Buying Advice

Too tall, too small: Vintage Jeep model sizes do not fit all

Jeep Wrangler seat sizes vary by generation and some are not a good fit for the modern man.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

I'd always wanted a vintage Jeep. For decades I'd dreamed about it and just never got around to pulling the trigger. With the COVID-19 pandemic causing me to be stuck at home for the last few weeks, I found myself spending my spare time surfing Craigslist ads across the country looking for a new resident for my driveway.

I ran into a few obstacles along the way that no one had warned me about in my research.

The original Jeep

1941 Willy Jeep

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Most people know that the Jeep was invented as an all-purpose military vehicle on the eve of World War II. Automakers including American Bantam, Willys-Overland, and Ford all submitted designs for consideration, and the Willys design was approved (pictured above). There are very few of the prototypes and early production models still around, but the MB design was mass produced for the war by Willys, along with the closely related Ford GPW.

After the war, the Jeep MB was sold to the public as the Jeep CJ-2A (pictured below). The "CJ" designation stands for "Civilian Jeep." The MB was further developed into the CJ-3A and CJ-3B, with a similar military version known as the M38. Together, all of these models are known as the "flat-fendered" Jeeps because the front fenders are – you guessed it – flat. The CJ-3B continued in production until 1968, with over 155,000 made.

The average GI Joe

1946 Jeep MB

In 1946, the Jeep Willy Universal Jeep CJ-2A was sold to the public.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Here's the thing about early Jeeps: If you go back to the original U.S. military specification, the Jeep was a "one size fits all" vehicle. The average U.S. soldier in that era was 5 feet, 6 inches tall, so the Jeep was designed to accommodate that height. Early Jeep seats are literally bolted to the floor with no possibility of adjustment unless you're pretty good with a welding torch. There was also no power steering, so the steering wheels have a huge diameter to give the driver enough leverage to turn the front tires on rough ground.

The problem arises when a taller driver like me wants to drive an early Jeep. I'm six feet tall, a little above average these days, and it's just about impossible to get longer legs up on the clutch and brake pedals of a WWII-era Jeep because your knee hits the bottom of the steering wheel. It's worse if you're a bit on the chubby side because that wheel will be right up against your belly button. Ask me how I know.

A larger military Jeep

1955 Jeep CJ-5

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

In 1952, Willys brought out a new Jeep design called the M38A1. It was bigger than the older models, with a better ride and a more powerful engine. You can tell the M38A1 at a glance because the front fenders curve down at the forward edge like all newer Jeep designs.

The M38A1 still has fixed seats and a big wheel, but it's enough larger than a 6-foot person can comfortably drive it. Production of the M38A1 went on until 1971, with 101,499 examples produced. The United States military bought 80,290 of those Jeeps, and many of those were sold to the public at the conclusion of their service. The Jeep I just bought is one of those ex-military models.

The parallel civilian model to the M38A1 is the legendary Jeep CJ-5. You can tell the difference between two by looking at the back end. The CJ-5 has a little tailgate like a truck, and the M38A1 does not. Also, there's an indentation in the passenger side cowl on the M38A1 for an electrical connection that is not included on the CJ-5.

Growing with the times

1955 Jeep CJ-5

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The first CJ-5 was sold in 1955, and the model continued in production until 1983 with a long list of developments over that time, such as sliding seats and improved comfort features. With a production history of almost 30 years, the CJ-5 saw dramatic changes over time and buyers can take their pick of various engines, automatic transmissions, different 4X4 components, and many special editions.

If you want or need more space than a CJ-5 (pictured above) provides, there is the comparatively rare extended-wheelbase CJ-6 model. The CJ-6 was also introduced in 1955 and was based on the military Jeep M170 ambulance or troop carrier. The CJ-7 was introduced in 1976, and these are also a little bigger than the CJ-5. Later Jeep Wranglers are even bigger.

Finding your Jeep

If you're looking for a vintage Jeep, there are many good places to look. You can browse Craigslist for bargains, or check auctions like Bringatrailer, Hemmings, and eBay. There are also specialty sites like Willysforsale.com that offer hard-to-find examples and restored military models.

