The seven-slot Jeep grill is arguably one of the most famous automotive design features in the world today, but how did it originally come about? And better yet, what does it really mean? With so many potential theories being passed around by Jeep owners, our team at Altitude Jeep has dug deep into the history of the Jeep grill to find the real answer.
The legend (or the internet) has it that the Jeep grill’s seven-slot design was inspired by the idea that the Jeep was the first vehicle to be driven on all seven of the continents. However, there is not any evidence that points towards this actually being true.
Other myths about the origins of the seven-slot Jeep grill include the idea that the slots stood for the seven separate divisions of FCA Incorporated — Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Mopar, SRT, and Fiat. It’s hard to believe that this can be true though as us Jeepers would like to think that the design was much more than a mere marketing scheme. While it may be honorable to represent the seven pillars of the company, it’s more likely to be deeply rooted in the history, right?
The Truth Behind The Origins
Well, speaking of history, it’s important to note that the original Jeeps did not implement the design of the seven-slot grill. The original prototypes used in the military used heavy-duty grills made with multiple welded steel slats that could almost double as an actual grill for cooking burgers over a campfire.
It was not until much later in 1942 that Ford Motor Company developed a more lightweight and aesthetically-pleasing model that would become the foundation for the multitude of Jeep grills to eventually follow. These grills also begun with nine slots, and it wasn’t until the introduction of the 1945 Willys CJ-2A that the Jeep grill was reduced to the prominent seven-slot design that it still retains to this day and has become so well known for.
When Willys-Overland went about designing their new version of the Jeep Wrangler, they knew that it would still resemble the Ford models in many ways, as they were both based off the original concept from the American Bantam Car Company. In order to differentiate their new model from Ford and avoid running into legal action for infringing upon the Ford design, Willys-Overland modified the Jeep grill to distinguish it from the nine-slot grill included in the Ford design.
So overall, the seven-slot Jeep grill came to fruition not from a marketing tactic or symbolic representation of any sorts, but simply by executing good business ethics and avoiding any potential conflicts over copyright moving forward.
Aftermarket Jeep Grills
While the traditional Jeep grill features a design that has proven to stand the test of time, many Jeep owners, especially those who are avid off-roaders, have begun transitioning to aftermarket Jeep grills for a more personalized and aggressive look for their Wranglers.
One of the more popular upgrades by far to the stock Jeep grill has been the Jeep Gladiator Grill. With so many Jeepers avidly searching out these sleek-looking grills, we, of course, had to add them to our inventory of aftermarket Jeep grills at Altitude Jeep. Featuring a 14-slot design rather than the traditional seven-slot, the Gladiator Grill is undoubtedly a popular upgrade among Wrangler owners due to its notoriously badass look combined with the simplicity of being able to install it directly over your existing Jeep grill with a quick snap.
Another popular aftermarket Jeep grill among the newer generations of Wranglers (2007-2018) is the Beast Grill. This beast of a grill adds a mean-mugging look to your Wrangler and replaces the stock Jeep grill entirely, but it keeps the iconic seven-slot design intact for those who are avid on keeping their Jeep’s original design principles.
We hope this blog has helped you to understand more of the true history behind the iconic look of the Jeep Wrangler grill and clears up many of the myths that you more than likely have been led to believe over the years as a Jeep owner. If you’re looking for new ways to improve the look or performance of your Jeep, we invite you to browse all of our aftermarket Jeep products here at Altitude Jeep and elevate your ride today!