Automotive Jeep Willys MB Ford GPW

Published on February 5th, 2021 | by Subhash Nair


Jeep Turns 80 Years Old This Year

Jeep may not be well-represented in Malaysia, but there’s still a strong local fanbase.

When it comes to American automotive brands, few are as iconic as Jeep. The name is practically synonymous with ‘off-roader’ for many and helped pioneer a lot of styling cues we see in much ‘softer’ SUVs today. Well, that iconic brand turns 80 years old in 2021. It all began during World War II, in 1941.

Jeep Original Willys MB

What was the Jeep?

The original ‘Jeep’ wasn’t actually called ‘Jeep’. It was officially called the U.S. Army Truck, ​14-ton, 4×4, Command Reconnaissance. Of course, that name didn’t quite roll off the tongue. Many would refer to it as the Willys MB or Ford GP, though the development of the vehicle was shared between those two companies along with many, many other companies, private individuals and government departments.

Why Call It ‘Jeep’?

So how did it come to be called ‘Jeep’? The final design that became standardised was the one by Willys. However, Ford licensed the design and produced it as well. The Ford-produced trucks were called ‘GPW’, which stood for General Purpose – Willys. Some theories exist that the name ‘Jeep’ arose from the ‘GP’ model name here. However, this might not be true at all.

This is because there’s some evidence that the word ‘jeep’ was US-army slang that was in use back in the first world war. ‘Jeeps’ were what mechanics in the US army called untested prototypes or what military personnel called new recruits.

Other theories

Before the 2nd World War, the Popeye cartoon introduced a character called ‘Eugene the Jeep’. In the cartoon, the character was able to traverse physical obstacles and solve impossible problems with ease. It’s theorised that the Jeep name may have just been taken from there, with the ‘GP’ theory being further cementing how appropriate that nickname was.

BHP diesel

Anyway, here’s how the Jeep brand will be celebrating its 80th anniversary. In a nutshell, a lot of events and a few commemorative cars. Many of these are destined for the UK market, so grey market dealers may just bring a few in for the hardcore Malaysian Jeep fans to collect.


The 80th anniversary celebrations will continue throughout the whole of 2021, with dedicated events created to bring customers and enthusiasts closer to the brand and its heritage. The first event, a web conference, saw the unveiling of the new 80th Anniversary special-edition models. Not only do these models pay tribute to the brand’s 80-year history, they also continue the long-established tradition, started in 1966, of producing special-edition models to mark special anniversaries or achievements.

A year of exclusive events and services for all members of the Jeep family
This year will see the Jeep community come together with a series of dedicated initiatives and events,  bringing customers and enthusiasts even closer to the Jeep tradition.  The first such initiative is Jeep Wave, a new programme offering Jeep owners exclusive services and special benefits to enhance their sense of belonging to the community at the heart of the Jeep experience around the world.

Included as standard on all new Jeep vehicles purchased or leased in 2021 by retail customers, the main benefits of Jeep Wave include the first three scheduled vehicle services , three years roadside assistance, access to a dedicated premium customer service call center and priority entry to brand events and partnerships. 

Jeep Wave is marked out by a logo inspired by the traditional greeting of Jeep owners  – a raised hand waving, or two or four fingers extended upward from the steering wheel. This gesture of friendship is part of Jeep history, and ‘Jeepers’ are proud to uphold this tradition.

New 80th Anniversary special-edition models
The 80th Anniversary series, the celebratory special-edition models, will be available in the UK on Renegade, and Wrangler. Arriving in Spring, each 80th Anniversary model is based on the best-selling variant, and offers standard safety and technology features alongside aesthetic flourishes that make them stand out from the rest of the Jeep range.

Although there are many differences between these Jeep SUVs in terms of size and character, they all share an unmistakable look, courtesy of specific design cues, including 80th Anniversary badging and low-gloss Granite Crystal accents; black leather seats with tungsten stitching and 80th Anniversary logo; high-gloss black interior accents and logo tag on seats and mats. Dedicated alloy wheels complete the exterior look of the new commemorative models.

