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Unique Jeep Models Auto Fans Forgot

Vukasin Herbez February 15, 2019

Everybody knows the Jeep brand and its world-famous products. From those classic, war-proven Jeep Willys to those modern Cherokees, Wranglers, and Renegades, Jeep is a popular company that concentrates on SUVs and off-road vehicles. The immense importance of the Jeep brand is not just about inventing the SUV as a concept or promoting all-wheel drive to a wide civilian audience but also helping the allies win the Second World War. All this makes Jeep an extremely important brand beyond the limits of the car industry.

For a company that has been active for almost 80 years, Jeep has produced numerous models throughout its history. Most of them are well-known, popular vehicles you see every day, but there are still more than a few rare, obscure and interesting Jeeps you forgot or never knew existed. Today, you will learn lots more about those cars. So, keep reading to find out about those lesser-known, yet still awesome Jeeps.


24. Jeep Willys Overland

After the war, there were lots of used Jeep Willys military vehicles that proved their worth on battlefields all over the world. However, most post-war buyers wanted something a bit more civilized and with a closed body. So Jeep produced the Willys Overland SUV, as well as a panel truck.

Those cars used Jeep’s rugged mechanics and chassis construction but offered a bit more comfort, usability, and features. Using proven, four and six-cylinder drivetrains, the Willys Overland Jeep came in a pickup, station wagon, or panel wagon version. The buyers loved these models and besides the U.S., they assemble these Jeeps in South America, as well.



23. Jeep FC

All Jeeps are capable off-road SUV models with a characteristic design and signature appearance. However, in 1956, Jeep introduced a strange model they called the Forward Control or FC. It was a cab-forward, bulldog-style truck with the engine underneath the passengers and all-wheel drive.

Even though the FC was a Jeep, which means it was a capable, tough and durable machine, the market didn’t respond well. So, in its nine years of production, Jeep made just around 30,000 of them, mostly for the export market. Jeep thought the FC would be a bestseller, but on the domestic market, most buyers preferred models with a more formal look.

22. Jeep CJ-6

When they presented the popular Jeep CJ-5, some customers complained about the lack of interior space since the CJ-5 was just a bit bigger than the classic military Jeep Willys. For those buyers, Jeep introduced the CJ-6 model in 1956. It was basically a CJ-5, but with a longer wheelbase and more space in the back.

Even though it was more practical, the CJ-6 wasn’t popular with most buyers. Interestingly, there was also a military version they called the M170. But the easiest way to recognize the CJ-6 is with its increased length over the standard CJ-5. Also, some version had a spare tire they mounted on the rear fenders.

21. Jeep Surrey

The ‘50s saw the birth of mass tourism and all-inclusive packages. So, hotels become big car customers, buying fleets of cars and other vehicles. Some hotels even offered transportation to and from airports in wildly colored models, so the British Mini Moke and Fiat 500 Jolly were common choices. Jeep wanted a piece of that market, so for the hotels in Hawaii with sandy beaches, they produced a special version they named the Jeep Surrey.

The Surrey was nothing more than a regular Jeep DJ-3A model they painted in bright colors with matching upholstery and a canvas roof. It had a totally different appearance than most Jeeps of that era, so it was popular. Jeep presented the Surrey in 1959 and discontinued it in 1964.

20. Kaiser Jeep M715

Kaiser Jeep happened due to a merger between Kaiser Motors, an independent car company in Willow Run, Michigan, and the Willys-Overland Company of Toledo, Ohio. Although the M715 is primarily a military truck, Kaiser Jeep sold a few of them to civilian customers. They based the M715 on the Jeep Gladiator pickup, introducing it in the late ‘60s for the U.S. Army.

The engine was a dependable, strong six cylinder with just 130 HP. But it had a lot of torque, which was necessary to move this three-ton truck. Jeep built the M715 to be easy to service and extremely durable. And it proved itself in the Vietnam War and several other conflicts. Kaiser Jeep produced over 30,000 of them until 1969.

