The first "Jeep'', as we know it today, was the Model MB Military. It was produced from 1941 through 1945. The distinguishing characteristics were an L-head, 4-cylinder engine, no tailgate, a 6 volt (6V) electrical system, split windshield, rear mounted spare tire, and a timing chain.
The next model was the CJ-2A. It was made from 1945 to 1949 and was the first Jeep made available directly to the public. This is the civilian version of the MB Military. The letters CJ stand for Civilian Jeep. The distinguishing characteristics of this model are the L-head, 4-cylinder engine, split windshield, and 6V electrical system. The civilian version differs from the Model MB Military in that the spare tire is mounted on the side of the vehicle and there is a tailgate.
The CJ-3A was brought out in 1948. The only outward difference between this model and the CJ-2A is that the CJ-3A has a one piece windshield. This model was produced until 1953.
In 1947, Kaiser introduced the Model 2WD and 4WD Truck. This small pick-up was essentially similar to contemporary CJ models, with a 4L-134 engine and 2-piece windshield. it was produced through 1950. At the same time, the Model 4-63 was released. This was a 2WD station wagon version of the pick-up and was produced through 1950. A distinguishing characteristic was the use of a Planar independent front suspension, using a single transverse leaf spring and upper control arms. In 1949, a 4WD version of the 4-63 was introduced, known as the 4x4-63. Conventional front suspension was used. It too was produced through 1950. In 1950, a 6-cylinder version was introduced, known as the 6-73, equipped with the 6-226 engine. It was produced only in 1950.
In 1950 the Models 4-73 and 4x4-73 were introduced in both pick-up and station wagon configurations. They used the 4F-134 and 6-226 engines The were produced through 1951.
The military services received a new model Jeep in 1950: the Model MC-M38 Military. This Jeep had a 24V electrical system, a 4-cylinder L-head engine, no tailgate, brush guards over the headlights, a one piece windshield, and a rear mounted spare tire. This model was produced only until 1951.
In 1951 the Model MF-M38A1 Military replaced the Model MC-M38 Military. The newer model had rounded front fenders and was made until 1968.
A new civilian Jeep, the Model CJ-3B, was introduced in 1953. It can be distinguished by its high flat hood but also had a 4-cylinder, F-head engine, side mounted spare tire, one piece windshield, tailgate, angular fenders (like all of the earlier models), and a 6V or 12V electrical system. The CJ-3B was made until 1964.
In 1956, the model 4-75 4x4 Utility Wagon was introduced. It used the 4F-134, 6-226 and 6-230 engines. It was produced through 1964.
In 1958, a 2WD version of the 4-75 was introduced, named the Maverick. It had "captive air'' tires and a 4F-134 engine. It was produced only in 1958.
The CJ-5, a civilian version of the MD-38A1 was released in 1955. It had a tailgate, a 6V or 12V electrical system, and rounded fenders. Two engines were offered for the first time in the Universal series with this introduction. The traditional 4-cylinder F-head was offered, as well as the V6 Buick engine. The V6 was available from 1965 through 1970. The CJ-5's spare is usually mounted on the side.
A longer version of the CJ-5 was also introduced in 1955. This was the CJ-6 with a wheelbase of 101 in. (2.57 m). It was identical to the CJ-5 except for the longer wheelbase.