Origins of the Jeep Brand’s Iconic Seven-Slot Grille

February 13th, 2017 by

Jeep seven-slot grille history

One of the most recognizable features of the Jeep brand is the iconic seven-slot grille that is on every Jeep model. But where did that design come from? It’s actually pretty cool.

The Jeep Wrangler was the first Jeep made and it was originally called the Willys MB. The Willys MB was an formally named the U.S. Army Truck, 1/4 ton, 4×4  and it was created by Willys-Overland to be used in World War II. Though this original model had many of the style elements that the Wrangler has today, the seven-slot grille was not one of them. The grille on the first Willys MB was a welded flat iron “slat” radiator grille.

Willy’s got a step closer to the famed seven-slot grill in April 1942 when they implemented a new vertical-slot grille design by Ford. Since Ford and Willys-Overland were both creating military vehicles, it wasn’t a stretch for Willy’s to use the new grille design on their World War II vehicles.

In comparison to the original Willys MB grille, the Ford design was beneficial because it was lighter, more affordable and easier to produce. But, this was not the birth of the seven-slot grille, it was the birth of a very similar looking nine-slot grille.

After the war in 1945, Willy’s wanted to produce the Willys MB for civilians. However, the nine-slot grille was Ford’s design, so Willy’s couldn’t trademark it. So Willys subtracted two of the nine slots to make it a seven-slot grille and this was enough of a change to get a trademark. By the end of the year, Willys had produced the Willys CJ (Civilian Jeep) and this became the face of the Jeep brand.

Do you want your next vehicle to be a part of the seven-slot grille family? You can search all Jeep models at Hollywood Chrysler Jeep.

Should we add a call to action for readers to search for their own 7-slot grilled vehicle?