Just be sure that you take a test drive in a similar model before buying an older Jeep, especially if you're bigger or taller. Finding the Jeep model that fits you is the first step in a grand adventure.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The BMW iX is just one model that is coming to American for the 2022 model year.

Photo courtesy of BMW

Many cars, trucks, SUVs, and minivans have gotten upgrades for the 2022 model year. There are a a variety of terms you'll frequently see associated with a description of a vehicle for its annual changeover. Here's how AutomotiveMap defines them:

  • New - These models are entering the market for the first time.
  • Carryover - There have been no major changes from one model year to the other. It is common that the year after a new or refreshed model is introduced, it will be a carryover.
  • Refreshed - Commonly occurring three to four years after the new generation of a model is introduced, a refresh usually includes new fascia, perhaps an engine lineup change or tech upgrade, and usually the addition of safety system upgrades.
  • Redesign - This term signals a generation change in the model. This usually requires an architecture change and all new body panels, engine lineup, tech offerings, and the introduction of new packages, trim levels, and pricing. Redesigns typically happens every seven to nine years.

The models on this list are new or have either been redesigned or refreshed for the 2022 model year. This list will grow as more information becomes available. Click here to see the 2021 models that were new, refreshed, or redesigned for the year.

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG​

Volkswagen announced a refreshed version of the Tiguan SUV in late 2020 but made it known that the model wasn't going to make it stateside until late 2021. The European version (shown above) of the SUV has a new grille that combines with standard LED headlights, VW's new logo right up front, new rear bumpers, redesigned lettering, and a pretty decent tech upgrade in its cabin.

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross

2021 Toyota Corolla Cross Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Corporation

Word on the street is that the new Toyota Corolla Cross could be coming to the U.S. as a 2022 model. That's unconfirmed at this point. If it were, the Corolla Cross could fill a gap in Toyota's lineup between the RAV4 and CH-R, similar to where the Hyundai Kona fits between the Santa Fe and Venue. Stay tuned for more information.

2022 Nissan Ariya

2022 Nissan Ariya

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The 2022 Nissan Ariya is a 300-mile all-electric crossover with a $40,000 price tag. It might be replacing the Murano in the company's lineup as the brand strategically weighs production versus an electrified business model. The Ariya has unique, minimalistic design that uber modern. Stay tuned for more information as it's announced throughout 2021.

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

2020 Grand Wagoneer Concept - Details Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

When the Grand Wagoneer concept debuted in late 2020, it was touted as coming soon and nearly production ready. The model fits into FCA/Stellantis's multi-year product plans as a 2022 model with production expected to kick off in 2021. Check back for more information.

2022 Hyundai Kona

2022 Hyundai Kona N Line Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Company

The Kona is already old enough to have undergone a model refresh. They grow up so quickly! The new design infusion gives the 2022 Kona new cladding, a freshly stretched hood, new grille shape. The lower bumper has a skid plate while intakes dominate the corners of the face. At the back are new taillights with a horizontal graphic. Below is a new bumper. The revised Kona rides on updated 17- or 18-inch wheels, or the 16-inchers that have been carried over from previous model years. The model also gets Hyundai's 10.25-inch infotainment touch screen.

2022 Audi Q5 Sportback and SQ5 Sportback

2022 Audi Q5 Sportback Photo courtesy of Audi AG

In their seemingly never ending move to fastback everything, Audi is making the Q5 Sportback and SQ5 Sportback a reality for the 2022 model year. The two models get basically the same equipment package as their squared-off counterparts and has about the same capability.

2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing

Cadillac Blackwing launch

Photo courtesy of Cadillac

Cadillac will soon be introducing its new performance-centric sedan. We'll update this information when it's announced.

2022 Kia Carnival

2022 Kia Sedona

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The Kia Sedona name is gone, replaced by the Kia Carnival moniker for the 2022 model year. That's not as big of a deal as it sounds, the van has always been known as the Carnival to global markets. For 2021, the van got a generational upgrade overseas, but those changes won't make it stateside until the 2022 model year.

2022 BMW 4 Series Cabriolet

2022 BMW 4 Series Convertible Photo courtesy of BMW

The 4 Series is a distinct creature. For the 2022 model year, a cabriolet version of the car will be made available for sale that's lighter and has more cargo space and a lower center of gravity than its predecessor. Like its hard-topped relatives, the 4 Series Convertible is available with a variety of packages but only one engine is available, a 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that produces 382 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque.

