What’s in the Name?

Some of this may come to you a quite a surprise. But owning a Jeep has some perks and a few odd quirks you need to know. Here is a list of 5 thing to know about owning a Jeep, specifically a Wrangler.

  • The History
  • The Wave
  • Parking
  • Getting Ducked
  • The Good Life

This post will cover What’s in the Name? I will cover the other 4 things you need to know about owning a Jeep in a later post. Only because this one took more time than I expected.

The Jeep Wrangler History

Most people who own a Jeep Wrangler know their model and a little about what it means. Some think its just a few extra letters. Then there are the non-owners who just really need to move over.

Photo by Denniz Futalan on Pexels.com

The history of the Jeep dates back prior to World War II. Although there are many theories of the origin of the “jeep” name. It has stuck with the vehicle while becoming the one name that most people will use when referring to a Wrangler.

The first known jeep used by the military was a combined design between American Bantam Car company, Willys-Overland, and Ford. Each company and design have their make in what is know known as the Jeep Wrangler. While the Splicer company, known know as DANA, developed the custom four-wheel drive components.

The original design was prototype from American Bantam in the Bantam BRC-40 or Bantam Reconnaissance Car. This designs engine did not meet the military’s needs for torque. The design sent to Willys-Overland where chief engineer Delmar “Barney” Roos redesigned to fit the Willy’s “Go Devil” power plant. This became the Willys standard production of the Model MB built in Ohio.

So where does FORD come into play?

Ford designed a pressed-metal grill that is still the trademark design familiar with the Wrangler today. Ford was also chosen by the Army to produce the Willy’s design when the Army’s requested number from vehicles in a short time frame could not be met. Willys-Overlander granted the government approval to share the licensing including the plans and specifications with Ford.

Until 1942 the was only a few destined way to tell the 2 vehicles apart. While Ford stamped their bolt heads with an “F” and scripted the trademark Ford on the rear panel. Willys followed by adding their own “Willys” stamp on a number of locations throughout the production.

Both companies produced over 640,000 vehicles during the war. however the “Jeep” name was never truly branded until 1945. That is when Willys started producing the Willys CJ-2A and CJ-3A.” Since then the Jeep Wrangler can be identified by their models.

What’s in The Name?

The DJ (Dispatcher Jeep) was the two-wheel drive vehicle used mostly by the US Postal Service. The CJ (Civilian Jeep) was built for many years with a number of improvements along the way. Including model names like Laredo, Renegade, Golden Eagle, and Scrambler the CJ was produced until 1986.

Photo by Luca Nardone on Pexels.com

When in 1987 the CJ model was replaced by the YJ (Yuppie Jeep). This was the same year that AMC sold the Jeep brand to the Chrysler Corporation. The Wrangler was built wider and can be recognized by the change to square headlights. Along with the Laredo and Renegade, Chrysler added the Islander, Sport, Sahara, and Rio Grande models.

Ten years late in 1997 the Wrangler TJ (Trendy Jeep) was introduced. The engineers at Chrysler did a huge revamping this year. Getting back to the signature round CJ headlights along with a new Quadra-Coil™ suspension. The TJ was also given the fold down windshield and a standard factory fit sports bar. These changes gave the Wrangler the title of “4×4 of the Year.” The Wrangler brand added the Rubicon model name in 2003 after adding Dana 44 axles, four-wheel disc brakes, diamond-plate rock rails and a few more goodies still used on the Rubicon today.

In 2007, Chrysler introduced the new Wrangler JK (Just Kickna$$) and the Willys model. With all new interior and exterior designs, Jeep was now becoming a safer and more secure vehicle then ever before. The Wrangler Rubicon added a certified Trail Rated® badge to meet a variety of challenging off-road conditions including traction, ground clearance, maneuverability, articulation and water fording. Also added in 2007 was the Unlimited 4 door models for some extra room.

The modern day Jeep JL (Jeep Legacy) introduced in 2019, carries on the Wrangler name. Adding 3 different 4×4 systems, modern day technology, and a number of added safety features. Along with the Mojave model, Chrysler added more to the JL in 2021 including the 4ex electric Jeep and the 6.4L, 470hp V8 Hemi in the Rubicon 392.

Photo by Ashok Sharma on Pexels.com


Like some Jeep wrangler owners I was skeptical about my purchase. Over the years the Jeep has gotten a bad reputation of over turning. This is primarily due to the driver not being familiar with their vehicle. This includes the high center of gravity on these vehicles when modified. There is more to it than that and this is not a physics lesson.

The Jeep Wrangler has been around for a good number of years. You will be hard pressed to fine any vehicle that has been around as long. Sure you can add an F-150 or a Chevy Pickup to that list. But neither of these vehicles have been part of any military for its entirety. Still making changes in safety for the consumer, while keeping up with a tradition.

I learned a lot about my purchase researching for this post. I am even more enthusiastic about my purchase after. Can not wait to see how long I will stay with a Jeep Wrangler.

Ken Kelli
Ken & Kelli

PS: If you learned something today or want to learn more. Add a comment then “Like” and “Share” I would be happy to hear from you. If you or someone you know owns a Jeep. Add a photo in the comments.

Published by ksag3

After spending over 30 years in Public Safety as a firefighter and paramedic, Ken has retired from a career he loves. Ken was recruited to become part of a Specialized Team that focuses on introducing Holiday Inn Club Vacations and the array of benefits they provide. After, working in an industry where he can continue giving back to people while enjoying the love for travel. Ken makes himself available to help you start planning the memories you deserve for you and your family. You deserve to experience life to its fullest before your time here comes to an end. Ken will even put together a group trip for corporations, businesses, community organizations, and even school trips. This website is dedicated to Public Safety Professionals, Fire Responders, Military Veterans, and all who suffer from PTSD or any mental illness. Ken is sharing where he was, where he is, and more opportunities that just may work for you. Please stop by regularly for future updates.

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