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Jeep Revolution

  • Date Submitted: 01/17/2015 07:32 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 65.3 
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A Jeep is a Jeep, right?

Willys Jeep ad
During World War II, one vehicle seemed to be everywhere and go anywhere, the Jeep. It was a 4-wheel drive utility vehicle with simple, rugged lines and a lot of horsepower for the time – 60 hp to be exact. The legendary workhorse may have begun life as a spin off of an agriculture machine company. Or, maybe not.
The farm implement company Minneapolis-Moline boasted in a 1944 ad:
"Even before 1938, Minneapolis-Moline was working on the conversion of a farm tractor to serve our Armed Forces. This vehicle was the first that the Armed Forces called the 'Jeep,' so named by Army men at Camp Ripley, Minn., in 1940. MM 'Jeeps' are now serving on many fighting fronts."
However, that wasn't actually the first time the name had been used. One Army quartermaster wrote in 1941 that the term had been used in the First World War by Army mechanics to refer to any new vehicle that came into the shop for testing.

Popey and Jeep
Then in 1936, the name turned up in a wholly unexpected place – the Popeye comic strip by E. C. Segar. Eugene the Jeep was a dog-like character who supposedly came from Africa, walked on his hind legs, subsisted on orchids, was said to be able to cross into the fourth dimension, always told the truth and barked "Jeep" in a high voice. (How they knew he told the truth when all he ever said was "Jeep" wasn't a problem – Eugene did a lot of pantomine.) The popularity of the comic strip took the name into everyday public use.
In the 1930s, some individuals called their cars, trucks and even airplanes "Jeeps." The next industrial use of the term was the Minneapolis-Moline 4x4 truck. It was actually a converted tractor. It was tested by the Army, but never saw wide spread service.
In 1940, the Army sent out specifications for a new "General Purpose" vehicle to 135 auto manufacturers. They were invited to compete for a lucrative contract to produce the vehicle for the military. To qualify for the...

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