Jeep Models by Year - 1940 to 2012

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CJ, YJ, TJ, XJ.....What do they mean?

That's a question that gets asked a lot by newcomers to the Jeep world.  Jeep vehicles have "model designations" in addition to their common names. Nearly every civilian Jeep until the mid-2000's has a 'xJ' designation, though not all are as well-known as the classic CJ. Chrysler has now changed to an "xK" designation.  The "J"  and "K" terms that people use are actually the first two letters of the body style designation assigned by Jeep to each major body style revision.

"America's only real sports car" ~ Enzo Ferrari

Military Prototype Models:

  • Bantam Mark I - "Old Number One", the undisputed first "Jeep",  was produced by the American Bantam Car Company and delivered to Camp Holabird, Maryland on September 23, 1940.  It was destroyed in an accident in 1941 and sent back to Bantam's Butler, Pennsylvania factory for disassembly.  It's mechanical pieces were probably incorporated into the Mark IIs that were then in production.  Legend has it that the unusable body sections of the Mark I were buried on the Bantam grounds.  It is also noteworthy that as early as 1938 Bantam had spotted the potential of a light reconnaissance vehicle for military use and lent the National Guard three of its Austin based Roadsters to evaluate. The company continued to press the case for such a vehicle until a meeting with the Military was finally arranged at the Bantam factory on June 19th 1940. Worried by the mobility and ease with which the German Army had taken France and intelligence reports that the Germans were about to convert the Volkswagen for military use, they at last showed a real interest in Bantam's proposal.  The Mark I is also known as the Bantam GPV (General Purpose Vehicle) or as the Bantam "Blitz Buggy".
  • Bantam Mark II - Essentially a Mark I with minor mechanical changes, only 70 Mark II were produced in '40-'41.  Only one Mark II is known to have survived.  "Number Seven" is owned by the Smithsonian Institution and is currently located at the U.S. Army Transportation Museum on Fort Eustis, Virginia.  The Mark II is also known as the Mk II, BRC-60 and GPV (General Purpose Vehicle).
  • Willys QUAD - Only two QUADs were built, the true heavy-weight of the Bantam, Willys, and Ford competition for military contracts, with it's 60hp "Go-Devil" 4-cylinder.  Both QUADs have since disappeared (last seen in 1950).
  • Ford PYGMY - Only one Ford PYGMY was produced in 1940.  It was powered by a modified Ford tractor engine.  Later Willys MBs were patterned from the Ford.  The PYGMY is still in existence, owned by the Alabama Center of Military History.
  • Ford / Budd PYGMY - Very Similar to the Ford PYGMY, the Budd PYGMY was a slightly different body design which was build by the Budd Corporation in 1940.  The Budd body design was eventually reject by the Army in favor of the Ford body design.  The Budd prototype was seen throughout the 1940's in parades and war bond drives, but disappeared shortly after the end of WWII.  It was later rediscovered in the deserts of California in 1998.
  • Willys-Overland MA - The original prototype Jeep submitted by Willys-Overland for the military contract in 1940. "M" stood for "military"; "A" for the first model.  The MA was the least common of the pre-production Willys and only about 30 are know to exist of the 1553 originally produced.
  • Willys-Overland MLW-2 - In late 1943, the U.S. Army contracted with Willys-Overland to build a 1/2-ton jeep providing greater payload and mobility over the swampy jungle terrain of the Southwest Pacific. The prototype MLW-1 (M meaning "government", LW meaning "long wheelbase") was apparently never completed, but photographs of the MLW-2 "Jungle Jeep" pilot model appear in Fred Coldwell's book Preproduction Civilian Jeeps.The body incorporated several features which would later appear in the Civilian Jeep program, including a tailgate, under seat toolboxes, and a side-mounted spare tire holder similar to the CJ-1. (There was a second spare tire location inside the body, behind the front seats.) The storage compartment behind the rear wheel was not included on any CJ.
  • Ford GP - The original prototype Jeep submitted by Ford for the military contract in 1940. "G" indicated government issue; "P" indicated an 80" wb reconnaissance vehicle.  4456 GPs were built  in 1941.  Only about 200 are known to have survived.
  • Checker BRC - The Checker Car Company (the same of Checker Taxi fame) produced three four-wheel steering prototypes for the 1940 government bid.  Only two are in existence: one in the hands of private owner in California, the other in the Hickory Corners Auto Museum outside Kalamazoo, Michigan.  The third BRC was more than likely destroyed in testing at Aberdeen, Maryland and cannibalized for parts.
  • Chevrolet CPJ - Only two CPJ were built by Chevrolet in 1940. If you have any information about the Chevy CPJ prototype, please feel free to drop me a line in Ebay Messaging.
Although all of the above are considered jeep prototypes the Mark II, MA, and GP were actually pre-production models and were only distributed in limited numbers.  Willys MAs and Ford GPs, for example, saw service in Indo-China and Burma in 1941 with the AVG (the famed "Flying Tigers"), whereas Mark IIs saw service with the Canadian Army.

