The Jeep Wrangler is one of America’s most well-known off-road vehicles, and it’s an icon thanks to its unique features like removable doors and a removable roof, extreme off-roading capabilities, and tough, rough-and-tumble image. Let’s take a look at a bit of history behind America’s favorite off-road vehicle now.
Meet The Jeep Wrangler – America’s Favorite Off-Roader
The Jeep Wrangler is a 4×4 SUV, designed specifically for the needs of off-roaders. With an aggressive design and a shortened wheelbase, it’s been built to climb over obstacles of just about any size, and has other features like skid plates to protect the oil pan and underbody essentials from damage when taking on tough obstacles like rocks, low vegetation, dust, and sand. The Wrangler is easily the most iconic Jeep model that’s still in production, thanks to a design that takes inspiration from the very earliest Willys Jeep models, first used by the American military.
The History Of The Jeep Wrangler
The Jeep Wrangler was first sold in 1987, and it was designed to imitate the famous Willys Jeep CJ (Civilian Jeep) models, such as the CJ-7, which were first introduced in the 1950s for civilian use. It was first introduced at the 1986 Chicago Auto Show, and was designed by American Motor Corporation (AMC), for Renault, the owner of Jeep before it was sold to Chrysler in 1987. It began selling well almost immediately, and underwent a major revision in 1997, and another in 2006. It’s still in production today, with the latest full redesign occurring in 2018, alongside the release of the Wrangler-based Jeep Gladiator pickup truck.
Innovation In Offroading: How The Wrangler Changed Over Time
Even when it was first introduced, the Jeep Wrangler was a king of the off-road trails, with advanced (for the time) technology specific to off-roading, such as a body-on-frame design, live rigid axles in both the front and back, front and rear leaf springs, and a short wheelbase designed to help clear obstacles like rocks when crawling off-road.
Over time, though, even more features and technology were introduced to the Wrangler. A few of the major features and changes introduced over the Jeep Wrangler’s production run include:
- Front and rear coil springs instead of leaf springs for better handling and performance
- Pentastar V6 engine for additional power and torque
- Electronically detachable sway bars
- Limited-slip differential
- Electronic Stability Program (ESP) to assist in handling on and off-road
- Power locks and windows
A Brief History Of Jeep Wrangler Models
In total, there have been four major Jeep Wrangler models since its introduction in 1987, as follows:
- YJ (1987-1995) – The Jeep Wrangler YJ first hit the market in 1987, and immediately made a splash with its unique design inspired by the Jeeps of yesteryear, and unique features like a folding soft-top, removable doors and windscreen, anti-roll bars and trackbar suspension links, and wide range of engine and transmission options.
- TJ (1997-2006) – The Jeep Wrangler TJ introduced the round headlights that are now synonymous with the Wrangler brand, and a host of new features, like an all-new coil spring suspension, a larger fuel tank, a 4-speed automatic transmission with overdrive, and a redesigned entertainment system. Notably, this is the last Jeep Wrangler to use AMC (American Motors) parts.
- JK (2006-2018) – The JK Wrangler is most notable for the introduction of the 4-door Wrangler Unlimited, which is now the most popular Wrangler model, by far, with more than 3/4 of all sales of JK Wranglers consisting of 4-door models.
- JL (2018-present) – The JL Wrangler is the newest model, and introduced a host of new features like a new, turbocharged inline-four engine, a 3.0 liter EcoDiesel, an all new roof system, aluminum body panels, and improved safety systems. This edition of the Jeep Wrangler was released alongside the all-new Jeep Gladiator pickup which, while not a Wrangler, shares many parts and components with this vehicle.
Each model of Wrangler is distinct, and has its own fans – but for a Wrangler owner, the best Jeep Wrangler is always the one that they’re driving!
The Jeep Wrangler In The News
The Jeep Wrangler is often noted as one of the cars with the highest resale value, and has been recognized by publications like Kelley Blue Book for this fact. More infamously, there is currently a lawsuit going on alleging that some Wranglers can develop a “death wobble,” violent shaking at highway speeds which make it dangerous to drive.
Celebrity Endorsements Of The Jeep Wrangler
Not all of the rich and famous driver supercars! In fact, many celebrities are big fans of the Jeep Wrangler. Tyrese Gibson owns a highly-modified Wrangler, and a few other famous folks who are big fans of Jeeps include Tim McGraw, Floyd Mayweather, Lebron James, David Beckham, Iman Shumpert, Kim Kardashian, and Beyonce & Jay-Z, just to name a few.
The Most Popular Jeep Wrangler Fan Groups
Jeep has some of the most dedicated fans in the world, and this is especially true when it comes to the iconic Jeep Wrangler. A few of the most popular Jeep Wrangler fan groups include Jeep Wrangler Forum and JLWranglersForum, and almost every state has a Jeep group, which you can find using a tool such as this club locator from Kaiser Willys Auto Supply – or by doing a bit of Googling! Anyone who owns a Jeep Wrangler or any other modern or classic Jeep vehicle will find plenty of people with whom they can share their passions.
The Jeep Wrangler: A New American Classic
Thanks to its unique design inspired by the Jeep vehicles used by the American military, its insane resale value, and powerful off-roading features – as well as plenty of creature comforts in later models – the Jeep Wrangler is a true icon of American culture, and Jeep’s best-selling model. We’re sure it will maintain this position for years to come, thanks to its lasting impact on the world of off-roading.