Pictorial History of the Universal Jeep

by Jim Allen

From humble origins -- a handful of prototypes built by three different manufacturers -- the Jeep 1/4-ton utility vehicle has evolved over the years into one of the most popular and versatile vehicles ever made. Named the "Universal Jeep" by Willys-Overland shortly after World War II, it's been used in combat and for desert racing, for rock crawling or daily driving . . . in short, if there's a road or trail anywhere in the world, chances are that sometime, somehow, a Jeep has driven over it. This page presents a short history of the vehicle that started the 4x4 craze 60 years ago, and a line that continues to thrive to this day. Included are some archival pictures, and many photos of outstanding specimens still being driven, along with information on production numbers and differences between models.

Note: This page is based on a poster originally created by Jim Allen and published by Four Wheeler magazine in September 1997. I have more than doubled the number of models that were included in the original, and after maintaining the original design of the poster (300K JPEG) for some time, I adopted the simpler design below. Click on any Jeep in the poster, for a larger photo and description of that model. -- Derek Redmond

Image Map of Universal Jeep Models

Bantam | BRC60 | Quad | Pygmy | Budd | GP | MA | BRC40 | Slat | MB | GPW | GPA | MLW-2 | CJ-1 | CJ-2 | CJ-2A | CJ-3A | CJ-V35 | M38 | X-98 |CJ-4 | CJ-4M | M38A1 | M38A1C |CJ-3B | Bobcat |Postal 3B | CJ-5 | M170 | USAF DJ |CJ-6 | DJ-3A | CJ-3B Long | M422 | M151 | M606 |CJ-5A | DJ-5 | DJ-6 | DJ-5A | Commando | CJ-7 | JeepII | CJ-8 | YJ | YJ Long | Renegade | TJ | Dakar | Icon | Willys |TJL |Unlimited |JK |J8 |JT |EV

Other Jeep vehicles such as the Cherokee, Wagoneer, J-series trucks, Willys trucks or Forward Control (see Siblings of the CJ-3B and the Links page) are not included here; they deserve their own poster. Nor are a number of variations of the Universal Jeep manufactured under licence by other companies outside North America (see Jeeps Around the World).

Thanks to the following for supplying photos and information: Todd Paisley, Gary Keating, Dan Fedorko, Daryl & Lida Bensinger, Rod Walker, Andy McGrath, Mike Childs, Robert Stanley, Al Bsharah, Scott Geram, Brandon Hough, Joe Schaefer, Jim Marski, Luis Mariano Paz, Mike Winchester, Fred Coldwell, and John Ferrie. And of course Jim Allen and all the contributors to the original poster. -- Derek Redmond

See The Universal Jeep, 1942-1986: A Timeline, from which you can access most of these photos and descriptions. There is also a key to the colors used on the timeline and this poster.

Also on CJ3B.info, see a 1968 Kaiser Jeep Model Identification poster, and Jeep Grilles 1940-2001.

Return to Universal Jeep History for links to other pages on this website related to Jeep history.

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Last updated 22 April 2009 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond
BantamBRC60QuadPygmyBudd FordGPMABRC40Slat GrilleMBGPWGPAMLW-2CJ-1CJ-2CJ-2ACJ-3ACJ-V35M38X-98CJ-4CJ-4MM38A1CJ-3BCJ-3BBobcatPost OfficeCJ-5M170USAF DJCJ-6DJ-3ACJ-3B LongM422M151M606CJ-5ADJ-5DJ-6DJ-5ACommandoCJ-7JeepIICJ-8YJLong YJRenegadeTJDakarIconWillysTJLUnlimitedJKJTJTEVSelect a model