The Fascinating History of the Jeep Truck | Jeep Canada

THE FASCINATING HISTORY OF THE JEEP TRUCK

2021-02-12
Younger Jeep® enthusiasts might have been surprised to see a truck appear in the Jeep family a little over a year ago, but for those who have been fans of the Jeep brand for decades, the Jeep Gladiator was a homecoming of sorts. The history of the Jeep truck is quite remarkable, and dates back to the same time in history that the original Jeep in traditional SUV form was born.
A Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, a 1944 Jeep Willys-Overland MB and a Jeep Wrangler Sahara
The first Jeep pickup truck appeared in 1947 as part of the Willys-Overland family, the name of the company that offered Jeep vehicles at the time. The model sold for US $ 1,620 and offered a 2.2- litre, 63-horsepower 4-cylinder engine. This particular model lasted through the early 50s before Jeep innovated with a new version in 1957 that is the envy of collectors today, the Jeep FC (Forward Control) model.

The Jeep® FC and Kaiser-Jeep

The Jeep® FC had a cabin essentially located above the engine bay which gave it a truly unique look. The FC would be sold alongside the first truck and gave buyers two truck options.
A 1957 Jeep FC-170 with a bed full of bags going up a rocky hill
In 1963, the company would change its name. In fact, ten years earlier, Willys-Overland had merged with a manufacturer by the name of Kaiser. The latter decided, for 1963, to rename his subsidiary Willys Motors to Kaiser-Jeep Corporation. The name Willys was abandoned and the models were then more recognized as Jeeps. And, at the same time, a new model was introduced; the Gladiator.
This more modern truck would be offered until 1971, and a variant called Jeepster would even be offered from 1967, picking up a bit of the style and configuration we know from the Wrangler today. In 1970, Kaiser was acquired by the American Motors Corporation (AMC) which became the owner of all Jeep products, which heralded further changes.
In 1972, the Gladiator name was abandoned as the brand's trucks were to be referred to as J Series models going forward. These were to be offered until 1988 in multiple configurations.

The Chrysler Purchase

At this point in history, AMC was in turn bought out by Chrysler in 1987. At that point, there was no longer really any room for the Jeep® truck within the new entity, since Dodge already had its own with the Ram. The sale of AMC to Chrysler would lead to the Jeep truck being shelved.
Side badge of the Jeep FC-150
It wasn’t abandoned and forgotten, however. In fact, in 2005, a Jeep truck concept was presented at the Chicago Auto Show. Based on the Wrangler, it was one of the most popular models unveiled at the show that year. The foundations of today's Gladiator had just been laid on paper.
The generation of Wrangler that was offered between 2007 and 2017 did not offer a truck version, but work had begun behind the scenes and when the new Wrangler JL came along in 2018, so would a new truck.
Jeep unveiled the latest chapter in its 73-year truck history when it unveiled the all-new Jeep Gladiator at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show.

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