The Jeep 7 Bar Grille

The 7 bar grille is a representation and trademark of Jeep. Have you ever noticed when looking at Jeeps, what makes them all look kind of similar? It’s that front grille. It’s on Jeep vehicles from the Renegade to the Wrangler and pictured below, the Grand Cherokee.

But why the 7 bars or slats or whatever you call them? Is there a legitimate design reason or purpose behind the 7?

Image: Mytwocents

But what about this? It wasn’t always 7 bars.

The original Willys Jeep Overland had a 9 bar grille design and it was designed by Ford! Yes, you read that right. Well, not exactly completely Ford. The Army put out a request for a general purpose vehicle (G.P…sounds like Jeep?) and American Bantam were the first to deliver what the Army wanted with a prototype called the ‘Blitz Buggy’.

The Army realized American Bantam probably couldn’t produce the numbers they needed though so they asked Ford and Willys to join in. 1. This is where the Ford and grille part comes in. Jeep ended up having to remove the 9 bar grille when Ford patented it.

Some hearsay was that Jeep had 7 bars to signify the 7 continents, being the first vehicle across all continents. Others have said it was related to the 7 wonders of the world.

There doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer out there. One might hazard a guess that it’s linked to production costs and not being allowed to have the original 9. Uneven numbers usually add interest to a design.

Marsha Devine, an educator/artist at AIP Online Division, says “Odd numbers add interest Two elements divide the composition An odd number, such as three, is more interesting” 2.