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Despite being one of the hottest-selling brands in America and parent company Fiat Chrysler’s current meal ticket, Jeep is the last remaining pillar of this country’s rich history of independent automakers. Before it came under the ownership of Chrysler in 1987, Jeep was struggling to compete with the Big Three, and as such, it offered pickup trucks. Good pickup trucks.
Today, Jeep isn’t known as a truck company (keep reading to see why), but that wasn’t always the case. From 1947 to 1992, or roughly 60% of its existence, Jeep has sold trucks. And while they’re not as well-known as the Ford F-150 or Chevy Silverado, almost all of them earned their right to have a place in automotive history.
With FCA making the surprise announcement that a Wrangler-based pickup will return to the Jeep lineup by 2018, a quick look into Jeep’s past reminded us just how much the new truck has to live up to. Here’s a look at 5 highlights from the iconic off-roader’s pickup past.
1. The Jeep Truck
Once World War II ended, Willys-Overland had a hit on its hands with the Jeep, and moved quickly to capitalize on it. But since the Jeep was unlike anything else on the market, the newly formed Jeep brand had one of the strangest lineups of the postwar era. There was the first mass-market “Civilian Jeep” the CJ-2A, an even more bare bones CJ-3A work Jeep, the strange Jeepster luxury convertible, the steel-bodied Station Wagon, and the all-wheel drive Truck (the company didn’t exactly have a knack for names back then). Despite the quantum leap the auto industry took the postwar years, the utilitarian Jeep Truck was built largely unchanged from 1947 to 1965.
2. Jeep FC-Series
In 1952, a struggling Willys-Overland sold the brand to Kaiser Motors, and by mid-decade, the new owner was anxious to update Jeep’s aging product line. The most radical result was the Forward-Control, (or FC) lineup of 1957. Based on the CJ-5 platform, the FC trucks were designed by Brooks Stevens (who penned Jeep’s first postwar vehicles), and were inspired by the explosion of modern cab-over trucks on America’s growing highways. The FC trucks were phased out in 1966, and have since developed a cult following in the Jeep community. In 2013, Jeep excited the faithful with the perfectly modernized Mighty FC Concept at the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah. Unfortunately, it was never intended to see production.
3. Jeep J-Series
Jeep’s J-Series was introduced in 1962 to replace the ancient Jeep Truck, and ended up sticking around even longer than its predecessor. Sharing its frame and front clip with the iconic Wagoneer, the J-Series was known as the Gladiator, J-200, J-2000, Honcho, J-10, and J-20, (among other names) before Chrysler bought out then-parent company AMC, and ended production in 1988. While the Wagoneer soldiered on until 1991, Chrysler didn’t want the aging Jeep to compete with Dodge’s full-size truck lineup, and was one of the first vehicles it discontinued from the AMC-era. In 2012, it showed a little remorse and unveiled the familiar-looking J-12 concept at Moab.
Check out WAY more awesome Jeeps’ that a lot of us have forgotten about over at CheatSheet.com
Source : http://www.cheatsheet.com/automobiles/2018-jeep-wrangler-pickup-5-trucks-it-needs-to-live-up-to.html/?a=viewall