     

Pictured: Bantam Mark I, Willys QUAD, and Ford PYGMY.

Military Models:

  • MB - The revised model first mass-produced by Willys-Overland for the military in '40-'45?. "B" stood for the second model.  1941-42 models featured a slat grill and 1942-45 models had a 9-slot stamped grill.  Most, but not all, did not have a glove box and did no include a gas can.
  • MZ - Produced at the end of World War II it was the same as the MB, but featured a transfer case mounted 24-volt generator.
  • BRC-40 - Built in 1941, the BRC-40 was the final design of the Bantam Mark II.  2675 were produced by the end of 1941, but were then considered by the U.S. Army as 'non-standard' when the final Willys-Overland and Ford models were adopted.  The Bantams already in service with the army together with the continued output from the factory were passed onto the British and Russian armies under the terms of the Lend-Lease Act.  Interestingly, having observed the 1940 trials, the Russian Purchasing Commission wanted the Bantam by choice.  Additionally, the BRC-40 was more than likely the first of the three to see actual combat against the German Wehrmacht along the Russian front.
  • BRC-40-4WS - Only 62 4WS were produced by Bantam and featured four wheel steering.
  • GPW - The revised model first mass-produced by Ford for the military in '40-'45. It is virtually identical to the MB (the "W" stood for "Willys' design").
  • GPW-4WS - Only 50 4WS were produced by Ford and featured four wheel steering.  12 are known to have survived.
  • GPA - The "Seep" (Sea Jeep) was an amphibious version of the GPW produced by Ford from '42'-'43.  The Seep was not as maneuverable on land as the GPW, but it could do 10 knots in the water.  Though not the most seaworthy vessel a highly modified GPA, the "Half Safe", successfully crossed the Atlantic Ocean in 1950 and went on to circumnavigate the globe by 1955. 
  • M38 - aka MC - The next generation military Jeep by Willys ('50-52), similar to the civilian CJ-3A. Like all of the above models, it was a flat-fender style.
  • V-35/U - A specialty made Willys CJ-3A (a cross between a CJ-3A, M38, and MB) for the U.S. Marine Corps that was designed as “especially adapted for general reconnaissance or command communications” and “constructed for short period underwater operation such as encountered in landing and fording operations."  In other words, a waterproofed, radio jeep.  1000 were produced in 1950, but only 3 to 5 are known to exist.  It is also known as the CJ-V35/U.
  • M38A1 - aka MD - Basically the military version of the CJ-5 ('52-'57). Unlike the CJ-5, it had the front shackles behind the springs instead of up front.
  • M38A1C - U.S. military designation for an MD modified to carry a rear-mounted 105mm or 106 mm recoilless rifle. Surplus examples would have been sold with the large weapon removed, but distinctive features that might remain include: a windshield with a center gap to allow the barrel of the rifle to rest horizontally, a cowl-mounted spare tire to provide clearance for the breech of the rifle and storage for shells accessible from the rear, and an M75A1 or M79 mount.
  • M38A1D - Very similar to the M38A1C, the A1D was used briefly in 1962 to carry the "Davy Crockett" tactical nuclear cannon.
  • M201 - Willys-Hotchkiss continued to produce a slightly modified MB / GPW for the French military between 1956 and 1966.  Beginning in 1945 the French government began purchasing MBs and GPWs via 'Lend-Lease' agreements, as 'War Surplus' from the U.S. Government, or recovering  badly damaged scrap vehicles that were abandoned after WWII in order to re-establish it's Army.  Of the 22,000 purchased from the U.S. only about half were in good, usable order.  Despite this the workshops of E.R.G.M.( Etablissement de Réserve Générale du Matériel Automobile) at La Maltournée near Paris were able to refurbish and deliver some 27,000 to the French military.  Much to the credit of E.R.G.M. the French Régiment Hussard de Parachutistes (Airborne) were still driving M201s in Chad during 'Operation Manta' in 1983. As many as 25 M201s were held in reserve for 'Civil Defense' by the French government, but were finally sold at auction in 2002 at Vayres near Bordeaux.
