Jeep History

Just a little history on the good old Jeep, Its beginnings where its been and what it is doing today.

Jeep CJ5

The early history of CJ5
The CJ5 Jeep was introduced by Kaiser in 1955. It was constructed to replace the CJ-3B model, but that model continued in production. The actual model for the original CJ5 was the U.S. Military's M38A1 which sported the rounded-off front fenders. Moreover, the CJ5 continued in production for 30 years three newer models appeared.


Kaiser looked for the most profitable markets for CJ5, so as for all their other models. In fact, the CJ5 was not made suitable for family ride or street commuter, so it was used mostly in ranching, farming, mining and other rugged outdoor work environments. Improvements in engines, axles, transmissions and seating comfort made the CJ5 the ideal vehicle for the public's growing interest in off-road vehicles. The CJ5 featured softer styling lines, including rounded body contours. A long wheelbase model was introduced and was known as a CJ-6. Also a forward control cab-over-engine variation to the CJ line was introduced a in 1956.
The Jeep CJ5 had the longest production run of any Jeep vehicle, from 1954 to 1984. In the 16 years of Kaiser ownership, manufacturing plants were established in 30 foreign countries, and people could buy such vehicles in more than 150 countries. CJ Jeep vehicle truly became an international symbol.
In 1962 Jeep introduced the first automatic transmission in a four wheel drive vehicle, in their Wagoneer line.
In 1965 bought the casting rights to the Buick 225 cu in (3.7 L) V6 Dauntless and introduced a new V-6 engine as an option on the 81-inch wheelbase CJ5. Supplementing the four-cylinder Willys Hurricane engine, the 155-horsepower engine had twice more horsepower then the horsepower of the standard four-cylinder engine.
It should be mentioned that there is unique variant of CJ5/CJ-6 which was produced in limited numbers in Australia. In 1965, when the CJ was given the all-new Buick V6, Jeep saw the need for something similar in Australia. So, they began to fit Falcon 6 cylinder engines to them at their Rocklea factory in Queensland. A 1965 CJ5 would be fitted with 1965 Falcon engine/clutch components. When the Falcon received a hydraulic clutch system, so too did the Jeep. Combat 6 jeeps were also fitted with Australian Borg Warner differentials, and Borg Warner brand gearboxes. There is a little documentation about such jeeps, the only way to identify them is often by owner history.
Years under American Motors Corporation ownership
After Kaiser Jeep was purchased by American Motors Corporation in 1970, CJ5 came equipped with AMC-built engines. American Motors began using their own engines in 1972. Replacing the Hurricane was the one-barrel 232 cu in (3.8 L) (except in California). Optional was a one-barrel 258 cu in (4.2 L) (standard in California). Also in 1972, AMC's 304 cu in (5.0 L) V8 engine became available in the same tune as a base V8 muscle car. To accommodate the new engines the fenders and hood were stretched 5 inches (127 mm) starting in 1972 and the wheelbase was stretched 3 inches (76 mm). Other drive train changes took place then as well, including the front axle becoming a full-floating Dana.
In 1976, AMC introduced the CJ7, the first major change in Jeep design in 20 years. The CJ7 had a slightly longer wheelbase than a CJ5 to allow an automatic transmission to be fitted. Demand for the CJ7 left AMC no choice but to discontinue the CJ5, and concentrate on manufacturing CJ7.
From 1980 to 1983, the CJ5 came standard with a "Hurricane"-branded version of the GM Iron Duke I4.

CJ5 models

Several special CJ5 models were produced during CJ5 Jeep history:
  • 1961-1963 Tuxedo Park Mark III.
  • 1965 "Tuxedo Park Mark IV".
  • 1969 Camper.
  • 1969 462.
  • 1970 Renegade I.
  • 1971 Renegade II.
  • 1973 Super Jeep.
  • 1977-1983 Golden Eagle.
  • 1979 Silver Anniversary.


The CJ5 Jeep was in production from 1954 to 1984. It is the longest production run of a vehicle in the U.S.A.

Jeep CJ7

The early history of Jeep CJ7
The first Jeep CJ7 was introduce in 1976 and 379,299 were built during 11 years of production. It was the upgrade of CJ5. The new CJ was much more suitable for “civilian” use than its predecessors. The now fully boxed frame was widened, so stability increased. The leaf springs were altered and moved further outward, and anti-sway bars and a steering stabilizer were added for even more improvements in drivability. Also CJ7 featured another 10 inches in the wheelbase. CJ7 lacked the noticeable curvature of the doors previously seen on the CJ5. The CJ7 offered a compromise between the CJ5 shortie and the long-arm CJ-6. It was just long enough for room and comfort but short enough to get down and dirty on the trail. It has proven a popular rig on all fronts.

The CJ7 featured an optional new automatic all-wheel drive system called Quadra-Trac, a part-time two speed transfer case and an automatic transmission was also an option. Other features included an optional molded hardtop, and steel doors.
The CJ7 was available in Renegade and an upgraded Laredo model. The Laredo model featured nicer seats, steering wheel tilt, and a chrome package that included the bumpers, front grill, and mirrors. It was the first CJ that offered both the Quadra-Trac and Hydra-Matic four-wheel drive system. The standard base motor was an inline six cylinder that was 232 cubic inches through a bore and stroke of 3.75 x 3.50 inches. This engine produced 100 bhp @ 3600 rpm. Since this really didn’t cut it for most jeep drivers, there was always the optional 258 cubic inch inline six cylinder or the 304 cubic inch V8. There were also trim and convenience packages (such as the Renegade package). Locking rear differentials and winches were available options too which most buyers wanted for off-road use.
CJ7 History. Dana Models
In 1980 was the Dana Model 20 transfer case was replaced by the Dana Model 300. The new model had a much deeper low range, 2.62:1 compared to the 2.03:1 Dana 20. The change was necessary due to Jeep no longer offering anything like the granny gear found in the T18 transmission. As for the CJ7's standard axles, Jeep offered the Dana Model 30 for the front and the AMC 20 for the rear. The Dana 44 rear axle was being offered as an upgrade on select models, and later became standard in 1986. Jeep offered no optional factory front axles.
CJ7 today
Between 1980 and 1982 a diesel-powered version had been manufacturing in the Ohio factory and for export only.
In 1987, CJ7 was gone, the AMC badges were lost and the Wrangler was born. Since 1987, there has not been a vehicle produced which could compete head to head with the Wrangler. However, the Jeep CJ7 remains a vehicle in its own class. Today, it remains one of the most sought after Jeeps for off-roading, restoration, or just weekend trips to the beach. Today the CJ7 is still used in the sport of mud racing and it is a favorite for rock crawling.

CJ7 models

During its 11 years, the CJ7 had various equipment packages:
  • Renegade 1976-1986 (2.4D L6-2.5-4.2-5.0 V8).
  • Golden Eagle 1976-1979 (5.0 V8).
  • Laredo 1982-1986 (2.4D-4.2 l6).
  • Jamboree Edition (Limited Edition 2500 models which were built for the 30th anniversary 2.5 and 4.2).

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