Jeep Thrills

Jeremy Taylor (Contributing Editor)
Americans invade the south of France for an automotive festival in the sun…

Only an iconic brand could get away with it – piggybacking a festival to honour another company’s product. Jeep continued its 75th anniversary celebrations in 2016 by gate-crashing a four-day Harley-Davidson spectacular in the south of France. 

The Jeep and Harley-Davidson Parade in Grimaud was a joint production, designed to show off two long-established American brands to the max. 

Thousands of Harley owners from across Europe gathered around St Tropez for the tenth Euro Festival – except this time there was a strong four-wheeled presence from Jeep too. 

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Alongside the leather and chrome was a Jeep fleet, perhaps one of the few cars a Harley owner would accept at their two-wheeled event. 

Jeep set the tone for the anniversary year at Geneva Motor Show back in January. The company that arguably pioneered the SUV sector revealed a raft of special edition models to celebrate its 75th. 

Wrangler, Cherokee, Grand Cherokee and the new, best-selling Renegade all got a make-over in honour of the very first Jeep - the 1941 Willys MB.

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The MB was designed as a 4x4 reconnaissance vehicle for the US Army but accidentally laid the foundation for a manufacturing empire.

Jeep launched the Willys Wagon in 1946 just after the War had ended. The heavy-duty estate car featured a closed body for the first time – making it more practical for civilian use.

Then came the Wagoneer in 1963, followed by the first Cherokee two decades later. The new chassis allowed for increased rigidity, low weight and improved fuel efficiency.

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Despite an illustrious history on and off the battlefield, Jeep faced its biggest challenge during the 2009 financial crisis. It was eventually saved from oblivion thanks to a buy-out by Fiat Group.

Since then the company has gone from strength to strength. The launch of the 2014 Renegade was a major milestone – the mini SUV is based on the chassis of a Fiat 500 X but has become a best-seller.

Land Rover may have the best 4x4xFar but Jeep is officially the oldest. Happy Birthday Jeep!

To make an enquiry about Jeep or Harley-Davidson, CLICK HERE.

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