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The Jeep brand is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2016, and to date there have been a number of ways the company has marked this milestone. Earlier in the year at the 2016 Easter Jeep Safari, an event that was celebrating its own 50-year milestone, we had the chance to take out the 75th Anniversary models on the trail in Moab.

But now, Jeep has marked the occasion with another cool vehicle, this time a one-of-a-kind Wrangler 75th Salute concept vehicle paying homage to the Jeep brand and its military heritage.

MORE: 75th Anniversary Jeep Models Take on Easter Jeep Safari

“We are creating this unique Jeep Wrangler 75th Salute concept vehicle in celebration of the brand’s legendary history, and to demonstrate that 75 years later, today’s iconic Jeep Wrangler is instantly recognizable and clearly connected to the original Willys MB,” said Mike Manley, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA Global. “Since they were first produced in 1941, Jeep vehicles have been the authentic benchmark for off-road capability, having mastered more terrain, led more adventures and provided drivers more freedom than any other vehicle before or since.”

This “modern interpretation of the Willys MB” is built on a two-door version of the current Wrangler JK platform, where Jeep designers actually removed the B-pillars and doors to give the modern rig that same Willys styling. The Wrangler is accented with an olive-drab color scheme that mirrors the colors used on the military vehicles 75 years ago. Jeep also fitted the concept rig with 16-inch steel wheels that are fitted ith 32-inch military non-direction tires. Small details also mirror the original Willys SUV, including steel front and rear bumpers, color-matched hood latches and tow hooks, and low-back canvas seats. The biggest difference is what lays under the hood – a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, which is mated to a six-speed manual transmission.

The original Willys MB was designed in response to the military looking for a “light reconnaissance vehicle” to replace the Army’s motorcycle and modified Ford Model-T vehicles back in mid-1940. There were 135 manufacturers to bid on production of a vehicle they wanted to have a 600-lb. load capacity, wheelbase less than 75 inches, height less than 36 inches, smooth-running engine from 3 to 50 miles per hour, rectangular-shaped body, four-wheel drive with a two-speed transfer case, among other things.

Initially, there were only two companies bidding, Willys-Overland and American Bantam Car Manufacturing Company, but then Ford Motor Company got in the game as well. The vehicles were built quickly and the Army took possession of the vehicles in November 1940 and tested them but realized they needed to change their requirements. So, the next round of contracts was issued in rougly March of 1941, with Bantam producing 1,500 Model 40 BRC vehicles, Ford building 1,500 modified and improved GP Pygmies and Willys building 1,500 Quads.

Eventually the Army selected the Willys vehicle as the standard, and eventually the Quad became the MA, and later the MB. Of course the vehicle is now known as the Jeep. In 1941, the Willys MB began rolling off the assembly line straight into the heat of battle … and the rest is history.

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