For a long period of time, true 4×4 off-road vehicles were only specialty models designed for terrain use and military. However, during the `50s and `60s, the American car industry started producing capable passenger cars which could be used on and off-road which started the trend. Derived from military or industrial machines, classic American off-road SUVs were interesting and charming machines even though they were rough and rugged contraptions with minimal luxury options.
Today, we will tell you about best and most interesting classic SUVs or off-roaders (however you want to call them) which created American love for terrain vehicles and established the SUV class as we know it today.
1. Jeep Willys
Off-road vehicles were born out of necessity and the legendary Jeep Willys is the best example. Conceived just before the Second World War as a light military vehicle capable of going over any terrain, durable to withstand the bullets and explosions and durable to survive harsh conditions, Jeep turned out to be one of the weapons which won the biggest war in history.
The production of the original Jeep started in 1942 as the US entered the war and ended in 1946 after more than 600,000 examples were built and exported to all parts of the world. Also called Willys MB or Ford GPW, it was a simple machine, yet incredibly tough and dependable. It was powered by a diminutive 2.2-liter four cylinder with 60 HP and used simple four-wheel drive layout which was an innovative concept for the 1940s.
Despite being a military vehicle, Jeep proved its worth after the war as a very practical machine which could be equipped to do numerous things, from towing and plowing, even being turned into agricultural equipment. The unique concept of rugged, compact and extremely capable off-road machine evolved to the Jeep brand, the biggest producer of off-road vehicles and SUVs and a true legend of the segment.