  • M442 - The "Mighty Might" was manufactured by AMC (American Motors) for the U.S. Marine Corps from 1959 to 1962.  It featured an AMC V-4 air-cooled engine that could only achieve 55mph.  With an aluminum body, it only weighed 1700 lbs.
  • M442A1 - A slightly longer version of the M442.  Just under 4000 were produced.
  • M606 - The little-known 1960-68 M606 was basically the CJ-3B straight off the assembly line, with the available heavy-duty options such as larger tires and springs, and a few special-duty add-ons including blackout lamp on the left front fender, blackout tail-light covers, and trailer hitch. The M606 used the standard F-head four-cylinder, and although it had its own Kaiser model number, serial numbers were in the regular CJ-3B series. The CJ-3B had been employed by the U.S. military mainly in non-combat roles such as Navy Shore Patrol, but the M606 designation was apparently used only for units exported as military aid in the 1960's. The exact year the designation was first used is unknown.
  • M151 - Ford's replacement of the M38A1, built in '60-'63, known as the MUTT (Military Unit Tactical Truck).
  • M151A1 - Ford's replacement of the M151, built in '64-'70.
  • M151A2 - Produced by Ford, Kaiser Jeep, and AM General from 1970 until the classic "Jeep" design was replaced by AM General's HMMWV (Hummer) in 1983.  Variants of the M151A2 are the M825 106mm Recoilless Rifle Carrier, M108 communications vehicle, and M718A1 ambulance.
  • M170 - Similar to a military version of the CJ-6. About 6500 of them were made in 1954 to 1964 making it one of the rarest Jeeps produced.  A unique feature of the M170 was the spare tire mounted inside the body on the passenger side to allow stretchers to extend over the tailgate.
  • M-715 - A 1 1/4-ton military pickup built '67-'69. It somewhat resembles a J-truck (SJ), only bigger and badder. The M-725 was the ambulance version of the M-715.
  • J8 - On September 13, 2007, at the Defense Systems & Equipment International trade show, Chrysler LLC unveiled a Wrangler Unlimited version designed for military use dubbed the J8. The unarmored Jeep J8 is equipped with larger brakes, axles and suspension components than the civilian version and has a payload capacity of 1,339 kg (2,952 lb). The J8 also differs from the civilian model by utilizing heavy-duty rear leaf springs for carrying heavier payloads. The Jeep J8 is powered by a 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine that produces 118 kW (158 hp) and 400 nm (295 lb.-ft) of torque, providing towing capability of up to 3,500 kg (7,716 lb). The engine is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. The J8 also features a unique air-intake system with special filtration and a hood-mounted snorkel that enables the J8 to wade in water up to 762 mm (30 in.) deep and tackle sandstorm conditions for up to five hours. Available as a two-door with an extended pickup bed for personnel or equipment transport, or a four-door multipurpose vehicle, it may be produced with numerous vehicle-body and seating configurations in either right-hand- or left-hand-drive. Targeted for use by the military in overseas markets as a non-front-line combat vehicle (garison Military Police and the like), the J8 is not available in the United States because it will not meet U.S. emissions requirements. The J8 is produced in Egypt.
The Ford GPW and Willys MB differed only slightly in design, but all parts were interchangeable between the two.  Over 640,000 GPW and MB were produced between 1942 and 1945.  There are many minor design differences between the two, but the major differences between the two are "Ford" stamped into the body of the GPW , "Willys" stamped into the body of the MB, and most early MBs included a glove box (whereas early GPWs do not).

