The Motorvillage exhibition on Jeep takes us on the way to America’s wide open spaces. A lightweight portrait of a vehicle between World War and Superheroes, standards of the 50’s culture and consumption and of today’s marketing development.
Jeep is a typically American product! But, first of all, it is a product of war, of World Wars. The idea of a cross-country vehicle for men and weapons transport forms during World War I. At the beginning of World War II, the American Army is willing to materialize this idea and selects 135 industrials for a call for tenders. Though the Bantam company designs the vehicle, the Willys Company receives the plans in July 1941 and starts producing the vehicle, soon supported by Ford.
At the end of the War, the production is turned towards a civilian use and Jeep becomes a brand. Many origins are given to the Jeep name: it could be the phonetic result of GP (General Purpose), or the slang expression for GI’s, or the reference to a comics character. This may be why the name is part of the legend, because there is a Jeep legend indeed, with its fanatics, its collectors, its dedicated websites and numerous regularly published books.
Similarly, the calling of Jeep is not linear either. Once a war vehicle, it became a farming tool in the 50’s, a car designed for adventure and the utmost today. The very brand has actually had a lot of different owners, such as Kaiser Jeep, American Motors, Renault, Chrysler. Is this why there is some vagueness in its advertisement signatures?
And yet, the brand’s selected codes and words are clearly to be seen today: adventure, legend, escape, extreme, freedom, exploits. All the themes of the “outdoors” American hero are used in connection with comics (the “XIII” books) and by-products in the Motorvillage exhibition dedicated to Jeep’s 70th anniversary.
On several floors in the Motorvillage space, you will be able to see ancient and new vehicles exhibited with their thematic “deco”, an artist’s stage settings, derivative displays.
While you get in one of these new Jeep models, your little boy will have fun doing a pilotless mini-tour or a little climb.
The Motorvillage space may be a little too small for this… but this is Paris, not the plains of America, right?
So, here is a light anniversary exhibition, playing with its clichés.
Exposition Jeep, 70 ans d’évasion et d’aventures
Till June, 23 2011
2 rond point des Champs-Elysées
The website of a fanatic, illustrating the beginning of Jeep’s History: