Not much that is truly groundbreaking in this world was created by committee.
Innovation simply doesn't work that way.
But in the automotive realm, we have one giant exception, and it is Jeep -- a vehicle forged in the crucible of war that grew into one of the world's most recognized brands, automotive or otherwise.
Jeep is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the brand this week. The birth of Jeep is a complicated story that is subject to many interpretations. But on July 16, 1941, Willys-Overland Motor Co., of Toledo, Ohio, received the first contract to produce the Willys MB for use by the American military.
A public celebration will follow next month, but this weekend, thousands of Fiat Chrysler workers in Toledo will gather for a private company picnic to commemorate the beginnings of the brand.
Jeep's early history is legendary. Its role in helping defeat the Axis powers during World War II is undeniable.
On the battlefield, the Jeep was fast, nimble and tough. It could handle nearly any terrain, and when it did get stuck, it was light enough for soldier to lift free. It towed anti-tank weapons that could be deployed quickly, and it could mount a machine gun for fighting infantry.
The Jeep also served as an ambulance on the battlefield. It forded rivers and traversed lakes, it came ashore on D-Day, and it carried the Allies all the way to Berlin and onto Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima and, eventually, onto the mainland shores of a defeated Japan.
But Jeep's postwar life has been a decadeslong trail of both rousing successes -- and abject failures.
One weak corporate owner after another failed, yet Jeep has soldiered on. Today, Jeep carries Fiat Chrysler Automobiles as the automaker struggles to compete with more powerful, profitable global competitors.