Jeep Thinks Forward

August 23, 2016

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By Matt Wolfe

August 17, 1955; the 1956 Jeep pickup trucks are introduced

The Willys Jeep Truck has long been a favorite among Jeep enthusiasts since the first ones appeared in 1947. The first Jeep pickups were similar to the Willys Jeep Wagon, and featured Jeep’s signature silhouette with a slotted front grille and an upright cab. They were available in 2WD and 4WD configurations until 1950, when the 2WD model was dropped, and were offered with a variety of inline-four and six-cylinder engines.

Besides the traditional pick-up truck body style, the Jeep truck was also available in a number of different body configurations including the van truck, platform-stake truck, canopy truck and as a cab & chassis. 1956 would be a landmark model-year for Jeep trucks. In addition to the Jeep Truck, Willys also introduced a “cab-forward” variant called the Jeep Forward Control. Based on the Jeep CJ-5, the Forward Control was marketed as a work vehicle for corporate and military use, but like its CJ-5 parent, was also sold to civilians. The cab-forward design allowed for compact dimensions while still maintaining the payload and cargo capacity of a traditional truck. The Forward Control was actually the first vehicle that had a payload rating which surpassed its wheelbase. The Forward Control would be produced until 1965.

The Jeep Truck would be replaced in 1966 by the Jeep Gladiator, though the Gladiator name would be dropped in 1971. The last full-size Jeep pickups were produced in 1988. Rumors of a new Jeep-based pickup truck have been gaining traction for the last decade. Jeep has teased the public with several concept vehicles, and spy shots have recently surfaced of a test-mule that likely confirms the company’s plan to release a Jeep Wrangler-based pickup truck alongside the next generation off-roader. If the Jeep pickup does indeed make a comeback, it would almost certainly be a delight for classic Jeep enthusiasts and modern customers alike.

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