         

Pictured: Ford GP, Willys MB, Ford GPW

Traditional Models:

The first civilian version of the military-inspired short-wheelbase Jeep, made '42-'86. Encompasses everything from flat-fenders to Scramblers. Like many other early Jeep designations, "CJ" actually stands for something: Civilian Jeep. Various numbers followed the CJ designation, indicating different body styles within the CJ line.

  • CJ-1 - The "AgriJeep" was the first commercial version of the MB, but was sold only as a farm vehicle in early 1944 and was not readily available for sale to the general public.  Only twenty CJ-1 were produced, but none are known to have survived.
  • CJ-2 - Also called the "Agrijeep", the CJ-2 was the pilot model of the CJ-2A.  Only twenty-two were built in mid 1944, and of that twenty-two only two known restored survivors remain that have "Agrijeep" stamped on their data plates (CJ-2-09 and CJ-2-14), both of which are in Colorado.  There are also seven other partially or unrestored CJ-2 in existence.
  • CJ-2A - After scrapping the "Agrijeep" name in July of 1945, Willys began producing the  flat-fender CJ-2A, very similar to the military MB  except that the headlights bulge out of the grill instead of being inset.  Unlike the MB, it featured a tailgate.  2As were produced until 1949.
  • CJ-3A - A flat-fender, very similar to the military M38 ('48-53).
  • CJ-3B - A flat-fender, the top of its hood sits 4" higher above the fenders than the 3A to clear the new F-head engine ('52-68).
  • CJ-4 - Only one prototype is known to exist. It was discovered in 1997, still in the hands of its second owner. It looks like a 50/50 mix of a CJ-3A and a CJ-5, with only slightly-rounded fenders, an 81in wheelbase and the new Hurricane engine.  The CJ-4 was originally sold to a factory employee after Willys decided on the CJ-3B model instead.
  • CJ-5 - The Kaiser civilian version of the M38A1, but with the front shackles under the bumper like most other models. 81" ('55-'71) or 84" ('72-'83) wheelbase. Front fenders are rounded like all subsequent short-wheelbase Jeeps. Easily distinguished from the CJ-7 by a small doorway with a rounded, sloping rear edge.
  • CJ-6 - Essentially a CJ-5 that was stretched 20" ('58-75), intended for use as a small pickup.
  • CJ-7 - A compromise between the CJ-5 and CJ-6, having a 93.4" wheelbase (like the YJ and TJ). The body tub is very similar to the YJ and TJ, but the rear wheel wells are round instead of angular. Made '76-'86.
  • CJ-8 - Also called a "Scrambler." Similar to a CJ-7, but with an extra 10" of wheelbase and an even longer rear overhang. Like the CJ-6, it was intended as a small pickup, but never really found its niche. Only 27,000 were made from '81-'86. Commonly seen with half-cab tops that surround only the front seats.
  • CJ-10 - A more truck-like Jeep built mainly for export from 1981-85. A small number were also sold to the US Air Force for use in pulling aircraft around runways. These Jeeps had very stout drive trains compared with their smaller brethren. Easily distinguished by the square headlights in the fenders and the 10-slat grille.
  • YJ - The original Wrangler, made '87-'95 (though production actually continued into March of '96). Rectangular headlights make it what some would refer to as the "bastard child" of the of the short-wheelbase line. Rear wheel wells are larger and more angled than the CJ-7, but otherwise the two are visually quite similar.
  • TJ - The second generation Wrangler, made 1997-2006 (actually began shipping May of '96). Round headlights, coil suspension, and a much more car-like interior distinguish it from the YJ.
  • LJ - The Wrangler Unlimited ('04-'07), essentially a long wheelbase version of the TJ and is reminiscent of the CJ-8 Scrambler.
  • JK/JKL - The third generation Wrangler, introduced in 2007. It's somewhat larger than the TJ, and has a rounded windshield and body panels. JK is the 2-door version; JKL is the 4-door.

             

Pictured: CJ-2A, YJ, TJ

Compact SUV:

  • VJ - The Jeepster ('48-50) was an attempt by Willys to spice up their vehicle lineup. 2WD, 72hp, and poor marketing doomed it to be discontinued after less than three years.
  • C-101 - The Jeepster Commando ('66-73) was an attempt by Kaiser to compete with with the Bronco and TLC. The C101 was part CJ and part Wagoneer, advertised as a "happy combo, racy and rugged." This time around it had 4WD, and came in convertibles, hardtop wagons, and half-cab pickups.
  • C-104 - The Jeepster name was removed after 1971, but the model remained in production for two more years as the Jeep Commando. 
  • XJ - The down-sized Cherokee ('84-'01) and Wagoneer ('84-'89). It was (probably) the first Jeep to use a unibody chassis.
  • KJ - The Liberty ('01-'07), which replaced the XJ in Jeep's product lineup.
  • KK - The Liberty ('07-Present). 

Full Size SUV:

    • SJ - The full-size Cherokee ('74-'83), Wagoneer ('63-'83), Grand Wagoneer ('84-'91), and J-truck ('63-'87).  The Cherokee, Wagoneer, and Grand Wagoneer are considered by most to be the "Original SUV".  In 1984, Jeep introduced the down-sized XJ and started calling them Cherokees and Wagoneers, leaving only the Grand Wagoneer in the SJ lineup until its demise in '91.
    • ZJ - The Grand Cherokee ('93-'98), which replaced the Grand Wagoneer (SJ) as Jeep's luxury cruiser after a 1-year hiatus. Though much more aerodynamic than the SJ, it's obviously less rounded than its replacement, the WJ.
    • WJ - As the more bubble-shaped, aerodynamic replacement for the ZJ, it continues the Grand Cherokee name ('99-04).
    • WK - The third style of Grand Cherokee has a more angular design than the WJ and also joins the Liberty in having an independent front suspension ('05-present).
    • XK - The Commander was introduced as the big brother of the WK, offering 7-passenger seating and the 5.7L Hemi V8 ('06-present).

