It’s a Jeep Thing, But By Now You’ve Probably Got It

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The first Jeeps born for the battlefield rolled off the assembly lines in 1941 and headed straight for active duty for the United States Army. According to the history of the brand, which had bold plans early on, they would be “forever known for helping win a world war,” according to an imperial slogan: “The Sun Never Sets on the Mighty Jeep.”

After the war, the Jeep came to the farm in a public all-terrain vehicle. The Willys-Overland “jeep”, which won a government contract for army vehicles, was converted into a civilian Jeep or CJ and took its place in showrooms in 1945. This was the world’s first light-duty all-wheel drive vehicle.

He will celebrate his 80th birthday on Thursday.The Jeep has been consistently held by successive owners over the years. It is now part of Stellantis and has held a firm grip on the off-road market ever since. He has an ardent fan base and intends to maintain his status as an electric-focused, off-road king for the future.

According to Christian Meunier, CEO of the Jeep brand, the goal is ambitious: “To make Jeep the greenest SUV brand in the world.”

“By combining sustainability, environmental friendliness and fun, we are taking capacity to the next level.” “For 80 years, the Jeep brand has been indelibly linked to freedom, adventure, authenticity and passion,” he said. And Jeep’s latest version, he added, is the Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid, “just the beginning.”

Jeep owners, who see the slogan “Go Anywhere, Do Everything” not only as words on paper, but also as a way of life, will follow.

“It’s a Jeep thing, you wouldn’t get it,” said Rick Péwé, the brand’s longtime unofficial evangelist-critic, using another catchphrase often used among loyalists. A writer who spent 25 years in publishing and covers most Jeeps, Mr. Péwé retired and became part of the company. Gone-GpnAn online outlet dedicated to the Jeep and its cult.

It has remained loyal to the brand for decades. “My father was a land geologist, so we always had our Jeep,” said Mr Péwé, 64. “I got my first jeep in high school and still have it.” He’s among two dozen Jeeps at his home in Arizona. “Of course, this is my favourite.”

He led many great Jeep trips himself. From Phoenix to Fairbanks, Alaska and his father’s restored 1943 World War II Equipped with a “soft roof, open doors, and lack of power” it delivered a great but wild ride, including tipping. The Jeep was rebuilt and returned home safely. The same jeep continued to complete the famous rubicon trail and was deported from Los Angeles to Nova Scotia and back.

Jeep’s solid capabilities attract fans, and the brand has developed this mystery over the years. “It took Jeep vehicles in North America, Central America and South America,” said Mr. Meunier, in 1978 of what became known as America’s Expedition. “These vehicles crossed the Darién Pass on the Panama-Colombia border,” “swimmed in rivers and cut through terrain that no vehicle had attempted before or since.”

The company said more than 22 million Jeep vehicles have been produced worldwide since 1941. Now its top models are Wrangler and Grand Cherokee.

Shannon Ross, 33, grew up in a small town in Ore, Dallas, pushing specifically the 1953-56 Ford pickup trucks her father and siblings repaired.

“I learned a lot of skill sets from my father, who was a mechanic at D7 Caterpillars in Vietnam,” Ms Ross said. “I built my first car from scratch with it.” Vehicle? 1981 Mercury Capri.

Recently subscribed Salem, Ore., Jeepers club He began customizing his 2014 Jeep JKU, which he bought after his parents died in 2017 and 2018. Ms. Ross, who went through a difficult divorce process after 14 years of marriage, also “made great friends and started to make new ones. “I came out of a deep depression that I didn’t realize I was in until I found happiness in the off-road world.”

He was drawn to the Jeep “because of the simplicity of being able to replace them fairly easily and the availability of parts”.

For Mr. Péwé, Jeep Life goes deeper than a hobby.

He graduated from college in 1980 with a geography degree and said he worked in all-wheel drive shops to support “the habit.” Bought in 1984 founded a Jeep parts distribution company and transformed it into Republic Off-Road, a Jeep-based all-wheel drive store in Tempe, Ariz. After 10 years of growth and successful Jeep builds, focus on one specific Jeep.

There are also important information and opinions about the brand. “The Jeep has had many owners,” Mr. Péwé said, “which leads to the kind of tough bureaucratic mess that no engineer wants to give up.”

It did, however, identify a core group of brand stalwarts who understand Jeep. “If it weren’t for those top-notch ‘crazy fringe’ Jeep people in the trenches, the Wrangler would have failed as an icon years ago,” he said. “The core people who made the group successful are the true Jeepers of the group.”

Jeep recently recognized Mr. Péwé’s decades of dedication and advocacy by placing an “Easter egg” sandal on the Jeep Wrangler JL windshield hood in honor of his favorite shoes.

For enthusiasts, owning a Jeep gives them freedom, confidence and a sense of adventure. Ms. Ross overcame her fear of heights by overcoming terrain barriers in Moab, Utah. “I had enough confidence in my Jeep to get me where I was going and get me home.” He says it’s helped the Jeep community recover and feel confident.

“My Jeep has helped me reconnect with the girl I am,” Ms Ross said. “Knowing how my Jeep works helps me help others on the trails, especially the ladies of the Jeeping world.” It helps empower other women as they learn how to operate their jeeps. “It’s important that we build a strong group of trained women wheelers,” she said.

Jeep has supported events such as Jeep Jamborees, Jeep Adventure Academy, and all-women competitions. Rebel Rally. “For over 50 years, thousands of passionate Jeep enthusiasts have trekked to the annual Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah,” said Mr. Meunier.

Jeep has an impressive history beyond its success on the battlefield. The 1963 Wagoneer was the first SUV to combine all-wheel drive with an automatic transmission, and the 1984 Cherokee XJ was the first Command-Trac four-wheel compact SUV with car-like unibody construction and instant shifting. -driving system.

The 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid is the first production Jeep with EV features currently available. It has an all-electric range of 21 miles and packs a total of 375 horsepower.

“All Jeep models will carry an electric option over the next few years, taking green and 4×4 technology to the next level,” said Mr. Meunier.

The best-selling product of this year’s Easter Jeep Safari was the 2021 all-electric Magneto BEV concept. The Magneto is tuned to mimic the car’s original 3.6-liter V6, sprinting from 0 to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds.

Unexpectedly, the Magneto had a gear shift feature, and its electric “buzz” was loud, unlike the near-silent sound of other electric vehicles. .

The off-road, electric Magneto felt confident and capable, just like its combustion engine ancestors.

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