When most people think of the Jeep brand, models like the Wrangler, Cherokee, and other SUVs are typically some of the first that come to mind. But Jeeps aren’t only sport-utility vehicles—they have a history of building trucks as well.
Yes, while not as well-known as their closed-body counterparts, Jeep trucks have a storied history that goes back many decades. Here is a brief history of the Jeep truck.
When Was the First Jeep Truck Introduced?
Way back in 1947, right at the beginning of the Jeep brand, which was originally used on the battlefields of World War II, the company came out with its first iteration of a truck: the Willys-Overland Jeep 4×4 Truck. Before taking on the iconic Jeep name, the company that produced the vehicles was called Willys-Overland. Eventually, through mergers and rebranding, the name eventually became what we know it as today.
To be frank, there wasn’t much flashy or over-the-top about this vehicle. If anything, it was basically just a toned-down version of what was used during wartime, with the addition of a truck bed in back. These vehicles, however, weren’t targeted for off-road adventures and more broad-based utility like today. More so, these early Jeep trucks were designed to help out farmers and other workers who needed to haul items, but also needed a capable, powerful vehicle that could keep going through tough terrain. This 4×4 truck did just that.
How Did Jeep Trucks Evolve Over Time?
There have been several versions of Jeep trucks over time—all the way up to the present day, which we’ll look at later. The first few Jeep trucks after the original were pretty much in-line with the concept of form follows function—though this branched out in later years to accommodate a wider range of consumer desires. These are all the Jeep truck models and their production years, along with a few tidbits about them:
- Willys-Overland Jeep 4×4 Truck (1947-1965) – The original, just what you would imagine from a post-war truck—basically a military vehicle toned down for everyday users.
- Jeep FC (Forward Control) Series (1957-1966) – With a large, low bed, and a high, short cab, the Jeep FC has a fitting name considering its visual appearance.
- Jeep Gladiator/J-Series (1963-1987) – Maybe the Jeep truck that most looks like a regular pickup truck, the original Jeep Gladiator, known later as J-Series.
- Jeep Jeepster Commando/Commando (1967-1973) – A much less intimidating name and vehicle, the Jeepster Commando had a lot of versatility, but lacked true direction. It was one of the least Jeep-y trucks ever made by the company.
- Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler (1981-1985) – The Scrambler looks much like today’s Jeeps, so it’s no surprise this vehicle has been in the hearts of many for years.
- Jeep Comanche (1986-1992) – Sort of like a Cherokee with a truck bed, the Comanche was a truck with a sporty side.
- Jeep Gladiator (2020-) – Like a phoenix rising, the Jeep Gladiator has returned to production. Many are excited to get behind the wheel of this new-and-improved model line built for modern times.
What Are Jeep Trucks Like Today?
The 2021 Jeep Gladiator has come a long way from its predecessors. But one thing it does as well as any, if not the best, is preserve the Jeep quality so many seek in these special vehicles.
When you see a new Jeep Gladiator, you immediately notice the striking resemblance to Wranglers, which in turn owe much of their design elements to the Scrambler truck of yesteryear. What’s new to the modern Jeep is the combination of posh add-ons to the interior, without sacrificing the rugged, off-road nature of being a Jeep.
Over the years, many Jeep trucks have come and gone. To this day, the company is perfecting their formula for this desirable vehicle type. Check out a new Jeep Gladiator, or one of these vintage jeep trucks, for a ride like no other.