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Once known as Willys-Overland, Jeep dates back to the 1940s when the US army put word out to all automobile manufactures that they were looking for a light reconnaissance vehicle to replace motorcycle & sidecars, that were traditionally used for messengers and advance reconnaissance.
Out of the 135 automobile manufacturers approached, only three pitched and the Willys-Overland vehicle was selected. After certain refinements 1,500 of the Willys MA were shipped over to the US army in 1941.
After its acceptance into the army, this general purpose vehicle or “G.P.” was nicknamed “Jeep”.