What is so evocative about the Jeep Grand Wagoneer is how – to me, anyway – these early SUVs resemble a classic stagecoach – the wood-grain paneling certainly helps such a vision – heading off on a mission of safely delivering its passengers across the perils of the American plains.
It is such a classic look. And that is just a part of the Jeep Grand Wagoneer’s great sense of romance – not forgetting the genius of its original concept from Willys-Overland Motors. One of the great vehicles of the USA, the Grand Wagoneer was a development of the jeep employed extensively by the U.S. Army during World War II.
Although the term ‘jeep’ had been U.S. Army slang for new recruits or vehicles, the name of the vehicle took on a formal meaning after it went into production in 1941. Used by both the U.S. Army and its allies, the spartan Jeep became the number one light four-wheel drive vehicle of the conflict. Essentially it was the very first popular example of the SUV, the precursor of the Humvee and inspiration for the original Series 1 Land Rover: the roots of the perennially popular SUV truck, omnipresent on our streets and highways, are all traceable back to the humble Jeep.
In the USA the Jeep Wagoneer arrived on the market in November 1962, for the 1963 model, 7 years ahead of the first Range Rover, 24 years before that marque appeared in the USA.