Jeep designer Mark Allen is upset with the Wrangler grilleS

Wait, what exactly does he not like about it? Two things: that the grille on the current-gen JK no longer holds up the front sheet metal (that in fact "nibbles away at [his] Jeep soul a little bit"); and that the little 'Jeep' badge is there at all.

"It's become so iconic it upsets me we still feel compelled to put 'Jeep' on the front of a Wrangler. It's just not necessary," quoth Allen, the current head of design for the brand.

And really, he's right: the Jeep seven-slot grille is, in fact, probably the most iconic vehicle design element in the world, come to think of it. (Though I'd gladly like to see challenges to that statement in the comments.)

We dug into the History of the Seven-Slot Grille and came across some facts that may or may not surprise you, depending on how much of a Jeep aficionado you are—for example, that the slotted grille was actually designed by Ford, or that Wranglers have worn production grilles featuring anywhere between five and 13 slots.

Jeep designer Mark Allen is upset with the Wrangler grilleS

I mean, they're locked into seven slots specifically now – "The Wrangler crowd I fear a little bit—there'd be pitchforks and torches if we screwed it up," Allen says – but historically they're all over the place.

Which is why we've also got this gallery chronicling the Jeep grille's evolution. It's part of our ongoing Design Icons series at Autofocus, which in the past covered the BMW Hofmeister kink; the Corvette's taillights; the 300SL's gullwing doors; and the Porsche 911 silhouette.

Got any examples of other design icons (signature styling elements from the past that are still around today) we should cover? We're open to suggestions.