Archive for the ‘willys wheeler’ Tag

Willys Wheeler a highlight at the Texas Truck Rodeo

Having two days to sample 75 different trucks, SUVs and crossovers sounds like being handed the keys to the candy store. But the old admonition about being careful what you wish for is is very appropriate: it’s a lot of candy, you get only a little taste of each kind and you have to eat very fast.

The reality is that you get about 12-13 hours of total driving time to sample as many of those vehicles as possible; you have to share those vehicles with 60 other people that have the same requirement and you have to be able to compare those vehicles in a large number of categories.

In spite of all of that, it’s a great opportunity to test a variety of vehicles side-by-side as well as drive some trucks that don’t routinely appear in media review fleets.

One of the most memorable vehicles at the event was a Hydro Blue 2015 Jeep Wrangler Willys Wheeler which, along with a 2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon Hard Rock Edition, nailed down the Off-Road Utility of Texas title for the second year running.

Like almost all the vehicles at the Rodeo, the Willys was very well-equipped with options like automatic transmission, air-conditioning and hard top. They took the price from around $27,000, including destination charges, to about $32,000.

At most media events like this, the automakers send a team of managers, engineers and marketing people. These folks ride with you, filling you in on all the nifty stuff about the truck you’re driving and making sure you don’t do anything too weird, like taking off to Guadalajara for an extended test drive or testing the rock-climbing capabilities of vehicles that were never intended to climb rocks bigger than gravel.

However, on the afternoon of the second driving day, a lot of those company folks had to leave in order to make flights back to Detroit or wherever they called home.

While a desire to see events like this continue prevented anything too outlandish, the journalists had an opportunity to drive by themselves. This is a time to be cherished as you can focus on the vehicle instead carrying on a conversation.

The blue Willys Wheeler, which had been pretty busy since the driving began, was available so a drive was in order, especially since I had never driven a Wrangler with an automatic transmission.

Jeep-Willys-2-Web

There are two courses at the Knibbe Ranch. One is a road course that includes a few miles of country roads and a short stretch of highway. The other is an off-road course. The off-road trail isn’t like traversing the Rubicon Trail or mastering Moab but it does offer the chance to try out real four-wheel drive, hill descent control and other features. There are rocks to climb, creeks to ford and what many would consider moderately rough terrain to conquer.

My first time on the course, there were other drivers. As each challenge was approached, our parade would stop as we engaged the four-wheel drive or switched on the hill descent system and then each in turn made the crossing.

The Willys Wheeler handled it all with aplomb and the automatic transmission made shifting in and out of 4 Low a breeze.

As we circled back to the staging area, I noticed that no one was on the course, so I opted for a second pass, this time in two-wheel mode, and left the transmission in drive.

With no other vehicles ahead of me, I was able to open it up a bit. The ride was bouncy in places and the Willys and I may have been momentarily airborne a time or two, but it was a hoot: I grinned the whole time.

The Jeep never missed a beat, whether it was descending a rocky stair-step track or climbing a muddy incline. It was in its element.

All too quickly it was over and time to return and let another writer have a chance to enjoy the Willys Wheeler.

But it sure was fun while it lasted.

Read more at:http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2014/10/willys-wheeler-a-highlight-at-the-texas-truck-rodeo

A Classic Throwback With Modern Capability

2014 Jeep® Wrangler Willys Wheeler Edition

The roots of America’s love affair with Jeep® can be traced to World War II, as the one-of-a-kind vehicle dutifully served the U.S. military with its durability and ruggedness. The affinity for Jeep gained traction as the first civilian Jeep (“CJ”) vehicles – the Willys-Overland CJ-2A – reached the public in 1945. The CJ-2A, and successor CJ-3A, was immortalized for its go-anywhere capability and strictly functional amenities.

“The new Jeep Wrangler Willys Wheeler Edition is a Jeep purist’s dream, delivering a Jeep vehicle that harkens back to the original, classic CJs of the 1940s,” said Mike Manley, President and CEO – Jeep Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. “This new Jeep vehicle delivers pure functionality and rugged capability in a unique package that recognizes the origins of the brand.”

Based on the Wrangler Sport model, the Willys Wheeler Edition features upgraded hardware, including a Dana 44 rear axle with Trac-Lok® limited-slip rear differential and 3.73 gears, BF Goodrich KM Mud Terrain LT255/75R17 tires, rock rails and a new Jeep Trail Rated Kit that includes a D-Ring, tow strap and gloves in a Jeep-branded bag. This works with the Jeep Command-Trac 4×4 part-time, two-speed transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio to give the Jeep Wrangler Willys Wheeler Edition its improved off-road chops.

