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Jeep unveils Willys-inspired Jeep Wrangler Concept

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On: Mon, Jul 18, 2016 at 12:48PM | By: Carl Malek

Jeep unveils Willys-inspired Jeep Wrangler Concept

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is currently in the midst of celebrating the Jeep brand's 75th anniversary, they have unveiled a special one-off Wrangler concept that pays tribute to the government contract that helped give birth to its ancestor, the Willys-Overland MB.

The concept, dubbed the Wrangler 75th Anniversary Salute, shares much of its basic styling with the current two-door Wrangler Sport, but Jeep designers have axed the B-Pillars and doors to help align it better with its legendary ancestor. Drab Olive Green paint has been slathered onto this special rig with color-matching 16-inch wheels and military-grade tires. Other changes include concept-exclusive front and rear bumpers, hood latches, a rear mounted spare tire, and low-back canvas seats.

While it is still a mystery to this very day where the term "Jeep" exactly came from, the term did come about after the Willys-Overland Motor Co. landed its first government contract to build what would eventually become the Willys MB. The MB went through trials, was officially launched on July 15th 1941,and eventually proved itself on the battlefields of WWII where it excelled, thanks to its rugged construction and light weight, as well as its ability to be easily serviced when used in combat. At this point, the Jeep moniker was associated with the MB, and was eventually adopted as an official identity of the brand after Willys introduced the model to civilian buyers when the war ended.

"We are creating this unique Jeep Wrangler 75th Salute concept vehicle in celebration of the brand's legendary history, and to demonstrate that 75 years later, today's iconic Jeep Wrangler is instantly recognizable and clearly connected to the original Willys MB," Head of Jeep Brand – FCA Global, Mike Manley explained.

This concept also serves as a visual follow-up to a separate announcement that FCA made earlier this week when it announced that it is pumping $700 million into upgrades for its Toledo Assembly Plant. The sprawling plant makes the current generation Wrangler and Cherokee, and the money will go largely towards retooling and new equipment for production of the next generation Wrangler.

The new Wrangler aims to improve fuel efficiency, thanks to improvements to its powertrain as well as the use of lightweight materials, including aluminum body panels; this will be the first time they have been used on the Wrangler. Jeep did promise that these concessions to fuel efficiency will not compromise the Wrangler's off-road abilities or detract from its iconic appearance.

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