The seven Grill slots were not written in stone

Frankfurt, 9 August 2016

In 1941, so 75 years ago, launched the first "Jeep", the Willys-overland MB. Of this classic up to modern jeeps, noticed a few constant design elements: the round headlights, the grille with the vertical air inlets, the trapezoidal wheel openings and the steep windscreen. You make it discoverable by a jeep Jeep. But the seven slots in the grill, which are typical of this brand, were not written in stone. A closer look at the Jeep history shows that.

The war-Grill with nine "slots"

Already at the MA in the early 1940s there was the cooler bars, called in the Jeep language "Slots". However this ur jeep had nine slots not seven. At that time, the companies worked on prototypes for a light off-road vehicle of the US Army American Bantam, Willys-overland and Ford. Effective protection of the cooler was in the specifications. The three producers found different solutions, from a kind of metal fence up to a mask with vertical intakes punched in metal. The army found most suitable mask with nine slots, so all war "Jeeps" got this antifreeze.

The magnificent seven

After the war, Willys-overland presented a civilian "Jeep", the CJ-2A. Who had only seven cooling air slots, so two less. Reason: The licensing requirements for civilian vehicles demanded stronger spotlight. Therefore the reflectors had to be larger, and two slots were dropped. The magnificent seven, which today belong to the face of the brand remained. Although the slot number varied station wagon, Jeep pickup, the Wagoneer and the Cherokee in the meantime between eight and 13 for example at the Willys. But the design took back repeatedly to the seven.

Square wheel cut-outs

The trapezoidal wheel openings are another characteristic of Jeep design. They were required to give as much freedom of movement to the wheels on the ground. Supposedly, the first prototypes of the MB had even no mudguards above the front wheels. But the passengers in the back seats got stones, sand or mud in the face depending on the floor. So an American soldier pounded their way just a few sheets. Since he had only simple tools at hand, were the mudguards angular rather than round. Whether this anecdote is true or not is unclear, but it corresponds to the vehicle in which the form always by the function was intended.

The form follows function

Also the Jeep Wrangler today shows the same sense of functionality. So, the car has textile fishing tapes on the doors, which allow easy to remove with conventional metal fishing bands that would be the doors impossible. Another detail: to keep the hood closed, the engineers at Willys-overland used two exterior locking hooks on each side. This simple and effective solution is there at the today's Wrangler. And another example: to stack the MB vehicles for shipping from the United States to Europe, the car got a fold-down windshield. And the Wrangler, you can fold it, but to improve the Open-Air driving experience, such as the manufacturer says. Also a brand direct deep in the tradition just makes a concession to the lifestyle... (sl)