Special exterior design cues include a gloss black grille with black Jeep badge, gloss black front and rear bumper appliques, historic satin black “4 Wheel Drive” rear tailgate decal and “Willys” hood decals and unique high-gloss black 17-inch aluminum wheels. The Willys Wheeler Edition comes standard with a Sunrider soft top and deep-tint sunscreen rear windows. A premium Sunrider soft top and black-splatter Freedom Top are available.

Willys Wheeler Editions feature the Connectivity Group with SiriusXM satellite radio, and Sport S-based models have the Power Convenience Group and Premium Tire Pressure Monitoring System as standard. Jeep Wrangler’s iconic half doors are an option.

The 2014 Jeep Wrangler Willys Wheeler Edition features the award winning 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine that produces 285 horsepower and 260 ft.-lbs. or torque. It is available with a standard six-speed manual or an available five-speed automatic transmission, and delivers up to 21 miles per gallon on the highway.

Available in any Jeep Wrangler color, the Willys Wheeler Edition has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail price (MSRP) of $25,795 for two-door models and $29,595 for Unlimited (four-door) models. The 2014 Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Wrangler Unlimited are built at the Toledo Supplier Park in Toledo, Ohio.

1942 Willys Military Jeep® Featured in Veteran’s Memorial
As the nation paused this Memorial Day to remember those who served in the United States Armed Services, Chrysler Group’s Toledo Assembly Complex (TAC) unveiled its own special tribute to veterans around the country.

Vice President of Assembly Operations Zach Leroux, TAC Plant Manager Chuck Padden, UAW Local 12 Chairman Mark Epley, employees and five veterans with ties to the Toledo plant, including three retirees who served in WWII, dedicated a permanent veteran’s memorial in the shadow of the giant Jeep® sign that identifies the plant at the intersection of I-75 and I-280. Featuring a restored 1942 Willys Military Jeep, the memorial not only recognizes  the service of those in uniform, but also the plant’s  nearly 75-year history of building Jeep vehicles, starting with production of the first military Jeep.

“Like all Americans, we owe our freedom to the sacrifices made by the men and women who serve in the military, but at Jeep, we owe our very existence to our WWII veterans,” said Padden.  “When they returned home from the war, they purchased civilian versions of the Jeep vehicles they learned to depend upon in the war.  These heroes became our first Jeep enthusiasts.  Without them, we would not be here today.

“But the Jeep legacy is not just about the vehicles; it is also about the people,” added  Padden. “Some of the people who currently work in this plant and some who helped refurbish this 1942 Jeep are descendants of those who possibly built this very vehicle. We have come a long way at the Toledo Jeep plant, so it’s important to remind the new generation where it all started.”

Plant management and the local UAW leadership agreed that the best way to honor veterans and the plant’s Jeep history was to find a military Jeep to restore and put on permanent display. With the help of former Toledo plant manager Jerry Huber and a Craig’s List ad, the 1942 Willys was found in Wimberley, Texas, a community 28 miles southwest of Austin. The vehicle was in fairly good shape, but didn’t run. When the owner heard that the Jeep plant in Toledo wanted the vehicle to put on display, he immediately pulled the ad, sold it to the plant for $950 and volunteered to transport it to Toledo in exchange for a tour.

The Willys returned home on May 9 and restoration work began on May 12. A team of about 15 Toledo employees worked for a week and a half to return the vehicle to its original condition, replacing parts, refurbishing body panels and painting the vehicle. Because all of the vehicle identification plates and hood graphics were removed, the exact history of the vehicle can’t be determined, but the plant estimates that the vehicle was originally built in mid-1942.

The memorial also includes silhouettes of soldiers, created by volunteers from the plant. An assembly employee drew up the soldier outlines and body shop employees cut out the figures, ground the edges and finished them.

Roll Call
Helping to dedicate the Toledo Assembly Complex’s Veteran’s Memorial were five veterans, all of whom with ties to the plant.Lupe Flores, the 90-year-old cousin of Jeep retiree Hector Flores who serves on the Jeep Veterans Committee, served with the Army 101st Airborne from 1943-1946. Flores was involved in the D-Day Invasion in Normandy, France, and took part in two combat jumps during his time with the Army.

