The remarkable past, significant present and ambitious future of Jeep will be represented by a special display of the world's best-known off-road vehicles at Le Mondial de L'Automobile 2000 in Paris this month.

An original 1944 Willys Jeep will provide the perfect image of the unmatched heritage of the Jeep® brand, while the Jeep Varsity concept will offer a glimpse of the exciting future direction for the world-renowned 4x4 manufacturer.

While for today's customers, the full range of highly-acclaimed Wrangler, Cherokee and Grand Cherokee models will be on show, along with a special edition version of the Cherokee that has been created to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the first ever Jeep.

It was in 1941 that production of the legendary Jeep started. That defining occasion in automotive history is not only celebrated at the Mondial by the display of an original utilitarian Willys Jeep, but also by the introduction of the commemorative edition Cherokee.

Combining a special mix of sport and luxury features, this special Cherokee delivers even greater value for money.

Based on the Jeep Cherokee Sport, the 60th Anniversary model combines distinctive new sparkle silver cast 'Icon' aluminium 16x7" wheels and P225/70R16 tyres with the sporting black bodyside mouldings and bumper end caps, body-colour grille, headlamp bezels and front and rear bumpers of the Sport model. The interior is enhanced with leather seats, which are powered and heated in the front, leather steering wheel and an overhead console. ABS anti-lock brakes are standard.

Available with a choice of the proven 4.0-litre 135 kW (181 bhp) six cylinder Powertech petrol engine mated to a four speed automatic transmission, or a 2.5-litre 85 kW (114 bhp) four cylinder turbo diesel engine with five speed manual transmission, the special edition Cherokee goes on sale in Europe this autumn.

The future vision for Jeep will be represented at the Paris Salon by the 'go-anywhere, do-anything' urban adventure Varsity concept.

This idea for a completely new category of vehicle blends the versatility of a five-door hatchback with a unique roofline and the Grand Cherokee's capability - making the Varsity sporty and powerful, yet still a true off-roader.

It is powered by a 3.5-litre, 300 horsepower, 255 lb ft. V-6 engine coupled to a four-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission and a shift-on-the-fly transfer case with full-time four-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive low-range modes. Custom independent front and rear suspension with coil-over-shock set-up and massive 19-inch wheels with P235/55R tyres provide the ride and handling expected from a sports sedan. Estimated performance figures include 0-100 km/h in 7.1 seconds and a top speed of 220 km/h.