In their latest issue, Collectible Automobile magazine, normally known for its exhaustive, well-illustrated profiles of classic cars and its balanced approach to brands, has exposed the design inspiration for the 2014 Jeep Cherokee: the 1955 La Salle II roadster.
While La Salle was a General Motors brand, many of the design elements of the Jeep Cherokee appear on this beautifully restored roadster, as long as one flips it upside-down. Then the running lights appear above the headlights, the Jeep slots in the grille extend to the hood (they are chrome-ringed in both cases), and the headlights have brows just like those of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee. The “character line” of the La Salle is done in chrome and does not reach all the way across, but both have similar character lines between the headlights and crossing mid-grille. The lack of three rows of lights on LaSalle can be attributed to its lack of fog lights, a rarity in the 1950s.
If true, this link might indicate a future Cherokee roadster, perhaps to be named Jeepster, which would supplement the supply-constrained Wrangler as a “go-anywhere” convertible.
Note: This post is not to be taken seriously, but Collectible Automobile is. A high quality magazine which features fine photography and well-researched articles, Collectible Automobile has fairly pricey subscription rates, but usually has at least one Mopar vehicle per issue — the June 2013 issue featuring Chrysler’s quest for luxury in Australia, written by regional expert Gavin Farmer, who had access to many Chrysler Australia executives; it also had a spread on the first of the “second generation” Road Runners.