Understanding the various Wrangler Models and designations (CJ, YJ, TJ, JK, etc.) - Jeep Wrangler Forum
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Old 12-02-2013, 01:48 PM   #1
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Understanding the various Wrangler Models and designations (CJ, YJ, TJ, JK, etc.)

The vehicle we call the Jeep Wrangler has evolved quite a bit over the years. The monsters we drive today can trace their line all the way back to the first prototypes produced in 1940 (Production models started rolling off the production line in the fall of 1941). The US Army put out a request for bids to make a Command/Reconnaissance vehicle and thus an American Icon was born.

After WWII, the Willys Overland Company started selling civilian versions of their now iconic Willys MB, calling it the CJ-2A. From 1946 to 1985, the various Jeep versions carried the CJ designation symbolizing a "Civilian Jeep".

With the introduction of the Jeep Wrangler, the letter designations ceased to have any meaning to anyone other than the manufacturer. This hasn't kept people from putting their own words to the letters: YJ = "Wide Jeep", TJ = "Tough Jeep", JK = "Jeep King", and some other not so friendly terms that won't be mentioned here.

Note: In addition to the Wrangler models listed, the list of the various editions is by no means all-inclusive and are not listed in any particular order. I've tried to list as many as I can but some were only available for a very short time and may get left out by mistake. There have been more Jeep models than the version currently called "Wrangler" (the Wrangler name was first used with the models beginning in 1987). The following information has been edited from Wikipedia, so if you want more info. on the other Jeep models, you can follow that link.

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Old 12-02-2013, 01:52 PM   #2
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Military and historical models


  • 1940 Bantam, Willys & Ford Prototypes
  • 1941 Ford GP
  • 1941 Willys MA
  • 1941 Bantam BRC-40
  • 1942–1945 Willys MB
  • 1942–1945 Ford GPA & GPW
  • 1950–1952 M38 (MC)
  • 1952–1957 M38A1 (MD)
  • 1952–1957 M38A1C
  • 1955 M38A1D
  • 1959–1982 M151 MUTT
Jeep CJ (Civilian Jeep)


  • 1944 CJ-1
  • 1944–1945 CJ-2
  • 1945–1949 CJ-2A
  • 1949–1953 CJ-3A
  • 1950 CJ-V35
  • 1950 CJ-4—Prototype
  • 1950 CJ-4M—Prototype
  • 1950 CJ-4MA—Prototypes
  • 1953–1968 CJ-3B
  • 1954–1983 CJ-5
    • 1961–1963 Tuxedo Park Mark III
    • 1969 Camper
    • 1969 462
    • 1970 Renegade I
    • 1971 Renegade II
    • 1972–1983 Renegade Models
    • 1973 Super Jeep
    • 1977–1979 Golden Eagle
    • 1977 Golden Eagle California Edition (available only through California AMC Dealerships)
    • 1980 Golden Hawk
    • 1979 Silver Anniversary CJ-5 Limited Edition (estimated 1,000 built)
  • 1955–1975 CJ-6
  • 1955–1968 CJ-3B Long—Spain
  • 1960–1977 Jeep Rural—Brazil
  • 1964–1967 CJ-5A/CJ-6A Tuxedo Park
  • 1976–1986 CJ-7
    • 1982 Jamboree Limited Edition (2500 units)
  • 1979 CJ-5 Silver Anniversary Limited Edition (estimated 1,000 built)
  • 1981–1985 CJ-8 Scrambler
  • 1981–1985 CJ-10
Jeep DJ (Dispatcher Jeep)


  • 1955 USAF DJ
  • 1955–1964 DJ-3A
    • Surrey Gala Package
  • 1965–1975 DJ-5
  • 1965–1973 DJ-6
  • 1967–1975 DJ-5A
  • 1970–1972 DJ-5B
  • 1973–1974 DJ-5C
  • 1975–1976 DJ-5D
  • 1976 DJ-5E Electruck
  • 1977–1978 DJ-5F
  • 1979 DJ-5G
  • 1982 DJ-5L
Jeep Wrangler
  • 1987–1995 Wrangler YJ


  • Base (S or SE) models with several editions
    • Laredo
    • Islander
    • Sport
    • Sahara
    • Renegade
    • Rio Grande
  • 1997–2006 Wrangler TJ
  • 2004 - 2006 Wrangler TJ Unlimited


  • Se, X, Sport, Sahara and Rubicon models with many editions
    • Rubicon Tomb Raider Edition
    • Freedom Edition
    • Willys Edition
    • Columbia Edition
    • Golden Eagle Edition
    • 60th Anniversary Edition
    • 65th Anniversary Edition
    • Apex Edition
    • Rocky Mountain Edition
  • 2007 - Present Wrangler JK









The Jeep brand currently produces two Wrangler versions:
  • JK: The current 2-door version of the Wrangler
  • JK Unlimited: The long wheelbase, 4-door version
    • Both the JK and JK Unlimited come in 3 basic models
      • X (aka Sport)
      • Sahara
      • Rubicon
    • Within the models there many special editions, some of them are
      • Mountain Edition
      • Islander Edition
      • Mojave Edition
      • Call of Duty : MW3 Edition
      • 70th Anniversary Edition
      • Oscar Mike Edition
      • Dragon Edition
      • Moab Edition
      • Rubicon 10th Anniversary Edition
      • Freedom Edition

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Old 11-14-2014, 04:31 PM   #3
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How the Jeep got its name

Where did the name “Jeep” come from, anyway?

