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Jeep celebrates WIllys MB Jeep's 75th
By Derek Fung, CarAdvice.com.au • 18/07/2016
The one-off Jeep Wrangler Salute concept celebrates the 75th birthday of the Willys MB, which went into production in 1941.
The Salute concept is based on the entry-level two-door Wrangler. Unlike the production car, the Salute concept misses out on doors, B-pillars and a roof frame.
Other changes include a spare wheel and tyre combo mounted on the tailgate, and exposed steel bumpers at both ends with integrated tow hooks.
Above and below: 1944 Willys MB.
To give the concept the true military look, the Salute is finished in a drab olive green paint scheme with white lettering and insignia similar to the vehicles used by the US armed forces in World War II.
Like the original Willys MB, the Salute has a bare metal floor, while the canvas seats lack headrests. The Jeep Wrangler Salute rides on 16-inch steel wheels fitted with 32-inch military-grade non-directional tyres.
Under the bonnet, the Salute is powered by a 213kW 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 hooked to up a six-speed manual transmission. It should prove to be more spritely than the 45kW/142Nm 2.2-litre four-cylinder engine in the Willys MB.
The MB went into production in 1941 after Willys-Overland won a US government competition to produce a standardised, rugged vehicle for the country’s use in World War II.
So great was the military’s desire for the car, Willys had to contract out some of the production of the car to Ford, which produced the vehicle under the GPW designation.
At the end of the war, Willys made a civilian version of the MB. The Jeep CJ, as it was eventually known, went out of production in 1986, and its place in the Jeep lineup was taken over by the first Wrangler.