anniversary of the Mazda RX-7. Concept vehicles included the Dodge Intrepid, Ford DM-1, Lincoln Machete, Plymouth Slingshot and Pontiac Banshee.
Former Supreme Mary Wilson was injured and her son, Rafael (14) was killed when their Jeep hit a highway median and overturned near Barstow, California.Show Article
The Chrysler Corporation opened a car dealership in downtown Hanoi, Vietnam. One week later, Chrysler opened another dealership in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, with the intention of marketing 200 import vehicles per year through the two dealerships. The openings were a part of Chrysler's long-term goal of implementing auto production in Vietnam--something that rivals Ford and Toyota were also pursuing at the time. On September 6, Chrysler received permission from the Vietnamese government to assemble vehicles in Vietnam, allowing Chrysler to construct a production facility in Dong Nai Province, Southern Vietnam, with the aim of manufacturing 500 to 1,000 Dodge Dakota pick-up trucks for the Vietnamese market annually. Chrysler Vice President of International Operations Tom Gale stated, "We're taking a very long term view with our program in Vietnam. Southeast Asia is a significant market on our international growth strategy, so it is vital to establish a foothold there now. Since it is a young market, it will take several years before we can produce at capacity level." Chrysler planned to achieve production of 17,000 vehicles annually in three car types: the Neon, the Dakota, and the Jeep Cherokee. Of the significant hang-ups faced by the foreign car companies attempting to set up shop in Vietnam was the Vietnamese government's refusal to give up rice pasture land for the construction of new production facilities. The American car companies also met resistance from some Vietnam veterans groups, but Chrysler held that it would not have gone forward with its move unless it met with the nation's approval. On this issue, Gale said, "By starting business here we feel we're helping the healing process. We have consulted with veterans groups and the U.S. government. Some feel it's time to move on. Many of the veterans groups support American investment in Vietnam as an outlet to increase access to the country."Show Article
After being alerted by his wife Pam Dawber, actor Mark Harmon saved two teenagers who were trapped inside a burning Jeep Cherokee in Los Angeles, California. The Cherokee had crashed into a tree, flipped over, and burst into flames outside the couple's home. A neighbour was calling the Fire Department when Harmon ran out with a sledghammer and broke the windows.Show Article
Former Argentine soccer star Diego Maradona survived a dramatic car crash as he drove his jeep head on into an oncoming tourist bus on a darkened Cuban highway. He denied that he had been drunk or drugged prior to the accident.Show Article
Automotive concept vehicles exhibited at the 100th Chicago Auto Show included the Buick Bengal convertible, Ford Forty Nine dream car, Cadillac Vizon crossover, Jeep Willys, Chevy Borrego and Hyundai HCD6 Roadster.
Peter Raymond George "Possum" Bourne, (47) a champion New Zealand rally car driver died of head injuries sustained in a non-competitive car crash on April 18, 2003. He was driving the Race to the Sky track, which is normally a public road, for the event held in Cardona, near Wanaka, New Zealand. Driving his Subaru Outback, he collided head on with a Jeep Cherokee driven by rally driver Mike Barltrop who claimed that Possum was speeding. Mr Barlthrop was later arrested on a dangerous driving charge.
Possum BourneShow Article
Daniel Bedingfield suffered two fractured vertebrae in his neck after the jeep he was driving rolled over and crashed when on holiday in New Zealand. Emergency workers had to cut the singer free before he could be taken to hospital. A couple of months later the "Gotta Get Thru This" singer survived another crash en route to Manchester from London when the car he was a passenger in was struck by a passing truck.Show Article
New exhibitors at the Chicago Auto Show included Chicago's own International Truck, featuring its CXT concept. Also new was a 20,000 sq.ft. exhibit by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA). More than a dozen excitiy concept vehicles at the '05 show included the Ford SYNus, Jeep Hurricane, Lexus LF-A, Mercury Meta One, Chrysler Firepower, Jaguar Advanced Lightweight Coupe and Suzuki Concept-X.
A Jeep hit a patch of ice on Elvis Presley Boulevard and crashed through ‘the graffiti wall’ outside the Graceland mansion. No-one was hurt in the accident.Show Article
Terrorist Kafeel Ahmed deliberately drove a dark-green Jeep Cherokee into the glass doors of the main terminal of Glasgow International Airport. Although the car burst into flames, the car bomb failed to detonate. Ahmed, on fire after dousing himself in fuel, together with passenger Bilal Abdulla, attacked the police. Fire extinguishers were used to put Ahmed out and he was subsequently tackled by two police officers and bystanders. He later died from serious burns sustained in the attack, and his accomplice Abdulla was jailed for a minimum of 32 years.Show Article
At the Defence Systems & Equipment International trade show, Chrysler LLC unveiled a Wrangler Unlimited version designed for military use dubbed the J8. The unarmored Jeep J8 was equipped with larger brakes, axles and suspension components than the civilian version and had a payload capacity of 1,339 kg (2,952 lb). The J8 also differed from the civilian model by utilizing heavy-duty rear leaf springs for carrying heavier payloads. The Jeep J8 was powered by a 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine that produced 158 hp. The engine was mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. The J8 also features a unique air-intake system with special filtration and a hood-mounted snorkel that enabled the J8 to wade in water up to 30 inch deep and tackle sandstorm conditions for up to five hours. Targeted for use by the militaries in overseas markets, the J8 was not available in the United States because it did not meet U.S. emissions requirements. The J8 was be produced in Egypt.
Jeep J8 2.8 L Turbo dieselShow Article
Chrysler Group LLC recalled nearly 600,000 minivans and Jeep Wranglers because of brake or wiring problems that could become safety issues.Show Article
A US jury ordered automaker Chrysler to pay $150 million to the family of a four-year-old boy who was killed when their Jeep exploded into flames. Remington Walden was killed in March 2012 in the US state of Georgia when a car rear-ended the 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee he was in, causing the fuel tank behind the car's rear axle to leak and set the car on fire.Show Article
The Jeep brand celebrated its 75th anniversary during the Super Bowl 50 broadcast with two special commercials. The two videos – “Portraits” and “4x4ever” paid tribute to Jeep’s legacy and look ahead to its future. “Portraits” was a nod to the past, an acknowledgment to the many people, faces and moments that have shaped the history of the brand beginning in 1941. With an original music score, “Portraits” uses more than 60 carefully curated images from around the world and features stars such as Marilyn Monroe, BB King, Aretha Franklin and Steve McQueen, plus iconic Jeeps. “4x4ever” was aimed at driving Jeep towards the future, embodying the vehicles’ off-road soul and on-road performance.Show Article