One story has the name originating with test driver Irving “Red” Haussman, who demonstrated Willys-Overland’s new trucks early in 1941 by driving one up the steps of the United States Capitol. When asked by syndicated columnist Katherine Hillyer (or perhaps a bystander) what it was called, Mr. Haussman then answered, "It's a Jeep,” because he had heard soldiers at Fort Holabird calling it by that name. But why had the soldiers called it that in the first place?

The term “jeep” had been around for years before the appearance of the MA / G-503, used as casual slang in the Army for anything that was insignificant, awkward, or silly...[and] by army mechanics during World War I to refer to any new vehicle. In 1937, probably based on the Great War’s lingo, popular comic strip Popeye unveiled “Eugene the Jeep,” who had the ability to go just about anywhere. The name Jeep crept back into Army slang as a term for a new recruit. By 1944, the jeep nickname was in common use, but other vehicles had the same nickname, including the B-17 bomber.

This was rather unfair to Minneapolis Moline, which produced a tractor actually called the Jeep (starting in 1943); and to Halliburton, which used the name for an “electric logging device” (chainsaw?). Willys-Overland had owned Moline, but sold it long before the war. The name jumped from these legitimate uses to the half-ton command reconnaissance truck to the quarter-ton Willys.

One theory is that the name “jeep” was derived from Ford’s “G.P.” classification attached to the vehicle. Certainly, it would be an easy step from “peep” to “jeep” given the GP classification (later changed to GPW to acknowledge Willys’ role). GP was often mistakenly thought to mean General Purpose; but actually, G stood for Government and P for all 80-inch-wheelbase recon cars. Early in the war the Willys were classified as reconnaissance trucks, and only later were reclassified as a general purpose truck.

During World War II, soldiers in some units called the Willys Jeeps “bantams” after the original designer, though “peep” remained popular, and the half-ton was also often called jeep. The Dodge command car was often called the “beep” and the amphibious version of the GP, the GPA, was called the “seep”.
As the war went on, Willys advertised their role in the war, and starting in 1942 (most likely, thanks to that February 1941 Washington Daily News article), they called their own vehicle the Jeep. Soldiers were more likely to call it “peep,” “bantam,” or “son of jeep” (where jeep itself was the half-ton truck), but civilians knew it as a jeep; and by the Korean war, that name would be cemented in place.

The name was later converted into an acronym by soldiers in Korea, who, referring to its basic design, said it meant “Just Enough Essential Parts” ... but that was humor rather than the creation of the word.
Regardless of names, the Jeep MB’s record of performance is unquestioned. The Jeep’s versatility seemed endless and the truck was virtually indestructible, serving in every theater of WWII.

It was a reconnaissance vehicle, with a machine gun mount. Fitted with stretchers, it became a frontline ambulance. A Jeep with a radio became a mobile command post. Jeeps hauled planes to dispersal bunkers. Soldiers raced them uphill and climbed forty per cent grades. As illustrated in a famous cartoon by Bill Mauldin, the Jeep even provided hot radiator water for shaving. In the Philippines, a Jeep with flanged wheels pulled a fifty-two-ton railroad supply train for nineteen miles at twenty miles an hour. It was widely modified for long-range desert patrol, snow plowing, telephone cable laying, saw milling, and fire fighting (with pumps); stateside farmers would use it as a tractor. Jeeps could be loaded into transport aircraft for rapid deployment and were small enough to fit into the large gliders used in the D-day invasion of Europe. Famed correspondent Ernie Pyle called the Jeep, along with the Coleman G.I. Pocket Stove, "the two most important pieces of noncombat equipment ever developed."

Willys copyrighted the “Jeep” name in 1946, later trademarking it — though arguably Bantam had the greatest claim, and Ford could have produced it as well, as they had during the war. The first post-war Jeep was the prototype Jeep CJ-1A (CJ stands for Civilian Jeep); the production model, Jeep CJ-2A, was unveiled in August 1945, at $1,090. Closely based on the Jeep MB, it was called “CJ” until 1986, when the suspension was modified to prevent flipping by untrained or unwary drivers, and renamed Wrangler. It had gained a considerable amount of size and weight over the years, but had a similar look and was designed with similar versatility in mind.
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