If you own a Jeep, or have a friend who owns a Jeep (chances are they’ll tell you about every possible occasion), then you’ve most likely come across an Easter egg or two. With some references easier to discover than most, it’s an incredible concept from Jeep for connecting with customers in a fun, simple and economical way.
But it wasn’t always like that. Before car designer Michael Santoro came along in the 90s, Jeep as a company didn’t have much personality outside of its unique design form. It just wasn’t Jeep’s utilitarian, practical way. Luckily, their dedicated customers have found a way to pass on their love for Jeep to an up-and-coming car designer in Santoro.
Fortunately, that all changed when Santoro was commissioned to redesign the TJ Wrangler in 1997. Recognized as a key contributor to the design of the Dodge Cirrus/Stratus platforms (we’ve since forgiven him), Santoro got to grips with the Jeep history, but not the values that make Jeep so endearing to millions around the world. Luckily for the rest of us, he quickly learned from enthusiastic owners what direction he wanted the Wrangler to take.
Capitalizing on the legendary seven-slot grill, Santoro used this design cue to rebuild the scoop on the hood to feature the same seven-bar design. It is this design feature that has been credited as the first, in a long line, of Jeep Easter Eggs to feature on their vehicles. The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L is no different. Join us as we identify Easter eggs you may not know about.
A bit of Jeep history
Blink and you’ll miss that subtle surprise, Jeep’s inaugural year etched into the side of the dash, facing the doors. One of the hardest to notice Easter eggs, the engraving pays homage to the birth of the Jeep during one of the most tumultuous times in world history.
Grand Cherokee pout
If you happen to be sitting in the passenger seat, adjusting the rearview mirror, you might notice hidden in the black windshield trim, the iconic look of the Grand Cherokee. You’ll find a combination of the Cherokee’s headlights and seven-slot grille tucked into the tint design, making it one of the hardest eggs to find.
What might be the easiest of these Easter eggs to find, ie if you bought your Cherokee L in the US, is this special emblem. Both sides of the car adorn chrome American flags after the Grand Cherokee badge, just in case you forget which country you live in. There must be an American school geography joke somewhere.
Jeeps in different area codes
A subtle nod to Motor City and Chrysler’s Jefferson North Assembly Plant. The first and only location where the Grand Cherokee has been assembled since production began in 1992. Located a few miles from downtown Detroit, the plant was intended to show Chrysler’s commitment to downtown Detroit. Detroit and its revitalization.
Our first appearance Willys
Open the gas tank and you’ll find a silhouette of the WIllys Jeep, one of two found on the Grand Cherokee L. The Willys MB was a WWII vehicle largely responsible for the Allied victory over fascist regimes Axis powers. Forged in the forests and plains of Europe, Japan and Korea, the Willys is directly responsible for the Jeep capabilities we know and love.
In what appears to be a tongue-in-cheek reference to ugly stick-family decals, the third-row window tint features the silhouettes of the Grand Cherokee and Grand Cherokee L side-by-side, just above the air vents. Luckily, that doesn’t require you to see how many kids and dogs they have.
An expensive cup holder accessory
One of the biggest annoyances caused by new-age car keys is the lack of dedicated space to keep them safe while traveling. Sure, you can jam it into a random slot that automakers build because there’s wasted space (*cough* Fiesta ST *cough*), or you can leave the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s cup holders l Gently hold it straight for you, never to be lost. again. Just make sure your drinks have lids, this could end up being a costly accident waiting to happen.
Willys, we meet again
In another callback to the legendary Jeep Willys, the window tint features a 4×4 silhouette. It also seems to climb the steep slope of the window. Which should be an easy task for the Willys who have traveled thousands of miles in multiple political disputes.
Much like the hidden easter eggs of video games, Jeep features a variety of subtle and over-the-top references. Some were to be discovered immediately, like the Willys in the gas tank, and some were to be discovered after paying attention to every inch and detail of your Jeep, like the seven-slot air intake on the TJ Wrangler.
It’s no surprise that the Jeep fandom has reached a level of meme-worthy infatuation; they’re practical, capable, affordable (to some degree) and feature an attention to detail that has since prompted other car designers to implement their own Easter Eggs. Here’s one of the remaining automakers who have as much fun with their design elements as they do with the vehicles themselves, Jeep.
A digital artist created this six-wheeled beast of a Hummer H1 by crossing it with a 1970s Tyrrell P34 Formula 1 car.
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