From the primary light 4-wheel-drive vehicle used by the US Army in World War II, the original Jeep vehicle is an inspiration of success for off-road vehicle make. The Wrangler or Jeep YJ is a direct predecessor of the Willy’s MB Jeeps and the Jeep CJ. One could say it is a fusion of the military and civilian vehicle in terms of functionality and look. Since its launch in 1986, each corresponding generation has a designation separating one from the other. But the typical make of the original Jeep embodies the Wrangler in all generations. A separate body and frame, a fold-flat windshield, rigid live axles on both front and rear, and the signature feature that can be driven without doors.
Bigger is Better
Under AMC, the new Jeep has been designed to be more suited and comfortable for on-road driving. The new design has a wider track with lesser ground clearance. A real Jeep enthusiast can tell what sets the original Jeep from the Wrangler just by looking at it.
Let’s start with the angle of the grille. The older models were flat and evens out with the front fender while the Wrangler grille angles out toward the top while continues to follow a straight line from the midway point to the bottom. In later models, this angle is more lowered upon reaching the bottom. The first generation Wrangler, the Jeep YJ is very similar in body to the CJ7, with only slight modifications except for the new grille. Two distinct looks only a Jeep aficionado can separate the the Jeep CJ from YJ.
Rectangular headlights and wiper blades resting on the windshields is also one of the notable changes. YJ Wrangler also offered variations in design with both the Islander and the Renegade that are distinguished by the colors they’re initially offered with. Islander were bright reds while Pacific blue comes in Sunset yellow, teal and white. Renegade was originally white, black or red, and later blue and bronze. The second generation Wrangler TJ removed both headlights and wiper blades with some added options.
Another noticeable change is the Anti-lock brakes and automatic transcription option. It also features a coil spring suspension. The 2004 TJ Wrangler Unlimited has comfort and convenience options not offered on other Wranglers. The Wrangler JK is a completely redesigned Jeep. This time its a four-door model, wider and an all-new platform. Engine, transmission and to a certain extent braking is computer controlled.
Among the Wrangler models, the Rubicon probably has the most star quality with its A-list exposure in Angelina Jolie’s movie Tomb Raider. In fact, this 2003 release model was named Rubicon Tomb Raider Edition with only 1,050 in production. The models produced were an exact match of the vehicle in the film from its exterior features such as aluminum wheels and Tomb Raider badging down to its interior. Even its bright silver color and unique accessories. Not surprisingly, the 2003 Tomb Raider Limited Edition Wrangler Rubicon has become one of the most highly collectible Jeeps of all time.
The Jeep will always be the icon when it comes to off-road capabilities. And with the Wrangler, being one of the few remaining four-wheel-drive vehicle, durability and strength is incomparable. It can easily go to places where no other four-wheel-drives have been through.