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A green 1945 Willys MB Jeep is shown parked near the ocean.

Five of the Most All-American Vehicles Ever Made

There’s no other industry in the world quite like the American auto industry. Much of the history, aesthetics, and culture of the 20th century throughout the world can be tied into what US car manufacturers did. From the establishment of major brands like Ford and GM to the creation of iconic cars like the Corvette and F-150, American car companies have been setting the trends that every other manufacturer follows as they try to keep up. And so, it’s only appropriate that some of the most remarkable vehicles to ever hit the road have also celebrated America and represented it beautifully.

For the record, I’m not just talking about someone’s truck that they painted a massive American flag onto the hood of, though that’s a fine celebration of patriotism too. I’m more interested in the vehicles—the models and special editions—that really speak to American culture and history in a way that many other vehicles don’t. Some of these are still around today, though a lot of them are older models that you won’t find at a new car lot any time soon. Let’s take a look at some of the most patriotic vehicles that have ever hit the road and that serve as the perfect examples of what the American auto industry is all about.

The Willys MB Jeep

I’d be a jerk to talk about patriotic and all-American vehicles without starting off with what I’d argue is the most patriotic vehicle in existence: the Willys MB Jeep. In general, Jeep is often viewed as the most patriotic brand overall, but that’s entirely due to the Willys MB and its legacy. As you may know, the Willys MB—the original Jeep—was developed as a project for the US Army after World War I and leading up to World War II. The Army wanted a vehicle that would be reliable, able to go just about anywhere, lightweight, and easy to repair in the field; the result was the Willys MB.

It would be a bit grandiose to say the Willys MB won World War II, but it definitely gave the Allies an advantage, particularly in Europe. The Jeep lived up to the goals that had been set out for it, and it became an absolute workhorse across battlefields and pretty much anywhere American forces showed up. Following WWII, American soldiers came home, and while they were certainly glad to return to US soil, they quickly found they missed their automotive companions. In response, the first mass-produced civilian Jeep or Jeep CJ hit the road in 1945, and it’s been an important part of American car culture ever since.

Ram Built to Serve Trucks

Ram, with its roots going back to Chrysler, is an integral part of the American auto industry since it’s a modern representation of the legendary “Big Three” companies that dominated the US auto market throughout much of the 20th century. Today, Ram remains one of the top contenders for the most popular truck maker in the US, representing its place as part of a modern big three with Chevy (the Silverado) and Ford (the F-150). And so, it only seems right that Ram has produced some of the most profoundly and respectfully patriotic trucks to ever hit the road.

The Ram Built to Serve special editions are trucks designed to celebrate the brave men and women who serve the American public and put their lives on the line for others. These models first got their start in 2019 with a series of trucks designed to honor veterans and soldiers who served in any of the five branches of the US military, with special colors for each branch and patriotic badging. Since then, the Built to Serve trucks have gone beyond only honoring military members; the current models honor first responders such as firefighters and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) professionals.

Dodge Stars & Stripes Editions

Not to be outdone by the patriotic displays of Ram, Dodge (a sibling, or perhaps cousin, brand owned by the same parent company) has also had its share of patriotic models and special editions over the years. In particular, the Stars & Stripes edition of the Dodge Charger and Challenger are both gorgeous vehicles with badging similar to what was found on the Built to Serve Ram trucks. Featuring a Satin Black and Silver accent stripe down the center, from front to back, and Satin Black American Flag decals, these models were available in high-performance editions, so they not only celebrated this country but also served as an amazing reminder of what American automotive engineering can achieve.

The Ford F-150

While the Ford F-150 might not have any inherent connection to patriotism or the American military, like the Jeep, it’s hard to argue that it’s anything other than a symbol for what this nation is all about. Ford is about as emblematic of American industry as any brand imaginable, and the F-150 is arguably the most iconic modern Ford model (the Mustang is right up there too, but I’d put the F-Series of trucks just ahead). For more than 40 years, the F-150 has been the bestselling truck in America, which speaks to how well it resonates with all of us on a deep level that goes beyond cool styling and powerful engines. From rugged 4×4 systems that are perfect for exploring this country’s vast wilderness to unsurpassed towing and payload capabilities designed for hardworking Americans, the F-150 is the quintessential American pickup.

The 1976 Cadillac Eldorado Bicentennial Edition

Sometimes, a vehicle becomes a patriotic emblem because it perfectly represents what America and the US auto industry are all about. Other times, a manufacturer sets out to make a car that celebrates this country—and sometimes, the two just sort of come together. As part of GM, Cadillac is an American icon when it comes to cars, and it’s been an important part of this country’s automotive history for more than a century. It seems only appropriate that Cadillac celebrated the 200th birthday of this nation with a special edition of the Eldorado.

The 1976 Cadillac Eldorado was expected to be the last convertible Cadillac model ever made, and it went out in style with a gorgeous Bicentennial Edition featuring a Cotillion White exterior with red and blue pinstripes and stunning white upholstery. Inside, you can find a red dashboard and carpet, but what really elevates the interior is subtle red piping on the white leather. Only 200 of these models were ever made, and the final one stayed with GM, so they’re quite rare but beautifully celebrate the bold design and remarkable legacy of this country and its auto industry.

What Vehicle Represents Your Sense of Patriotism?

To be fair, I’ve only scratched the surface of the kinds of cars and trucks that perfectly represent what America has to offer and that celebrates the incredible nation we live in. While I know I’m far from the only person who thinks about the original Jeep when it comes to patriotic vehicles; there are other models that represent America for other drivers. In many ways, this can be a deeply personal thing—the right time in a person’s life or an experience that signifies the full potential of this country can easily become connected to a certain vehicle, and those two concepts never become disentwined. That’s the remarkable thing about real, earnest patriotism; it doesn’t have to just be one thing or take one form. It’s a way to celebrate how people come together and stay together for generations in order to create something bigger and far more beautiful than any one of us could achieve on our own—what could be better than that?

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