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.