The History of The Jeep Wrangler

The History of The Jeep Wrangler

1987 Jeep Wrangler YJ

The Jeep Wrangler has a storied history, and can trace its roots back to a war vehicle that made its debut in the 1940's. But the "Wrangler" name itself did not arrive on the scene until the year of 1986, continuing in the longtime effort of honoring the brand's history of capability and power, while delivering a cutting-edge level of on-road sophistication to match the off-road abilities.


The Early Days of Jeep

Before the Wrangler, there was the Willys, which was created specifically for the WWII effort. Known as the Willys MB, this version of the model became a symbol of America's quirky ingenuity and gumption in any situation. Even after the war, when some might have thought that such a capable vehicle would have become extinct, the Willys became stronger than ever. The Jeep name was trademarked, and the war vehicle was modified and reconfigured to better suit civilian use. Thus, the Jeep CJ - also known as the Civilian Jeep - was born. The CJ series would continue to offer an irresistible ride for the next forty years.

The Wrangler Is Born

The engineers at Jeep became restless in the 1980's, even though their CJ continued to be a top-selling and beloved vehicle year after year. The brand began looking at ways they could invigorate the segment, and thus, the Jeep Wrangler YJ was born. This model shared the unique characteristics of the CJ, notably the open bodywork, box-like shape and seven-slot grille, but it gained new engineering that enhanced the on-road performance without sacrificing its beloved off-road capability, in addition to square headlights. The Wrangler was released in 1986 as a 1987 model, and it was offered in a base model, the mid-level Laredo, and the top Sahara. For almost ten years the Jeep Wrangler YJ was sold, and its charming design, rugged performance, and individuality gave it wide appeal as it moved into its second generation.

The TJ Generation

When the 1998 Jeep Wrangler TJ made its entrance, longtime fans of the brand were pleased to see the familiar Willys' round headlights, which flanked the classic seven-slot grille. This is a design element that would not change going forward, and it is likely that the classic grille and round headlight combo will never be replaced by future generations.  The TJ continued to offer more on-road refinement; it gained a coil-spring suspension along with additional body stiffness for enhanced ride quality. This second generation of the Wrangler was in production from 1997 to 2006, and during this time, Jeep continued to innovate. They released the iconic Rubicon trim level, as well as the Wrangler Unlimited, which saw a longer wheelbase and increase in cargo space.

The Third and Current JK Generation

Arriving in 2007, the Wrangler JK made a splash when it showed off a longer wheelbase, increased safety features, and more economical powertrain engineering. The Wrangler Unlimited was modified into a four-door model, which maintained its increased overall length and interior spaciousness while maximizing versatility for any driving situation.  With a larger body and more powerful engine, the third-generation of the Wrangler has continued to appeal to a wide range of drivers, making it one of the most popular vehicles of all time, and a true American original.

Learn more about our great selection of new, used, and certified pre-owned Wranglers at Akins Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM in Winder, GA!

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