The world famous Station wagon, Willys – Overland and known, here in Argentina as the Estanciera. Some new information I have been able to pick up, on this famous wagon, here goes…
Willys Overland: The chariot of the liberators
The mighty Jeep vehicle played an extraordinary role in history even during its first years in World War II.
Introduced a year after the first civilian Jeep vehicle the Willys-Overland all-steel station wagon is an auto industry icon and milestone. The original Jeep vehicle was born of necessity and hand-built in just seven weeks with lots of hard work and genius to fit the US Army needs back in World War 2.
The Army put out a call to automobile manufacturers asking for a running prototype for such a vehicle in just 49 days Willys Overland ended up supplying more than 330,000 units.
The evolution of the 1946 Willys Utility Vehicle has come to our days as Cherokee and Grand Cherokee, a true trademark of 4WD and utility vehicles.
The 'Jeep' station wagon had pressed steel framing and three-tone paintwork which simulated the wood look. It used Jeep running gear and MB-style front sheet metal and was designed to compete against the "real" wood wagons still being manufactured by Detroit's Big Three. The new vehicle chassis was also available in a sedan delivery truck. Four-wheel-drive would become available in these models in 1949 along with the 148 cubic-inch 'Lightening' six-cylinder engine.
The 50s saw Willys-Overland four-wheel drive all-steel station wagon develop and conquer the world, and even licensed out its manufacturing to companies in Japan and Argentina.
In 1953 Willys-Overland, the original developer of the Jeep vehicle, was sold to the Henry J. Kaiser interests for $60 million. In our country, the original Willys became Argentine Kaiser Industry –IKA- trademark under the new concept of Estanciera 4WD.
The ownership of Willys has gone a long way now… The story tells that by 1950, Willys obtained a United States Trademark Registration for the Jeep trademark. Since then, ownership of the Jeep trademark, which is also registered internationally, has passed from Willys-Overland to Kaiser to American Motors Corporation, and most recently, to Chrysler Corporation. Today, Chrysler Corporation owns over 1,100 registrations for the Jeep® trademark throughout the world.
Bob Frassinetti, Buenos Aires, Argentina