July 15, 2016 at 3:16 pm by Greg Fink
75-Year Salute: Jeep’s Anniversary Gift to Itself Is This Willys MB–Inspired Concept
On July 15, 1941, Willys-Overland Motor Co. was awarded a contract by the U.S. government to build its versatile, go-anywhere Willys MB—soon to be known as the jeep—for military use. Seventy-five years later, the basic spirit of the Willys MB lives on in the modern Jeep Wrangler.
To celebrate the occasion, Jeep crafted the Wrangler 75th Salute concept. Based on the base Wrangler Sport with a six-speed manual transmission, the Wrangler 75th Salute concept is dipped in olive green military paint and features body-color fenders as well as 16-inch steel wheels mounted on 32-inch military tires. The look is classic Jeep and is somewhat reminiscent of the Shortcut concept from this year’s Easter Jeep Safari.
To fully channel the look of the original Willys MB, though, Jeep also fitted the 75th Salute with exposed steel front and rear bumpers, canvas-covered seats sans headrests, and commemorative badging (it also ditched the modern vehicle’s integrated rollover bar). Jeep also notes that it added custom wood hood blocks and mirrors to the concept.
Sadly, the Wrangler 75th Salute is merely a concept, and given its low-back front seats, cut bumpers, and apparent lack of rollover bar, it doesn’t meet the modern safety requirements needed to reach production. The closest thing (sort of) that you can get from a dealer today is the Willys edition. So, consider the 75th Salute concept to be Jeep’s gift to itself—a really, really fantastic one.