The History of Jeep as Told by a Total Idiot

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My coworker Ryan Felton knows absolutely nothing about Jeep history, and yet for some reason he insisted on tormenting me—me, of all people—with a “history lesson.” The resulting video is the dumbest, most factually-inaccurate recording in automotive history. Do not let your children watch.

In the video, Ryan claims that a fictional character named “Stu” Jeep founded the brand, and that his wife, Susie, made important contributions to design, including adding duct tape onto the Jeep XJ “compact car.” He also says the holes in the floor were a design feature, that the non-functioning window switches were standard equipment, and that there’s a 300-horsepower V12 engine under the hood of the XJ, which he claims debuted in 1996. It’s all total bullshit.


Because I’d like to stop Ryan’s idiocy from spreading, allow me to address all the dumb crap he says about Jeep history:

1. The home of the Jeep is not Detroit, Michigan, it is Toledo, Ohio.

2. The 1995 Jeep Cherokee Sport featured in this video is not my first Jeep. That title belongs to my beloved 1992 Jeep Cherokee Laredo.


3. I did not purchase this 1995 Jeep a week prior to this video shoot; I bought it in 2015 as my first Moab off-road project.

4. The XJ was introduced in 1984, not 1996, and it is a compact sport utility vehicle, not a compact car.

5. The tape on my XJ (put there by my friends prior to my first Moab journey) is not a standard design feature. That said, quite a few XJs came with pinstripes, which were basically colored tape. So he’s not that far off, here.

6. Susie Jeep does not exist.

Illustration for article titled The History of Jeep as Told by a Total Idiot

7. Ryan’s claim that the XJ was the first Jeep with a rear door that opened that wide is actually true; this is the first Jeep vehicle with a one-piece hatch that swung open about hinges on the roof.

So at least the dummy got something right. Unintentionally.

8. Once again, the Jeep XJ didn’t come out in 1996. Ryan keeps saying it did, but that doesn’t make it any more accurate.


If he means OBD II came out in 1996, then he’s right. But he probably doesn’t mean that, because how the hell would he know something that detailed when he doesn’t know the basics?

9. There is no Stu Jeep. This person doesn’t exist.

10. Neither this “Stu” nor Henry Ford built the first prototype Jeep. It was actually the Butler, PA-based company called Bantam that accomplished that feat (though it wasn’t called a Jeep at that point).

11. There’s never been a Jeep “Mini” city car. There was a two-wheel drive Willys Jeepster in the late ’40s (well after the first Willys MBs came out in the early 1940s), but that was a not-particularly-small, swanky and sporty convertible.


12. The Jeep Cherokee does not make “more than 300 horsepower,” nor does it have a V12 engine. The most powerful XJ made about 190 horsepower from its 4.0-liter Chrysler fuel-injected inline-six.

I even went so far as to show Ryan the four-liter, but somehow, his idiotic, erroneous Jeep-rambling seems largely unfazed by my factual accuracies.

Illustration for article titled The History of Jeep as Told by a Total Idiot

13. Jeep engineers did not design the floors to have giant holes to help pipe road noise into the cabin. My XJ is just a shitbox with rusted floors, hence the name “Project Swiss Cheese.”


14. The XJ never came with window switch “blanks.” Either the switches powered the windows, or the thing came with a hand crank. My Jeep’s window buttons do nothing because they are broken.

15. The horn does not make a “Jeep” sound. It’s just a regular-sounding horn.

I hate that I have to explain these things. But you know what, this video will get shared by lots of folks on Facebook, and by next week, everyone will be a Jeep-history-idiot. So why do I even bother?

Sr. Tech Editor, Jalopnik. Owner of far too many Jeeps (Including a Jeep Comanche). Follow my instagram (@davidntracy). Always interested in hearing from engineers—email me.


Jim Spanfeller is a Herb

Thank you, Ryan, for acknowledging my legacy.