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Understanding Your Jeeps Model Code - Identity Crisis

Posted in Project Vehicles on March 1, 2009
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Most people with a pulse know what a CJ is. Some have heard the term TJ. Not too many have heard of a VJ. And then just when you start to get the XJ, YJ, ZJ, and whatever-J designations down, Jeep goes and throws you a curve with the WK, the JK, and the XK? Are you joking? Nope. So to shed a glimmer of light on the subject, here is a little cheat sheet of which designation goes with which model. But don't go patting yourself on the back if you memorize it 'cause it changes again for the foreign market. Don't believe us? Just ask an Australian Commander owner about his XH.

Model Designation: BRC-60
Vehicle: Bantam pilot jeep prototype
Years Built: 1940
Fun Facts: Models include the company's "Old Number One" pilot vehicle - the first jeep ever.

Model Designation: BRC-40
Vehicle: Bantam pre-standardized jeep
Years Built: 1940-1941
Fun Facts: Pre-standardized jeep. Of the 2,605 built, most were shipped overseas for combat duty.

Model Designation: MA
Vehicle: Willys-Overland pre-standardized jeep
Years Built: 1941
Fun Facts: Most collectible of all the early jeeps since only 1,555 were built.

Model Designation: GP
Vehicle: Ford pre-standardized Jeep
Years Built: 1941
Fun Facts: Most likely to still be found in a barn somewhere. Look for F-Script markings on all the components.

Model Designation: MB
Vehicle: Willys-Overland standardized jeep
Years Built: 1941-1945
Fun Facts: Early models will have rare slat grilles built with flat stock before the more common 10-slot stamped grilles introduced.

Model Designation: GPW
Vehicle: Ford standardized jeep
Years Built: 1942-1945
Fun Facts: Most '42 models have "Ford" stamped in lower rear of body before the army told them to stop it.

Model Designation: GPA
Vehicle: Ford floating flattie
Years Built: 1942-1943
Fun Facts: It's basically a WWII jeep with a body shaped like a boat and a propeller in the rear. It could crawl, drive, and swim.

Model Designation: M-38
Vehicle: Willys-Overland post-war flattie
Years Built: 1950-1952
Fun Facts: A militarized CJ-3A. Marks the first use of 24 volt electrical system in a Jeep or jeep.

Model Designation: M38A1
Vehicle: Willys Military Jeep
Years Built: 1952-1957
Fun Facts: It's the first Jeep with the familiar round fenders and bulgy proportions that would soon be introduced to the CJ lineup.

Model Designation: M-170
Vehicle: Military ambulance
Years Built: 1953-1957
Fun Facts: The ambulance version of the M38A1 with a wheelbase stretched from 81 inches to 101 inches. Had an elongated passenger-side door opening and holes in the tailgate for stretcher handles.

Model Designation: M-715
Vehicle: Kaiser 1 1/4 ton pickup
Years Built: 1967-1969
Fun Facts: Not actually the only Jeep to come with a Dana 70 rear axle.

Model Designation: M-725
Vehicle: Kaiser Army ambulance
Years Built: 1967-1969
Fun Facts: The only production military Jeep on which the windshield doesn't fold down.

Civilian Utility Jeeps
Model Designation: CJ-2
Vehicle: Willys-Overland Agri-Jeep
Years Built: Late 1944-1945
Fun Facts: Willys basically took the MB, stuck PTO attachments to the T-case, added farm tires and a tailgate, and sold them to farmers after the war.

Model Designation: CJ-2A
Vehicle: Willys-Overland Jeep "flatfender"
Years Built: 1945-1949
Fun Facts: CJ stands for Civilian Jeep. The 2A marks Jeep's first 7-slot grille, designed to use larger headlights.

Model Designation: CJ-3A
Vehicle: Willys-Overland Jeep "flatfender"
Years Built: 1949-1953
Fun Facts: Windshield glass no longer flips out for ventilation like the 2A but Willys added a vent in the center of the redesigned windshield frame with 1-piece glass. Rear axle upgraded from Dana 41 to Dana 44.

Model Designation: CJ-3B
Vehicle: Kaiser Jeep "flatfender"
Years Built: 1953-1964
Fun Facts: Cowl and hood raised to fit Jeep's new F-head engine which relocated the intake valves from inside the block to inside the cylinder head. Most models built after '55 were for export market.

Model Designation: CJ-5
Vehicle: Kaiser Jeep "roundfender"
Years Built: 1955-1983
Fun Facts: Three generations of the CJ-5 exist: the early from '55-'71; the intermediate from '72-'75; and the late from '76-'83.

