1940: United States Army, in response to the rising political tension in Europe, decided to make a new type of reconnaissance vehicle. It follows the "Scout Car" U.S. Army, which in just three months led to the creation of the first unit 4x4, better known as the Jeep. To achieve this, the Army invited 135 manufacturers to participate in a tender, which initially included a $ 175,000 contract.
Only three car manufacturers proved to be involved in the project: Willys-Overland of Toledo, Ford Motor Company of Detroit and American Bantam in Butler (Pennsylvania). The three companies have built prototypes for testing in record time. The chief engineer of Bantam developed, together with a group of company executives, the company realized a project in 49 days.
Delmar G. Roos, Vice President of Engineering Willys-Overland, Willys Quad designed the model, while Ford built the Model GP (General Purpose), nicknamed Pygmy, equipped with a modified engine Ford / Ferguson for agricultural use. Each company delivered its prototype in the summer of 1940 and the Army was authorized to build 70 units.
The Armed Forces received the first delivery in November 1940 at Camp Holabird, Md.. Each of the three models produced exceeded the limit of 590 kg, and requested the Army soon realized that it was too low and decided to increase the supply later.
With a number of changes and improvements, the Willys Quad became the MA model, and later in the MB model. For the U.S. Army and the world became known as the Jeep instead.
According to some, the name Jeep comes from the initials "GP", which in military jargon was an abbreviation for "General Purpose". Others argue that the vehicle is named "Eugene the Jeep," a cartoon character Popeye. Whatever its true origin, the word Jeep has entered the international vocabulary and generally identifies all off-road vehicles. Jeep is the same model who became a symbol of the Second World War.
In view of the end of the war, Willys-Overland began to plan the production of civilian Jeep models. After experimenting with a pilot model developed on the military version (called the CJ-1, which stood for "Civilian Jeep") and a prototype (CJ-2), the standard version, dubbed Universal Jeep CJ-2A, was introduced in 'Summer of 1945.