2022 Volkswagen Taos

2022 Volkswagen Taos Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen is introducing the Taos to the U.S. market for the 2022 model year. The small SUV is akin to the Hyundai Kona in size and the Volkswagen Tiguan in styling. VW made this model explicitly for the U.S. market where SUVs are dominating the sales conversation.

2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

In 2020, the automaker revealed the 2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, which has been refreshed inside and out. Most notably, it has a refreshed face and redesigned hatch. Minor interior improvements are designed to help make the Mitsubishi more palatable to buyers.

2022 Volkswagen Golf R

2022 Volkswagen Golf R

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The 2022 Volkswagen Golf R is the most powerful Golf to date and yes, it's coming to the U.S. The performance variant of the Golf family delivers 315 horsepower, a 27-horsepower boost over the outgoing model, and 310 pound-feet of torque up from 280). Each Golf R gets a turbocharged 1,984 cc four-cylinder engine hat is paired with a standard six-speed manual transmission. A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is available.

2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing

Blacwing launch

​Photo courtesy of Cadillac

Cadillac will soon be introducing its new performance-centric sedan. We'll update this information when it's announced.

2022 Hyundai Tucson

2022 Hyundai Tucson Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The Hyundai Tucson has been completely redesigned for the 2022 model year and it's impressive to say the least. The upmarket two-row SUV comes with high-tech features, comfortable seats, and a seriously budget-friendly price tag.

2022 Infiniti QX55

2022 Infiniti QX55 Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

The long-awaited Infiniti QX55 is finally a reality. Like many of the other vehicles on this list, it's a small SUV. The QX55 takes the place of the QX30 in the automaker's lineup and is designed to offer a premium drive experience that's engaging and fun, similar to the Infiniti FX of the past.

2022 Honda Civic

2022 Honda Civic Prototype Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

A new generation of Honda Civic is on the way. The company recently revealed a near-production prototype of the car (as seen above) and a fully operable next-gen version is planned to debut soon. Stay tuned.

2022 Subaru BR-Z

2022 Subaru BRZ Photo courtesy of Subaru of America, Inc.

The sister of the Toyota 86 has gotten a full blown generational change for the 2022 model year. The 2022 Subaru BRZ keeps its pin-sharp handling but has gotten a significant makeover inside and out. It's also gotten Subaru's standard EyeSight driver assist and safety technology.

2022 Genesis GV70

2022 Genesis GV70 Photo courtesy of Genesis Motors

The Genesis GV80 just landed on U.S. shores but its smaller brother, the GV70 isn't too far behind it. The GV70 carries over the premium looks and features of the GV80 into this smaller, and more budget-friendly package.

2022 Acura MDX

2022 Acura MDX exterior Photo courtesy of Acura

The Acura MDX may be one of the first 2022 models to make it to market. The next-generation MDX has gotten significant enhancements to its interior quality, drivability, and comfort for the new model year. Engineers are also planning a sportier version of the MDX so stay tuned for information about that.

2022 GMC Hummer EV

2022 GMC Hummer EV Photo courtesy of GMC

The GMC Hummer EV finally debuted in mid-2020 but it won't make it to buyers' homes until late 2021. The first editions of the model are slated to be the most powerful and priciest with the cost of each topping $100,000. GMC's first all-electric model combines the comfort of an SUV with the styling of a beefy truck as it attempts to become the ultimate utility vehicle.

2022 GMC Sierra

2022 GMC Sierra Denali

Photo courtesy of GMC

It's been rumored since its interior design fell flat at its debut that the GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado were having interior redos hustled through the design process. GMC gave the first indications that this is true when they announced that the Sierra Denali is getting Super Cruise driving tech for 2022. Stay tuned for more info.

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Chevrolet teases refreshed 2022 Bolt EV, new 2022 Bolt EUV

A refreshed Chevrolet Bolt EV is on the docket for 2022. Chevy has been teasing the model left and right over the last few months so we should know more concrete information soon.

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

A crossover version of the Chevrolet Bolt EV called the Chevrolet Bolt EUV will be coming to market as a 2022 model as well. Information is pending on the model but several clues have already surfaced.

