During World War II, the United States Army wanted designs for a light-weight vehicle that was capable of travelling over pretty much any type of terrain. The winning design came from Toledo’s Willys-Overland Motors, Inc. known as “the jeep”. Over 330,000 jeeps were produced at Willy-Overland’s Toledo plant from 1941 – 1945. The name “jeep” comes from phonetic pronunciation of the abbreviation “GP” (General Purpose Vehicle). The 1941 Willys MB Jeeps are also believed to be the first four-wheel drive sports utility vehicle (SUV).
1941 Willys MB Jeep
Willys-Overland remained in business following World War II and produced jeeps similar to the ones used by the armed forces but for the civilian population. Even though the Jeep has transferred ownership from Willys-Overland to Fiat Chrysler, Toledo has been the headquarters for the Jeep brand since its inception in 1941. The Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Cherokee are still built in the northwestern Ohio city today.
General Patton in a jeep
Photo via: Skylighters.org