Jeep by any other name.

Where did jeep get its name?

Just Empty Every Pocket. Just Enter Every Puddle. We’ve all certainly heard these acronyms for our beloved Jeeps, and it’s fun to think of more while we ponder the word itself, Jeep. Then, we inevitably arrive at the question that haunts us, as if it’s the mystery of life, as if google didn’t exist: What is Jeep, where does this name come from? Although there are a few widely believed theories on the creation of the term Jeep, confirming the exact origin has proven to be difficult, if not impossible by now.

The most commonly believed of these theories seems to be the early military designation for General Purpose or GP. Yes, the acronym of GP, if expertly slurred in drunken speech, produced our good friend, Jeep! The president of Willys Overland Joe Frazer, the company that produced some of the first militarized Jeeps, even made claims that it was him who created the word Jeep by combining GP. Famed military expert, and a personal favorite, R. Lee Ermey, A.K.A. Gunny, A.K.A. Gunnery Seargent Hartman from Full Metal Jacket, yes that guy, popularized yet another theory on the term Jeep on his television show Mail Call. According to him, the early Jeeps were designed with very specific tasks in mind and would therefore never have been referred to as a General Purpose (GP) vehicle and consequently GP could not have been the origin of Jeep. Instead, Gunny proposes that the military soldiers who first got to work with and see this vehicle in action were so thoroughly impressed, they named it after Eugene the Jeep, a character that appeared in the early Popeye the Sailor comic strips. Eugene the Jeep is like a pet from the fourth dimension and his ability to move from dimension to dimension with ease and be able to solve problems others would deem impossible made it a perfect nickname for a vehicle that could seemingly do the same. Joe Frazer was president of Willys Overland from 1939 to 1944. Eugene the Jeep was created as early as March of 1936. The term Jeep, however, was used as early as 1914 by mechanics working for the United States Army who were assigned to test new vehicles. It is said that a variety of test vehicles were dubbed Jeeps well before the first Jeep was made!  These included vehicles from  Minneapolis Moline tractors to an early precursor of the legendary B-17 Flying Fortress.

The origin of how, when, and why the term Jeep was applied to our trucks is perhaps lost forever in history. Seekers of truth are reduced to simply picking which explanation they believe to be true and following it with blind faith. It is, however, comforting to think that even though we may never know for sure, part of the fun is the mystery that cloaks the origin of our military bred Jeep!
The first willys jeep