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

Mitsubishi is teasing the next-gen 2022 Outlander ahead of its February debut. Stay tuned for more information about the SUV.

2022 BMW iX

2022 BMW iX Photo courtesy of BMW

The 2022 BMW iX is an all-electric SUV slated to arrive in the U.S. later this year. The iX will be the first bit of BMW's future EV plans to reach U.S. shores and bring with it the latest and greatest technology the company offers.

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Walter P. Chrysler stands next to his1924 Chrysler Six, the first car bearing the Chrysler name.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

It's been nearly 100 years since Walter P. Chrysler formed the Chrysler Corporation. In that time, the company has been merged, spilt, sold, and reborn in a variety of forms, but its roots still remain in Michigan where it is known as one of the Big Three automakers alongside General Motors and Ford.

Let's take a look back at the history of the company from its highest highs to its lowest lows, and everything in between.

The beginning

1925 Chrysler B70

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Walter Chrysler formed his namesake automotive company in 1925, when his employer, Maxwell Motor Company, was reorganized. A little over a year earlier, Chrysler's first production car, the Chrysler 70 (above), was released and featured several forward-looking innovations. The car came with a high-compression engine that had full-pressure lubrication, an oil filter, and a carburetor air filter.

An early pioneer

Early on, Chrysler pioneered several other automotive features that would eventually take over the entire industry. Four-wheel hydraulic brakes, rubber engine mounts, and more were all Chrysler's inventions. The company also developed a ridged rim for its car's wheels, which was designed to prevent a deflated tire from flying off the rim at speed. It was eventually picked up by the entire global automotive industry.

Introducing ... Plymouth

Plymouth Hotel Algonquin 1935 taxi cab

Photo by Martin Forstenzer/Getty Images

In 1928, Chrysler Corporation introduced the Plymouth brand, which was intended to be a lower-priced alternative. Early Plymouth models were rebadged Chrysler cars with small four-cylinder engines. In the photo above, a Plymouth taxicab is parked in front of the Hotel Algonquin in New York City in 1935.

DeSoto was also unveiled at this time as a mid-range model line for the group. Not long after, Chrysler snapped up the Dodge Brothers auto and truck company.

Hello, Mopar

In a stroke of genius that remains a large part of the automotive world today, Chrysler coined the MoPar brand in the 1930s. As a combination of the words "motor parts," the name is still used to describe vehicles and parts in the Chrysler-Dodge world today.

Imperial, Valiant, DeSoto

By the mid-1950s, Chrysler had spun up more nameplates to join its empire. In 1955, Imperial became a brand of its own after a run as the range-topping Chrysler model, and in 1960 the Valiant brand name came to be. In 1961, Chrysler discontinued the DeSoto line.

Chrysler in space

Saturn 1B Kennedy apollo picture

Photo by MPI/Getty Images

The automaker had a hand in the space program, too. In the late 1950s, NASA contracted Chrysler to build the first booster stage of the Saturn I and Saturn IB vehicles. The Saturn 1B is pictured above on January 22, 1968 launching Apollo 5 from Cape Kennedy, Florida, to complete the first flight test of an unmanned lunar module.

The company built the pieces for the Apollo Program at the Michoud Assembly Facility in East New Orleans, which was one of the largest manufacturing facilities on Earth at the time.

The future is now

1963 Plymouth Valiant

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Chrysler's forward thinking operations continued into the 1960s, when the automaker became the only of Detroit's Big Three to use a unibody design in its vehicles. Today, most passenger vehicles are unibody designs, but it was a novel idea at the time. Around the same time, the Valiant brand was moved back as a subsidiary of the Plymouth brand (a 1963 Plymouth Valiant is shown above), and became the first production car with an alternator.

Ooh, Barracuda

1965 Plymouth Barracuda

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

In 1964, the Plymouth Barracuda was introduced (shown above as a 1965 model), almost two weeks before the unveiling of the Ford Mustang. Despite being first, the 'Cuda was outsold by the Mustang ten-to-one in its first year on the market. Chrysler had also set its sights on Europe by this time, and took a majority stake in the British Rootes Group in 1964. The venture was short-lived, however, as financial difficulties in the British company forced Chrysler to sell to PSA Peugeot Citroen in 1978.

