The Jeep CJ models are a series and a range of small, open-bodied off-road vehicles and compact pickup trucks, built and sold by several successive incarnations of the Jeep automobile marque from 1945 through 1986. The 1945 Willys "Universal Jeep" was the world's first mass-produced civilian four-wheel drive car.
In 1944, Willys-Overland, the primary manufacturer of the World War II military Jeep, built the first prototypes for a commercial version – the CJ, short for "civilian Jeep". The design was a direct evolution from the war jeep, but the most obvious change was adding a tailgate, and relocating the spare wheel to the side. Also, besides adding basic civilian amenities and options and legally-compliant lighting, the CJ required a sturdier drivetrain than the war jeep, because the targeted rural buyers would work the vehicles hard and expect years of durability, instead of mere weeks as during WWII.
From then on, all CJ Jeeps consistently had a separate body and frame, rigid live axles with leaf springs both front and rear, a tapering nose design with flared fenders, and a fold-flat windshield, and could be driven without doors. Also, with few exceptions, they had part-time four-wheel drive systems, with the choice of high and low gearing, and open bodies with removable hard or soft tops. A few stand-out changes during 42 model years were the introductions of round-fendered vs. flat-fendered bodies (1955 CJ-5), straight-6 and V8-engines, automatic gearboxes, and different 4-wheel drive systems. The 1976 CJ-7 stretched the wheelbase by 10 inches (25 cm), and made doors and a removable hardtop common items.
After remaining in production through a range of model numbers, and several corporate parents, the Jeep CJ line was officially ended after 1986. More than 1.5 million CJ Jeeps were built, having continued the same basic body style for 45 years since the Jeep first appeared. Widely regarded as "America's workhorse", the CJs have been described as "probably the most successful utility vehicle ever made." American Motors VP Joseph E. Cappy said the end of "CJ production will signal an end of a very important era in Jeep history." In 1987, the Jeep CJ-7 was replaced by the first-generation Jeep Wrangler. Looking very similar and riding on the same wheelbase as the CJ-7, it carried over some important components, including its use of leaf springs.
The similar model the DJ "Dispatcher" was introduced in 1956 as a two-wheel drive version with open, fabric, or a closed steel body in both left- and right-hand drives for hotel, resort, police, and later United States Postal Service markets.

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