Form follows function – a fixed component of the Jeep’s DNA since the very first vehicle, the Willys, the original Jeep. When we look at Jeep design we immediately acknowledge that the style of every model includes key elements that are well defined and clearly identifiable. Features, such as the round headlights, 7-slotted grille, angular wheel-arches and vertical windscreen, belong to the collective imagination and make a vehicle retaining them immediately recognisable as a Jeep.
The vertical-slotted grille and the angular wheel arches in particular are design elements dating back seventy-five years that can be seen in almost every Jeep vehicle today. The traditional ventilation slots were introduced in the first Willys-Overland MA in the early 1940s when Willys Overland together with American Bantam and Ford answered the call of the US Army and designed the first prototypes of off-road vehicles. In this milestone vehicle, forefather to all Jeep models coming afterwards, the grille was made up of vertical bars.
Since then, all CJ models have featured the 7 slot grille while many other classic Jeep models, including the Willys Wagon, the Jeep pick-up, the Wagoneer and the Cherokee, used vertical slots but with varying numbers. Since 1998, all Jeep models have sported the iconic 7 slot grille.