Stiff competition, disastrous results

The 1970s proved to be a difficult time for Chrysler, as it was for all American car companies. Cheaper, smaller Japanese and European cars flooded the markets, as the oil crisis drove prices through the roof and made large, heavy cars almost immediately obsolete. Later in the decade, a rush to push new models to market led to massive warranty and repair costs for Chrysler, as its Dodge Aspen and Plymouth Volare were hurried to market with poor construction and an even worse design.

Mr. Iacocca

1984 Plymouth Voyager

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

In 1978, Lee Iacocca joined Chrysler as CEO after having been fired from Ford. Because of its missteps with the Aspen and Volare models, Chrysler was hemorrhaging cash at the time. Iacocca started retooling the automaker from scratch, which included many layoffs, the sale of European assets to Peugeot, and the creation of the project that would ultimately lead to the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager (1984 model shown above). The project was driven by former Ford executives after Henry Ford II denied its forward progress under his watch.

Iacocca realized that the company would not be able to survive without a significant influx of cash to turn its fortunes around. In September 1979, he asked Congress for a $1.5 billion loan, which led to the Chrysler Corporation Loan Guarantee Act of 1979. The military later purchased thousands of Dodge trucks from the company, which helped it recover and avoid bankruptcy.

The K-Car and the minivan

1982 Chrysler LeBaron

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

In 1981, Chrysler released the first K-Car platform model - another rejected Ford project. The platform would go on to form the basis of several models throughout the decade (1982 Chrysler LeBaron shown above). In 1983, the first minivan was introduced, the success of which helped Chrysler repay the federal government the same year.

American Motors Corporation

The late 1980s were a consequential time for Chrysler. In 1987, the automaker was the subject of an investigation over its practice of disconnecting odometers during test drives before being shipped to dealers. The company settled out of court, but suffered a massive public relation hit. The same year, Iacocca led the acquisition of American Motors Corporation (AMC), which brought Jeep into the Chrysler fold for the first time. The Eagle brand was also created at this time.

Chrysler and Fiat Part I

In 1988, Chrysler and Fiat reached an agreement for the American automaker to be the exclusive distributed or Alfa Romeo in the United States, which lasted until Alfas were phased out in 1995. The early 1990s also saw Chrysler making a return to the streets of Europe, first with select Jeep models and then others.

DaimlerChrysler Motors Company

In 1998, Chrysler formed a 50-50 partnership with Daimler-Benz, and the automaker was renamed DaimlerChrysler Motors Company. Though it was supposed to be an even merger, Daimler-Benz was in the driver's seat. Plymouth was phased out in 2001, and the remaining auto brands went on to share platforms and technologies in vehicles that are still seen today. The marriage came to an end in 2007, when DaimlerChrysler AG sold the majority of its stake in Chrysler to Cerberus Capital Management. That sale led to a shuffle in management and a new logo.

Economic downturn

A Jeep sits in front of the empty showroom at Premier Chrysler June 8, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. The dealership is 1 of the 789 Chrysler dealerships nationwide that are scheduled to close tomorrow. Today the Supreme Court delayed Chrysler\ufffds sale of most of its assets to a group led by Italy\ufffds Fiat. (

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

The financial crisis of 2008 cut deep into Chrysler's operations and stability. Late in that year, the company announced a 25 percent reduction in its salaried and contract workforce. Sales fell drastically for all automakers at that time, but Chrysler was particularly vulnerable after having been passed around through mergers and acquisitions over the years. In December 2008, President George W. Bush announced a rescue loan for the auto industry, which included Chrysler.

As part of a reorganization, Chrysler LLC and Fiat announced plans to form a global alliance. The agreement gave Fiat a large stake in Chrysler and led to several months of restructuring. By mid-2009, Fiat had taken a majority stake in Chrysler, and by 2014, the company we all know today had taken shape. In December of that year, Chrysler Group LLC's name was officially changed to FCA US LLC, or Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Stellantis

New Stellantis company logo revealed ahead of Groupe PSA-Fiat Chrysler merger

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The next chapter of Chrysler is already written. The company will become part of Stellantis, a megacorporation that brings together the holdings of FCA with those of PSA Groupe. The deal closes in January 2021.

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