They will also be packed full of advanced technology and safety features, further enhancing the unparalleled Jeep 4×4 capability. New high-tech content includes 8.4-inch touchscreens, DAB radio and navigation with smartphone integration and UconnectTM services, full LED pack and new ‘Since 1941’ infotainment system screen.

Jeep Renegade 80th Anniversary
The exterior of the new Jeep Renegade 80th Anniversary features low gloss Granite Crystal accents on the vehicle’s iconic seven-slot front grille, 18-inch alloy wheels and an exclusive 80th Anniversary commemorative badge. Privacy glass and the full LED pack with LED daytime running lights, headlights, fog lights and taillights complete look of this new special edition model.

Inside the cabin are black leather seats with tungsten stitching and 80th Anniversary tag. Black headlining and 80th Anniversary floor mats with commemorative badging enhance the dark, all-black environment. 

Building on the Limited trim, a host of user-friendly technology is included as standard, with the UconnectTM infotainment system with 8.4-inch touchscreen, smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, DAB radio with GPS navigation and UconnectTM services. Unique to the 80th Anniversary trim is a new infotainment splash screen featuring a Since 1941 theme. Advanced safety and security features are standard, including Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning Plus, Lane Departure Warning Plus, Intelligent Speed Assist and Traffic Sign Recognition, front and rear parking sensors and Drowsy Driver Detection.

The 80th anniversary Renegade features a choice of two Euro 6D Final compliant petrol engines – a 3-cylinder 1.0-litre turbo engine producing 120hp and 190Nm of torque, combined with a six-speed manual transmission, and a 4-cylinder 1.3-litre turbo engine delivering 150hp and 270Nm of torque, paired with a Dual Dry Clutch Transmission (DDCT) – both fitted with front-wheel drive.

Jeep Wrangler 80th Anniversary
The iconic Jeep Wrangler is also available as an 80th Anniversary special-edition model, featuring Neutral Grey Metallic grille, headlight and fog light bezels and specific 18-inch two-tone alloy wheels with Granite Crystal accents. Full LED high-visibility headlights with auto high beam control, body-colour hardtop and the 80th Anniversary badge on the front wheel arches help to mark out this commemorative special-edition model, along with a commemorative plaque on the rear swing gate.

The interior features black leather seats with tungsten stitching and the 80th Anniversary badge, along with a leather wrapped dashboard featuring contrast stitching and Berber floor mats. Standard technology content includes the Uconnect™ 8.4 NAV system with 8.4-inch touchscreen, smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 7-inch TFT display and a 9-speaker Alpine audio system with a 552W subwoofer.

The 80th Anniversary model will also feature Jeep Uconnect™ Services, the first time this has featured on a Wrangler. Together with the My Uconnect™ mobile app, Uconnect™ Services offer additional safety features with SOS call functionality, vehicle finder, at home digital assistant and driver alerts, along with live vehicle information in the app, theft alarm notification and wifi hotspot ensure this is the most connected Wrangler ever.

Standard safety features include blind spot monitoring with rear cross-path detection, rear camera, front and rear parking sensors, Keyless Enter ‘N Go™, forward collision warning, advanced brake assist and adaptive cruise control with stop.

The new Wrangler 80th Anniversary special-edition model will feature a Euro 6D-Final-compliant 4-cylinder 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine delivering 272hp and 400Nm of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Like all variants in the Wrangler line-up, the 80th anniversary edition is Trail Rated – the brand’s guarantee of a model’s superior go-anywhere capability.  Featuring the Jeep Command-Trac four-wheel-drive system it uses the Selec-Trac full-time two-speed transfer case to continuously monitor and manage the torque sent to the front and rear wheels to ensure the Wrangler can master even the most challenging off-road tracks.

The Jeep Renegade and Wrangler 80th anniversary special-series will be available to order from Spring 2021, with UK pricing subject to a further announcement. For more information on the Jeep range visit

About the Author

Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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