19. Jeep CJ-10

Jeep introduced the CJ-10 model in the early ‘80s. They sold it until 1985, mostly abroad, although they sold a small number in the U.S. This Jeep was a bigger, tougher model than most people expected because they based it on the J300 platform. It had bigger payload and tow capacity and it was a heavy-duty Jeep truck.

It got its power from the classic 4.2-liter gasoline engine of a 3.2-liter Nissan diesel engine available on some markets. Domestic models included the military tug version the U.S. Air Force used. However, most of the civilian CJ-10 models ended up in Australia with right-hand drive.

18. Jeep Commando

The Commando is a forgotten Jeep model they produced between 1966 and 1973. It was an upscale version of those pure off-road models that featured removable hardtops and small truck beds behind the front seats. It was a practical model that drivers could use for cruising and going off-road, as well as carrying smaller items.

Buyers had a wide selection of engines, from the small inline four and six-cylinder to V6 and V8 engines. AMC produced most of the engines because they owned the Jeep brand at the time. Also, Buick produced a 225 V6 known as the Dauntless V6.

17. Jeep Gladiator Honcho

Jeep based this special model on a regular Gladiator truck. However, Jeep added some crazy graphics on the side and the “Honcho” name. Also, they included numerous interior details, special wheels, off-road tires, and a winch. Under the hood, they offered a couple of engine choices.

But when the Honcho came with the optional 401 AMC V8, it was a seriously powerful machine for the day. The Jeep Gladiator Honcho was part of an aggressive advertising campaign. However, despite all their efforts, they only made 1,500 Honchos in seven years of production. Since then, the Gladiator Honcho has become a highly sought-after collector truck and now, its prices are on the rise.

16. Jeep Jeepster

Jeep presented the Jeepster in 1948 and discontinued it in 1950. The Jeepster was one of the rarest Jeeps they ever produced with just over 19,000 examples built. The idea behind this cool looking all-wheel-drive convertible was to offer more luxury. Also, they wanted it to have a nicer appearance for Jeep buyers.

So, they included closed fenders, a two-tone paint job, and an attractive interior while retaining all Jeep’s off-road characteristics. But despite their cool idea, the Jeepster wasn’t as successful as Jeep hoped it would be. Since it was a bit more expensive than the regular model, it was tough to sell.

15. Jeep DJ

Although they produced it in relatively high numbers, Jeep DJs are almost extinct now. The DJ stood for “Dispatcher Jeep” and in 1955 Jeep unveiled it to the public as a cool little roundabout with a closed body available in various configurations. The idea behind the Jeep DJ was to offer a car for post offices and law enforcement agencies.

Also, it was those who needed a capable but compact vehicle for various purposes. Jeep DJs become most famous as the main vehicle of the U.S. Post Office. And that is why Jeep produced them all the way until 1984 in several versions.

14. Jeep FJ Fleetvan

Back in the early ‘60s, Jeep was active on the van market with the FJ Fleetvan model. They presented it in 1961 and sold it all the way up to 1975. The Fleetvan was a simple boxy delivery vehicle they based on the venerable DJ-3A platform.

Available in several configurations and wheelbases it was commonly used by delivery companies, industrial facilities and post offices. It got its power from a Hurricane four-cylinder engine. Best of all, buyers had the choice of a three-speed manual or automatic transmission.

13. Jeep CJV35/U

The military Jeep is nothing special since the Army used them from the beginning of World War II. Over the years, Jeep produced numerous versions and models for military use. However, the CJV35/U is a special, rare and obscure model. Jeep presented the CJV35/U in the early ‘50s, producing just 1,000 of them. Although it looks like any other military Jeep from the period, they designed the CJV35/U to drive through deep water.

And it could do that with ease thanks to a snorkel air intake system straight from the Jeep factory. Also, its running gear, transmission, differential, and transfer case are also specially prepared with a vacuum system to endure submerging in water. For some reason, the military wasn’t completely satisfied with those Jeeps, so they canceled further orders after they made just 1,000.

12. Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler

Today, Scramblers are highly sought-after collector’s trucks. But when Jeep introduced them in the early ‘80s, they weren’t exactly the bestselling vehicles in the Jeep lineup. The Scrambler was a longer version of the CJ-7 model.

It came with a removable half cabin, cool graphics, and truck-style bed behind the driver. But it was as capable as the other Jeeps from the period. But during its six years of production, they built fewer than 30,000 of them.

11. Jeep J-330

The Jeep Gladiator pickup line is famous since it was one of their bestselling products during the ‘60s and early ‘70s. However, the rarest model in the series was the J-300 or J-330. Those trucks were heavy-duty versions of the regular Gladiator.

Interestingly, you can recognize them thanks to their dually rear axle. Jeep J-330s are quite rare when new and even rarer today. In fact, Jeep produced the J-300 and J-330 in limited numbers.

10. Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited

Even though the ZJ generation Grand Cherokee is a well-known, common model, there was one version that was unusual for Jeep. In fact, it is a hidden gem in Grand Cherokee history. And that is the 1998 5.9 Limited. It was a one-year, top of the line model they equipped with every luxury item Jeep had to offer. And best of all, it came with a 5.9-liter Magnum V8 pumping out a whopping 245 HP.

Although 245 HP doesn’t sound impressive today, it was a lofty number by late ‘90s SUV standards. You could consider the Grand Cherokee 5.9 as a Jeep hot rod model long before any modern SRT versions came with powerful Hemi engines. They only built approximately 15,000 so the 5.9 Limited is a definite future classic.

9. Jeep DJ-5E Electruck

Most people don’t know that Jeep produced an electric vehicle way back in the ‘70s. However, in 1974, Jeep produced 352 examples of the groundbreaking DJ-5E Electruck. They aimed them at the U.S. Post Office for delivery in urban areas.

The idea was to switch to electric vehicles in the city to reduce air pollution. But even though the DJ-5E delivered decent power at a long range, it proved inadequate. Soon, Jeep abandoned the idea, scrapping most of their Electrucks.

8. Jeep Viasa SV-430

Jeeps were produced in many countries besides the United States during the ‘60s. But Jeep established its Spain operation with the help of a local factory. It produced the Jeep Commando models with diesel engines and other modifications to suit their local customers. However, one of the most interesting products was the SV-340 van.

Although Jeep based it on the Commando, it featured a special boxy van body available in several different versions. They introduced this rare model in 1963, selling it all the way up to 1985. Sadly, it is rarely seen outside of Spain.

7. Jeep Comanche

The Jeep Cherokee XJ was one of the most popular SUVs of the ‘80s and early ‘90s, as well as a true Jeep in every way. Most people are familiar with this model in its two and four-door configuration. However, Jeep produced a pickup as well, which is forgotten today.

They named it the Jeep Comanche and it was a regular, light truck they based on the Cherokee. The Comanche shared most of the mechanics, design, and interior with regular XJ-series models, although it wasn’t so popular. Jeep sold it from 1985 to 1992, producing 190,000 of them.

6. Ford GPA

Although Ford produced this vehicle, it was a military Jeep Willys MB converted to an amphibious vehicle. In 1942, the Army showed interest in light amphibious vehicles, but the car manufacturers had nothing to offer. But then Ford thought of modifying the existing Jeep into such a vehicle.

And that is how the GPA was born. Ford called it the “Seagoing Jeep.” Unfortunately, it wasn’t particularly fast, capable or stable, so they ceased production after building 13,000 examples.

5. Jeep T-28/T-29

During World War II, Willys, Bantam, and Ford produced the Jeep for the Army and Allied Forces. However, they also developed several concepts to improve the basic Jeep layout. And one of those concepts was the rare T-28 and T-29 Jeeps.

The main feature of those vehicles was an additional axle. It turned the Jeep into a 6×6 vehicle they called the T-28 or even a half-rack, which Jeep named the T-29. The extra axle gave the Jeep its tank-like off-road abilities. However, those versions were basically prototypes, so they produced them in low numbers.