    Other SUV: Willys Jeep Station Wagon

    • 463 - Initially offered in 1946 it offered an L-134 Go-Devil flathead four-cylinder
    • 663 - The 1948 663 was powered by an L-148 Lightning six-cylinder with four wheel drive being offered in 1949.
    • 473 - The 1950 473's flat grill was replaced by a pointed v-shaped design with horizontal bars across the vertical ones.  It was powered by an F-134 Hurricane four-cylinder.
    • 673 - Much the same as the 1950 473, but offered a L-161 Lightning six-cylinder.  1950 also saw the introduction of sedan delivery version as well.
    • 685 - Same as the 1950 673, but the Lightning engine was dropped in favor of the F-161 Hurricane six-cylinder.
    • 475 - Now under Kaiser ownership the 1955 475 received the L-226 Super Hurricane six-cylinder.
    A number of new models were added in 1955. The 6-226 model lineup gained stripped chassis, flat face cowl, cowl/windshield, and ambulance models. The 475 line received only the cowl/windshield.  In 1958 a new Maverick model was introduced, a comparatively more luxurious version of the two-wheel drive wagon. It could be had with either the four or the six cylinder engine.  The 6-230 Tornado OHC engine was introduced in midyear 1962, replacing the flathead.  Production ended in 1965, as the Willys model had been phased out by the Jeep Wagoneer.  Over 300,000 wagons and variants were built.

    Crossover:

    • MK - The Patriot is a compact, 4-door,  introduced in 2007. 
    • MK - The Compass is a compact, 4-door, introduced in 2007.

    Both Patriot and Compass hold the MK designation since they are based on the Daimler-Chrysler / Mitsubishi GS platform (same platform as the Dodge Caliber and Mitsubishi Outlander).

    Pickup Versions:

    • FC-150 - Forward Control pickup, with the cab directly above the F4-134 Hurricane engine (same engine as CJ-3B, CJ-5, and CJ-6). Introduced in 1957.
    • FC-160 - A slightly longer version of the FC-150 produce by Mahindrah & Mahindrah, LLC in Bombay, India and was not sold in the United States.  Alternate versions of the FC-160 included the FJ-460/470 mini-bus / van.  FC-160s were produced in India until 1999.
    • FC-170 - A 3/4 ton version of the FC-150, introduced in 1959.  In terms of gross weight, it was the heaviest truck that Willys produced.
    • FC-170 DRW - A stake bed version of the FC-170 with dual rear wheels, hence "DRW".  Alternate configurations replaced the stake bed with an optional back-hoe / excavator (similar to modern military Mercedes "SEE" trucks).
    • J200 - Gladiator, short wheelbase trucks from '62 up to mid '65.
    • J300 - Gladiator, long wheelbase version of the J200.
    • J10 - Honcho was a trim package on the full-size J-Series pickup truck, and was offered from 1976-1983.It consisted of bold striping and decals, and factory extras such as the Levi's interior or a roll bar. It was one in a series of special decal packages offered for J-Series trucks in the mid to late 1970's, which included the Golden Eagle and J10-4 which offered a CB radio along with the decals.
    • J20 - Sportside version of the Honcho produced from '80-'82.
    • MJ - The Comanche pickup ('86-'92). It shares much in common with the XJ of that era, including its front unibody chassis. It replaced the full-size Gladiator and J-truck pickups of the SJ era.  

    Postal Versions: 

    • DJ-3A - Dispatcher (postal) version of the CJ-3A, made '56-65. Only 2-wheel drive versions were available.
    • DJ-5 - Dispatcher (postal) version of the CJ-5, made '65-83 by Jeep and then AM General. Only 2-wheel drive versions were available.
    • DJ-6 (long, like the CJ-6) was also made from '65-68.
    • FJ - The Jeep FJ-3 Fleetvan was a compact delivery van manufactured by Willys Motors and Kaiser-Jeep from 1961 to 1965. It was based on the DJ-3A Dispatcher, but equipped with the F-134 Hurricane engine. Two models were available, the FJ-3 and the longer FJ-3A. It came standard with the familiar Borg-Warner T-90 three-speed manual. A Borg-Warner automatic was offered as an option.  Right-hand-drive FJ-3s were made for the U. S. Postal Service. Most of these had horizontal grille slats in contrast to the seven vertical slats found on standard models.  An FJ-6 was introduced in 1965 for postal use, which replaced the FJ-9 in 1975.

    Also note that Jeep produced Right Hand Drive versions of the SJ, XJ, KJ, and TJ from 1984 to the present.

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