Today's Jeeps are far removed from the pioneering little military trucks that symbolized America's can-do attitude in World War II.
But that doesn't keep Jeep from tapping the brand's wartime roots periodically for some modern marketing firepower.
In its latest effort, Jeep is sponsoring an exhibition at military air shows of a vintage B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber.
The 60-year-old airplane will appear alongside new Jeeps at the five shows on the tour.
The plane also will be part of the Camp Jeep program, an annual getaway for Jeep enthusiasts. This year's Camp Jeep is Aug. 12-14 in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.
Jeep estimates that more than 500,000 air show spectators will have the opportunity to "learn about the aviation legend, as well as the Jeep brand's rich military heritage."
Jeff Bell, Jeep's vice president of marketing, says the exhibit "complements the spirit of patriotism and American perseverance that the country's military air shows are famous for embodying."
The B-17 on display, called Hollywood Belle, saw no combat in World War II. It was a reserve aircraft. But it portrayed the far more famous Memphis Belle in a 1990 movie named for the plane.
The film offered a fictionalized account of the Memphis Belle's 25th and last bombing run over Germany in 1943. The plane and its crew then returned to the United States to train others and promote the war effort.
Later the Memphis Belle would languish in disrepair, first in Oklahoma and then at sites around Memphis, Tenn. One restoration was completed in 1987. Another one is under way.
The first stop for the Jeep-sponsored Hollywood Belle B-17 was the air show at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington, last month. The second was scheduled for McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey on June 3-5.
Subsequent stops are:
George P. Johnson Co., a marketing company in Auburn Hills, Mich., is managing the tour.
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