Jeep Wagoneer - Jeep

4. Jeep Wagoneer

The current SUVs are bloated sedans that offer little to no off-road performance. On the other hand, the Jeep Wagoneer is quite luxurious, includes an enormous amount of space, and offers respectable offroad skills. And all that makes the Wagoneer the ultimate vintage luxury offroad vehicle. The fact that they produced it from 1963 all the way to 1991 with just a few tweaks is proof of its quality. Jeep never meant this vehicle to be a car for the streets, but rather for navigating through ranches, fields, and mountain trails.

The Wagoneer got its power from numerous inline-six and V8 engines. Also, it had both rear-wheel and all-wheel drive. The most coveted models came from the 1987 to 1991 Chrysler era when the car went through a series of upgrades. With air conditioning, high-quality audio, comfortable power seats, chrome, and optional woodwork, the Wagoneer is a well-equipped car. Many agree the Wagoneer was the first proper SUV and the daddy of all modern SUVs.

3. Jeep Willys

Offroad vehicles were born out of necessity and the Jeep Willys is the greatest example of that. Jeep conceived it just before World War II as a light military vehicle capable of going over any terrain. Also, it was durable enough to withstand bullets, explosions, and harsh conditions. In fact, the Jeep Willys turned out to be one of the weapons that helped win the war. Production of the original Jeep started in 1942 and ended in 1946 after they built more than 600,000. They also called it the Willys MB or Ford GPW. A simple machine, it was incredibly tough and dependable. It came with a diminutive 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine that produced just 60 HP.

Despite being a military vehicle, the Jeep Willys proved its worth after the war as a practical machine. Jeep owners could equip it to do numerous things. They included towing, plowing, and even agricultural equipment. The unique concept of a rugged, compact, and extremely capable off-road machine evolved to the Jeep brand. And they became the biggest producer of off-road vehicles and SUVs as well as a true legend of the segment.

Jeep Cherokee (XJ) - Jeep

2. Jeep Cherokee XJ

Introduced in 1984, the Cherokee XJ generation was an enormous success for Jeep. It had boxy yet elegant looks, great build quality and lots of useful features. In fact, the second-generation Cherokee was the SUV of the ‘80s as well as a globally-successful model.

Despite being a modern, comfortable vehicle, the Cherokee XJ retained all the Jeep characteristics like rugged mechanics and a dependable AWD drive train. Also, the engines were great, which helped it claim the title of one of the best SUVs of all time. In some foreign markets, they produced the Cherokee XJ until 2014. And that just shows how good of a car this Jeep was. The XJ is the next big thing since decent examples are hard to find yet people fondly remember this great vehicle.

Willys Jeep Truck - Jeep

1. Willys Jeep Pickup Truck

Willys was an economy car manufacturer before World War II. They produced Jeeps for the U.S. Army from 1941 to 1946. When the war ended, Willys found it hard to transfer to passenger car production. They had a surplus of Jeep engines, chassis, and components. So they made the logical decision to produce Jeeps for civilian use, mainly as farm and utility vehicles. Willys thought that ex-military personnel would buy Jeeps as everyday cars after they got to know them on the battlefield. It turned out that Willys was right, and civilian Jeeps did, in fact, have a market in post-war America.

But the company wanted to go further, so they introduced a line of pickup trucks using Jeep mechanics, engines, and the design, but with a twist. That’s how the Willys Jeep Pickup Truck came to be in 1947. These are the interesting, rare and cool Jeeps you probably forgot. But now that your memory has been refreshed, did you choose your favorite? While some are still plentiful today, others are quite rare, so if you want one, you should act fast.

The Willys Jeep pickup truck had four-wheel drive and was much more capable than any regular pickup truck available at the time. Today, four-wheel-drive trucks are nothing special. Most new models come with a 4×4 drivetrain as standard. But back then, it was revolutionary. Although those early Willys Jeep trucks had smaller, 2.3-liter four-cylinder engines only producing 63 HP, they were tough. They came with a lot of pulling power and durability. Willys also produced a couple of variations. Over the years Willys introduced some bigger six-cylinder engines. Sadly, they ceased production of their original model in 1965.


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