They say that necessity is the mother of invention; that in the bleakest moments of our history some of the most significant creations are born. Surfing the web on our tablets, mobile phones and computers, all inventions whose own origins could be traced back to these darkest of times, it’s hard to appreciate just how much an innovation conceived amidst the chaos of the Second World War continues to have such a profound effect on our everyday lives today.
One such four-wheeled invention of the utmost significance first appeared in 1941. Named the Willys MB Jeep, this ingeniously simple and ultra-durable little 4×4 not only helped to alter the course of the world’s greatest conflict but also spawned the company which bears its name to this day.
75 years on, Jeep is celebrating its humble origins in style with the release of a special edition version of the Wrangler SUV, the car with the most tangible link to its wartime ancestor of today’s showroom line-up.
First revealed at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, the Jeep Wrangler 75th Anniversary edition’s limited worldwide production run will see just 85 examples destined for the UK, making it one of the rarest models to bear the trademark barred grille on these shores.
Based on the Overland spec model, all versions include a range of tweaks and additions inside and out ranging from exterior extras to updates under the bonnet.
For starters, the short wheelbase Wrangler’s existing 2.8 litre diesel engine has been overhauled to meet European emission standards. However, this variety of special addition puts the onus very much on styling. A bronze-finished version of the iconic Jeep front grille is complemented by an array of bronze and orange Jeep 75th Anniversary badging, whilst 18-inch alloy wheels and a choice of three exclusive body colours forge a unique look. For the full 40’s makeover, a splash of retro Sarge green is the ideal pick.
Both the 2-door Sahara model and its 4-door counterpart the Rubicon get the anniversary treatment. The former features new front side airbags plus a deep-tint sunscreen whilst the latter throws a set of black or brown heated leather seats into the bargain. Embossed 1941 badging is a standout feature throughout the cabin with bronze accents on air vents and grab handles matching the exterior trim. The special edition Wrangler also receives a more comprehensive tech package than its standard equivalent, with a satnav with an alpine premium sound system included as standard.
Needless to say, those with a taste for Jeep heritage will need to be quick to grab a slice of the Wrangler 75th Anniversary Edition pie. The 2.8 litre 2-door variant is on sale now from £31,840 with the price tag rising to £34,910 for the 4-dr Rubicon 3.6 litre V6.