Model Designation: CJ-6
Vehicle: Kaiser Jeep long wheelbase CJ
Years Built: 1955-1981
Fun Facts: Like the M-170, the CJ-6 added 20-inches of wheelbase length to the CJ-5 chassis. Most later models after '76 were for export markets only.

Model Designation: CJ-7
Vehicle: AMC Jeep "roundfender"
Years Built: 1976-1986
Fun Facts: Longer version of the CJ-5 with stretched door openings and a 93.5-inch wheelbase. Daisy Duke drove one.

Model Designation: CJ-8
Vehicle: AMC Jeep Scrambler
Years Built: 1981-1985
Fun Facts: Added 10 inches of wheelbase and a pickup-like bed to the back of a CJ-7 to create the longest CJ-based vehicle produced.

Model Designation: YJ
Vehicle: Jeep Wrangler
Years Built: 1987-1995
Fun Facts: One of the most reviled of all the "true" Jeeps, mostly because of its square headlights and heavy antisway bars and track bars for on-road stability which hurt off-road performance.

Model Designation: TJ
Vehicle: Jeep Wrangler
Years Built: 1997-2006
Fun Facts: Brought the Jeep back to round headlights, but also added link suspension with coil springs at all four corners.

Model Designation: LJ
Vehicle: Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
Years Built: 2004-2006
Fun Facts: The Unlimited added 10 inches to the TJ's chassis between the wheels to add much needed interior room.

Model Designation: JK
Vehicle: Jeep Wrangler/Wrangler Unlimited
Years Built: 2007-Present
Fun Facts: The first time a true 4-door Jeep utility vehicle has been offered (Unlimited models only)

Other Models
Model Designation: SJ
Vehicle: Full Size Jeep (Wagoneer, Cherokee, Pickup)
Years Built: 1963-1991 (Wagon)/1964-1987 (Truck)
Fun Facts: Bodies remained pretty much unchanged through the entire production run.

Model Designation: XJ
Vehicle: Jeep Cherokee
Years Built: 1984-2001
Fun Facts: Jeep's first use of unitbody construction and a four-link type front suspension setup.

Model Designation: MJ
Vehicle: Jeep Comanche
Years Built: 1986-1991
Fun Facts: Basically an XJ Cherokee with the backseat and cargo area replaced with a pickup bed.

Model Designation: ZJ
Vehicle: Jeep Grand Cherokee
Years Built: 1993-1998
Fun Facts: Jeep's larger-sized SUV which added more luxury and interior room than the XJ. Also had a coil sprung, four-link rear suspension.

Model Designation: WJ
Vehicle: Jeep Grand Cherokee
Years Built: 1999-2004
Fun Facts: Shaved down the boxy body lines of the ZJ into swoopier, more modern curves.

Model Designation: WK
Vehicle: Jeep Grand Cherokee
Years Built: 2005-Present
Fun Facts: First Hemi engine ever available in a Jeep.

Model Designation: XK
Vehicle: Jeep Commander
Years Built: 2005-Present
Fun Facts: Pretty ugly, but at least they have an available Hemi. Available 3rd row seating for little people.

Model Designation: KJ
Vehicle: Jeep Liberty
Years Built: 2002-2006
Fun Facts: If it were a person he'd run the film projector in class.

Model Designation: KK
Vehicle: Jeep Liberty
Years Built: 2007-Present
Fun Facts: It just won't go away.

Oddballs & Little Known
Model Designation: DJ
Vehicle: Jeep Dispatch
Years Built: 1956-1986
Fun Facts: The 2WD version of the Utility Jeeps, into which we'll lump the Surrey, postal, and other iterations.

Model Designation: VJ
Vehicle: Jeepster
Years Built: 1948-1951
Fun Facts: The sporty 2WD Jeepsters were designed to cater to women buyers. The L-head four-cylinder power left "sporty" at the door, however.

Model Designation: FC-150/FC-170
Vehicle: Jeep Forward Control Pickups
Years Built: 1957-1965
Fun Facts: Both short (FC-150) and long (FC-170) wheelbase versions available. Driver sat over and in front of front tires. The dual rear wheel version of the FC-170 got a Dana 70 rear axle.

Model Designation: C-101
Vehicle: Jeepster
Years Built: 1967-1973 Fun Facts: The cutesy Jeepster had the same 101-inch wheelbase as the CJ-6. It also got a centered Dana 44 rear axle and a Dana 20 T-case while the CJs had Spicer 18s and offset rears.

Model Designation: C-104
Vehicle: Jeepster Commando
Years Built: 1972-1973
Fun Facts: Looks like a Scout and had available V-8 power.

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