There is some debate about what the first SUV was to hit the roads. According to Edmunds and many others, the official release of a true SUV was in 1946 with the Willys Jeep Station Wagon. It was designed by Brooks Stevens and was the first all-steel wagon of its kind. This particular model stayed in production until 1965, and it remains the oldest SUV in history. Here is a look at it.
This Jeep wagon started off with a flathead 4 engine called the 463, and by 1948 it came standard with the L148 Lightning 6 engine. From 1946 to 1948, the vehicle was only available in 2WD. The 4WD became available by 1949.
There were several changesto it in 1950. The Jeep’s grill that was flat was then replaced with a V-shaped grill. They also changed the 473 engine with the F134 Hurricane and the 673 engine got a 2.6 liter style of the Lightning V6. They also added a delivery sedan style model.
In 1954, Kaiser took over the ownership of the Willys Jeep and created the 6-226 Super Hurricane engine. This was the introduction of the first flathead inline 6 engines. A year into the ownership of Kaiser, a variety of different models were introduced; one in particular was the model specially made for ambulances.
In 1958 a more luxurious 2WD model was released that was called the Maverick. This was a far more comfortable vehicle and came with a four cylinder engine and a six cylinder engine.
In 1962 they introduced the very first over head cam (OHC) engine, replacing the old flathead. Although the popularity was still there for the Jeep Wagon, production ended in 1965 when they began to phase it out with the Jeep Wagoneer. In the end, more than 300,000 Willys Jeep Station Wagons were produced.