Twins Lewis and Leroy Woggon, 87, were hired by the Jeep plant in 1943. Three months later, they were drafted into the Army and served as combat engineers during WWII. They both served for three years, returning to work at the Jeep plant after they were discharged. Leroy retired in 1989 after 45 years with Jeep, while Lewis stayed on five more years, retiring in 1994. Leroy’s son Gary has been working at Jeep since 1983 and currently works in the Wrangler paint shop. Lewis’s son and grandson both retired from the Jeep plant.

Ron Szymanski retired from the Jeep plant in 1998 following 35 years working in body, paint and assembly. He also served as the Jeep museum curator. Szymanski served in the Army National Guard from 1950-1955, then went to Officer Candidate School where he was Honorably Discharged in 1960 as a 1st Lieutenant Army Reserve Officer.

John Smith served in the Army Infantry from 1945-1946. Smith was hired by Jeep in 1947 and spent the next 40 years building Jeep vehicles before retiring in 1985.

The History of Jeep in Toledo
Toledo is known as the birthplace of Jeep. In 1940 as war spread through Europe, the United States Army determined that it needed a new type of fast, lightweight, all-terrain reconnaissance vehicle. The Army selected Toledo-based Willys-Overland for production of the vehicle, and the company began production in late 1941, building about 8,000 units that year. In total, 363,000 were built in Toledo through the end of the war in 1945.

The vehicle was officially known as the Willys MB, but not many people called it that.  Before long, it became universally known as the Jeep, many believing that the name came from the term “GP,” for “General Purpose.”

The Jeep was an all-purpose vehicle and served in every theater of the war. It was used as a staff car, pickup truck, ambulance, reconnaissance vehicle, machine gun mount, ammunition bearer and a troop carrier.

After the war, Willys-Overland introduced a version for the general public, adding refined features such as windshield wipers, a tailgate and an outside gas cap. It was called the CJ-2A, with the “CJ” standing for “Civilian Jeep.” It became an icon because of its open-air look and tremendous off-road capabilities.

Other Jeep models followed, such as the first station wagon with four-wheel drive, and the Wagoneer, a pioneering sport-utility vehicle introduced in 1963. They were also built in Toledo.

Meanwhile, Jeep’s corporate ownership changed hands several times until Chrysler acquired the brand in 1987. Today, the Toledo Assembly Complex builds the Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and the all-new Jeep Cherokee with nearly 4,200 employees.

“With our deep military roots, it was especially important for this plant to establish a permanent way of paying our respects to those who have fought for the freedom we all enjoy,” said the UAW’s Epley. “With nearly 10 percent of our workforce with military experience, plus all of our team members with family members having served or still serving, this memorial is very personal for all of us.”

Mark Your Place in Jeep History
The Jeep brand is creating an interactive time line of Jeep owners. Here’s how you can be a part of it. Submit a photo of your Jeep vehicle, along with the model year, and it will be added to the time line and posted on Facebook™. If you’re lucky, your photo could appear in a coffee table book version of the time line and Jeep will send you a copy. Click here to Get On The Time Line.

Read more at: http://www.chryslergroup360.com/featured_news/a-classic-throwback-with-modern-capability/

Behind the Wrangler Willys Wheeler

When Jeep launched the Wrangler Willys Wheeler, an Allpar reader suggested that they should have made it based on the Rubicon instead of the entry-level Sport; while there was some suggestion that the new special edition was another “decal package.”

A couple of readers suggested it would have been more helpful to swap the fenders and fender flares with narrower ones, to help the vehicle reduce its width and fit on more trails and between more obstacles. Tannon Weber wrote, “The WWII military model, Willys CJ-2a and other early Jeeps didn’t have the plastic flares at all, just the flat fenders the same width as the body behind.  A model ostensibly paying specific homage to these early models needs to reflect some of the characteristics of those models, and replacing bolt-on parts should be a fairly cost-effective way to do so.”

Former Jeep engineer Bob Sheaves, however, pointed out that the Willys may have been more carefully thought out than it seems:

The Willys was a bare bones machine that could do its job with the hard parts and wasn’t a fancy SUV. That is what is being done here….it isn’t a Rubicon, with all the fancy doodads like sway-bar disconnects. This is an honest attempt to build a more off-road ready Jeep without the cost of a Rubicon.

The Rubicon is a better off-road vehicle, but the Willys is better off-road than a basic Sport.

The original “Willys” name was stamped into the hood, and the special edition has a plain black decal to keep common hoods across the models. The 4WD decal was originally done with a stencil to save money. The new decals match the original intent exactly. [Using stencils or stamping the name into the hood would be far more expensive.]

Give credit where credit is due….they done good on this one.

As read on: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2013/11/behind-the-wrangler-willys-wheeler