Junior Jeeps - An American Toy Car Icon

Posted by: Doug in Member Blogs

Today's modern Jeep can trace its roots back to the American Bantam Reconnaissance vehicle that had been developed and prototyped for the U.S. military in the late 30's. Open bids were sent out to 130 auto manufacturer's and only three entered, Bantam, Willys, and Ford. All three submitted there own designed prototypes for testing; in the end the Willys MB was the design of choice which went into production from 1941 ­ 1945. Ford also produced a small amount of GP's And Patterned the GPW off the Willys. The first civilian Jeeps were available in 1945 as the CJ2A following models include CJ3A, CJ3B, DJ3A, CJ5, CJ6, CJ7, CJ8, YJ, and Current TJ. The longest run on a model was the CJ5 starting in 1955 and ending in 1983. Jeeps have been manufactured by Willys-Overland, Kaiser, American Motors, and Chrysler, now Daimler-Chrysler.


CJ-5 - Real Toy

CJ-5 - Summer

CJ-5 - Superior

Other interesting Jeep info: In 1948 the first Land Rover prototype had Jeep parts. The Wilks Family actually owned a WWII Jeep and loved the so much that they prototyped and developed there own version which became the Land Rover. In 1951 Toyota also copied the Willys MB Jeep, calling it the "BJ Toyota Jeep". This was changed by time of production to the Toyota Land Cruiser, after Willys got a copy write of the trade mark name. There has been a host of licensed knock off Jeeps from around the world including manufacturers like Mitsubishsi. But that just goes to show how unique and versatile a vehicle it really is.


CJ-5 - Boley

CJ-5 - Welly

CJ-5 - Corgi

I started collecting die cast Jeeps at about age 4 it was a yellow Matchbox CJ5 with red wheels. I have fond memories of playing with it as a child in the back yard along with my other Matchbox vehicles. The Jeep has a certain draw to it. I remember watching Rat Patrol, and thinking Jeeps were so versatile and so cool I mean how many other vehicles could jump around in the desert and take out German halftracks and tanks. It was the ultimate all terrain vehicle. I have collected Jeeps on and off through out my life, both military and civilian versions.

This is a list of some of the small scale die cast Jeeps produced over the years.


CJ-6 - Matchbox

Matchbox has produced several models over the years. Models include No.72 CJ5 available in regular wheels and later with superfast wheels the next version is the No.53 CJ6, No.2 Hotrod Jeep, No.38 Military Jeep, No.5 Postal Jeep, No.20 Desert dawg jeep, No. 37 Jeep 4X4, and No.63 Jeep Wrangler. The Wrangler has been offered in other sets. The 50th B-Day Across America Hawaii, & S. Dakota. Also Kellogg's 5 pack, World Zoo pack, No. 49 Wrangler, Mission H2O, 2 Coke versions, Safari Book Jeep, and Camping fun pack.


Willy's Jeep - Johnny Lightning

Hot Wheels has produced several Jeeps also. The gun Slinger, and later as the Grass Hopper. The CJ7 in several variations including real riders. The CJ8 Scrambler was also released in several versions with and without real riders. The Jeepster was also released by Hot Wheels in several variations.

Majorette made several Jeeps. The CJ5 in top on top off variations. Other variations include special forces and the Golden Eagle.

Corgi made the No. 5 Husky CJ5, Later as Corgi Jr. then as Corgi Whizwheels. A CJ6 was released later and was also produced as a Hot Wheels after Mattel purchased Corgi.

Johnny Lightning Has Jeeps. There are several Willys MB Jeeps under the Lightning brigade name, and a CJ5 under the Classic Gold and Clue series. All models are highly detailed.

Maisto has made a few Jeeps, the Ford GP, The Jeepster, and Wrangler hardtop.

Yatming has produced a CJ7 and CJ5 later with grille changes made for a Tootsietoy version and other copies by Asian toy car makers.

Tags: Vehicles, Tales of Toy Cars

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