Dating all the way back to WWII, the Willys MB — produced by Willys Overland Motor Co. — turned the tide of the war. Without the exceptional performance of, essentially, the very first Jeep, the Allied Powers might have experienced defeat. This would surely have rewritten the future, now our present. As thought-provoking as alternative history might be, that’s not what this is about. Instead, what follows is an appreciation for the timeless design of Jeep models, and how it inspires smiles. The Wrangler is a model that honors the past with its design. Most noticeably, you’ll see it in the front-end, fender flares, and definitely from its aggressive stance.
While some of the Willys MB design characteristics can be found in other Jeep models as well, it’s the Wrangler that really stands out. Even though Jeep has been in production for over 75 years, the brand refuses to abandon this iconic look. Lucky for us!
If you look at the front end of a Jeep Wrangler, then look at the front end of the Willys MB, they look almost identical.
Apart from the overall flat shape of the front-end, two other trademark characteristics can still be found in the 2017 Wrangler. Those characteristics are the seven slot grille and round headlights, which are the same shape and design as the ones found on the original Willys MB and the first Wrangler model produced.
Jeep is proud of that seven slot grille and in every design description for the Wrangler on the Jeep website, you can expect to see it mentioned at least once.
The fender flares are also recognizable as a true Jeep design, and while they have evolved slightly from just flat pieces of metal as seen on the Willys, they still have that traditional look.
The fenders on the current Wrangler consist of a flat piece on top, and then two other pieces that hang off on either side, creating 45 degree angles. The end result is a fender that’s shaped like the top-half of the trapezoid.
In general, the aggressive stance of the Wrangler and square shape of the body are also traditional. Take a Willys MB model and a 2017 Wrangler and place them side-by-side, and you’ll notice that even the stance, wheelbase, and position of the tires are similar.
That’s because after the Willys MB made it into civilian life, Jeep based its first Wrangler model off it. Since that first Wrangler model hit the showroom floor, it’s represented this iconic design.
Elements Found in Other Models
While the Wrangler is easily the most recognizable Jeep, other models also invoke the spirit of the Willys MB. The Renegade might have a completely different body and attitude, but the seven-slot grille and round headlights are present. Although its grille might look entirely different, even the Grand Cherokee features a seven slot grille design for its base.
The point is, Jeep is all about history. If the brand has taught consumers anything about these models, it’s that Jeep will honor its legacy by maintaining these design details.