A Brief History of Jeep CJ and Wrangler Vehicles
Civilian Jeep CJs
The first civilian Jeep vehicle was built to replace farm horses on working farms.
Fun fact: from 1949-1964, either a complete Jeep vehicle or chassis was used on all Zamboni® ice resurfacing machines.
This was the first CJ with a dramatic design departure from Jeep’s military forefather—the Willys MB. A new engine made 25 percent more horsepower than the previous generation.
Recreational off-roaders were growing, and the CJ-5 was the answer. This model featured a larger wheelbase, improved suspension, and enhanced seating comfort. In 1965, the CJ-5 was equipped with an all-new “Dauntless” V6 which basically doubled the power of the standard four-cylinder. The CJ-5 has the longest production run of any Jeep vehicle.
The CJ-6 was built in response to customers’ desire for more cargo and passenger room. They feature a 101-inch wheelbase—20 inches longer than the CJ-5. Heavier axles, bigger brakes, and in 1973—304- and 360-cubic-inch V8 options turned the CJ into an off-road powerhouse. Today, the CJ-6 is a popular collector vehicle.
The CJ-7 was the first Jeep vehicle to offer an automatic transmission as well as an optional molded plastic hard top and steel doors. This seventh-generation model was the first major redesign in 20 years.
CJ-8 Scrambler (1981-85)
The CJ-8 Scrambler was a small pickup geared for Jeep owners craving more room. They’re super-popular with car collectors and off-road enthusiasts. President Ronald Reagan famously drove a blue one on his California ranch.
Civilian Jeep Wranglers
The Jeep Wrangler replaced the 40-year CJ series and launched the Wrangler name. The YJ series is currently the only Wrangler/CJ style to feature square headlights.
The TJ featured a total suspension overhaul that replaced leaf springs with Jeep’s Quadra-Coil suspension. It was the biggest advancement yet for Wrangler’s on-road ride quality. (Note: The TJ was released in early 1996 as a 1997 model so, technically speaking, there was no “1996” model Wrangler.)
Enter the Wrangler Unlimited. Unofficially nicknamed the “LJ,” its longer wheelbase made driving on the road better than ever for a Jeep Wrangler.
This is what the JK Wrangler looks like. They are capable on-road vehicles and the most popular off-road vehicles in the world. They offer unrivaled versatility with removable tops and doors and fold-down windshields.
The Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited provides the luxury trim options and functional capabilities of large, family SUVs, while maintaining the off-road ruggedness that has made Jeep the standard bearer in off-roading.
[Update: Since this Ride Guide was initially designed, Jeep has introduced the next-generation Wrangler, the JL. You can learn about it here.]
M83 (MC) (1950-52)
This is a combat-ready version of the CJ-3A, and represents the first post-WWII military Jeep vehicle.
M-38A1 (MD) (1952-71)
Rounded body features, a longer wheelbase, and a more powerful engine became the foundation for what would later be the venerable CJ-5.
All you have to do is look at them. There is NO resemblance at all.
Where can I order this poster?
Where can I buy the Jeep poster
And the cost? 1945 – 2012 please reply soon. Thanks
[…] Give the Jeep folks credit for packing in several advancements and upgrades in a Wrangler body that still maintains that iconic Jeep silhouette. […]
No YJs in 06, just left over 05s
[…] the Civilian Jeep line evolved, so did the DJ, eventually adding DJ-5 and DJ-6 models. (There was even a limited run […]
I think you forgot the Jeepster they had turbo 400 GM transmissions powered by the 225 Buick V6
Where can I find a print of the wrangler identification poster? I want to buy it for wall art
[…] Johnson from Big Tire Garage likes turning Jeeps into serious off-road rigs. And he’s built a lot of them, from the venerable CJ all the way […]
You Missed Two (2) Models of the Military Models (Not Sure What their Names & Designation they were (but the first one was an M38 & the second one was an M38A1) but they had 6 wheels on the ground with the rear 4 in tandem and they were used for pulling 37 Millimeter Anti-Tank guns around, they were extended in length a little longer than a CJ6!
There is another in the M38A1 line (But: there was only one made, it is a museum now) a Concept Vehicle for the Marines to be carried inside Helicopters to wherever it was needed it was called: a “Bobcat” and was Two (2) Feet shorter than a regular M38A1 – Jeep is testing a Newer Model that is an Updated Version called a “Shortcut”, I am not sure if it uses the Narrower Differentials used on the Later CJ5 or the Same Width Diffentials as the M38A1 & the Early CJ5 (but I will be buying one when they start selling them)!
[…] like Willys did with its Jeep CJs, Dodge marketed the Power Wagon to farmers, rig hands, linemen, ranchers, construction […]
[…] some four-wheel drive vehicles maintained leaf springs front and rear into the 1980s. Heck, the Jeep Wrangler YJ rode four leaf springs all the way until […]