Jeep- Redefining Luxury Since 1961. Wait…What?

If you stroll into a Jeep dealer nowadays, in 2017, and special order a Jeep, the sheer number of options and niceties you can choose from is nothing short of astounding. And that’s without any regard for the types of luxuries we, as a society, have grown accustomed to: navigation systems, keyless entry, plush leather upholstery, and the list goes on. We even possess the luxury of bypassing the actual trip to the dealership entirely in favor of ordering the Jeep of your dreams online and having it delivered right to your door as though it were a pizza pie. While the Jeep surely started its existence, some 75 years ago, as a purely utilitarian vehicle, at some time and place it must have turned the corner. That time was 1961 and the place was known as Tuxedo Park.


The Jeep Tuxedo Park was a trim level package that was made available on CJ5’s and a small number of CJ6 models, beginning in 1961 and continued on through 1969. Named after Tuxedo Park, a wealthy village in Orange County, NY, founded in 1885 by Pierre Lorillard IV, it was an area that was widely regarded as distinctly upper class and was one of the first gated communities in the US. The newly founded village was actually named a year later by millionaire resident James Potter, after the dinner jacket he acquired while visiting the estate of the Prince of Whales was brought home and worn publicly to such overwhelming popularity amongst the village residents. The choice to attach the Tuxedo Park name to the Jeep brand is not very well documented, but in Jeeps defense there is not any real indication that Lincoln ever drove a Town Car, or any Ford product, for that matter. So, while Jeeps had never had much in common with any type of formal dinner wear, the times….they were a changin’ and Jeep was prepared to rewrite the book.


The Tuxedo Park model was intended to transform the public’s image of the Universal Jeep from an exclusively work-oriented vehicle into one that was both sporty, fun-loving, and a bit classy; promising its owners the ability to take off to the beach or, just as easily, the mountains with the same level of competence and mobility the Jeep had become known for and follow it all up with lunch at the country club. Early advertising boasted of it being “the sportiest, most FUNctional car on the automotive scene”. Just over a decade earlier, the Willys-Overland Jeepster had filled a very similar role of a true passenger car with a sporty air with its 2-door phaeton / convertible. Since the Jeepsters early exit after three years of production, in 1950, a sizable gap had been left in the automakers lineup that needed to be filled if there was any hope of obtaining its share of markets outside of the small truck realm.


Tuxedo Park CJ models were outfitted with previously unavailable options that hoped to prove attractive to buyers, like chrome bumpers and exterior trim, chrome dash grab handle, column-shifted transmissions and luxurious new 60/40 split bench seating that was finished in lavish pleated British calf grain vinyl. Even the tops of the rear wheelhouses received pleated upholstery cushions across their top surfaces. The transfer case was a simplified model that allowed for shifting into four wheel drive with a single lever. Designers approved a palette of four glossy enamel exterior paint offerings intended to accent the chrome trim and capture the eye- Whitecap White, President Red, Parkway Green and Sierra Blue. The Tuxedo Park even wore ritzy wheel covers and whitewall tires, making it well-suited for a more glamorous existence. This new CJ was no longer going to be typecast as merely just a workhorse, now that America was seeing her as a real show pony.


The timing of the release of the CJ Tuxedo Park is remarkable in that, the model was not aptly suited to be passed off as a ‘sports car’ at many times outside of the years that it made such a claim. The Tuxedo was not fully recognized as its own model entity until 1964, when it was given the moniker ‘Tuxedo Park IV’. While the preceding models years trim level badging bore suffixes matching the model year, the ’64 models were given VIN designations of 8233 and 8422, with Tuxedo Parks allocated as CJ5A and CJ6A models respectively. The concept of a ‘sports car’ in America was not well established in the early 1960’s and was ultimately turned on its ear in 1964 with the release of the new Pontiac GTO, which most consider the advent of the muscle car. Suddenly a sports car or, more accurately, a sporty car inherently needed to be fast and somewhat nimble, both attributes that the Jeep was lacking in based on its small 134 cubic inch engine and higher center of gravity. Fortunately, Kaiser-Jeep bought the casting rights to the venerable Buick 225 cast iron block from GM in 1965 and the fabled Dauntless 225 was born. What the CJ Tuxedo Park lacked in corner-carving agility, it more than made up for in off-road ability and was now blessed with adequate engine power to get out of its own way.


As with most anything in the automotive world, the Jeep CJ Tuxedo Park eventually faded slowly into the background of the late 1960’s, as automakers began to shift their focus to matters of vehicle safety. The Tuxedo Park had managed to successfully introduce the world to a Jeep that wasn’t limited to pulling a plow or clearing a snow covered street; a Jeep that was fancy enough to adorn the silver screen in movies like ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” and “The Singing Nun” without viewers balking at what they had seen. In retrospect, the Tuxedo Park laid the groundwork for every Jeep that has followed it, including the modern Wrangler- a vehicle that is arguably one of the most sought after and highly-customizable vehicles in the world today. OlllllllO


Rugged Ridge introduces new Elite Fast Track Light Bar for 2007-2017 Jeep Wrangler JK/JKU

Modular Design Offers Versatility for Any Season or Off-Road Activity

Rugged Ridge®, a leading manufacturer of high-quality Jeep®, truck and off-road accessories, today introduced its new Elite Fast Track Modular Light Bar for 2007-2017 Jeep Wrangler JK and JKU models.

The new Rugged Ridge Modular Light Bar allows for numerous lighting and accessory configurations on 07-16 Jeep Wrangler JK models. Photo Credit: Rugged Ridge

The new Rugged Ridge Modular Light Bar allows for numerous lighting and accessory configurations on 07-16 Jeep Wrangler JK models.
Photo Credit: Rugged Ridge

This new Modular Light Bar for Jeep JK features the ability to arrange and configure lights, trail mirrors, camera mounts and accessories in countless arrangements, for ultimate versatility based on any Jeep owner’s exact needs. Both the vertical A-pillar sections of the light bar as well as the horizontal top bar are built from sturdy extruded aluminum and feature integrated channels that allow for mounting of various light and accessory brackets that can be reconfigured easily and repeatedly when the need arises.

The Elite Fast Track Modular Light Bar works with LED lights regardless of length – curved or straight – while the upper crossbar features an aerodynamic design to alleviate airflow turbulence that often results in unwanted soft top buffeting and whistling.

“We wanted to engineer a light bar that was uncompromising in that it allows Jeep enthusiasts to customize their vehicle to fit any specific need,” said Patrick Bennett, Product Development Manager at Omix-ADA / Rugged Ridge. “With the new Modular Light Bar, trail mirrors and action cams can be mounted in the warmer seasons, yet can easily be swapped for driving lights when the winter weather sets in. We like to think JK owners can have it all with Rugged Ridge’s new light bar.”

The Rugged Ridge Modular Light Bar makes no compromises in materials, using high-quality 6061 T6 aluminum for the A-pillar sections and upper crossbar, with steel mounting brackets and Grade 8 hardware for sound structural integrity. A durable textured black powder coat provides protection from corrosion and keeps the light bar looking new for years to come. The Rugged Ridge Modular Light Bar is backed by an industry-leading five-year limited warranty and is available online and from select Jeep and off-road retailers nationwide with a suggested MSRP of $439.99.

For more information about the Rugged Ridge Modular Light Bar and Rugged Ridge’s complete line of high-quality Jeep and off-road products, or to find an authorized retailer, please contact Rugged Ridge at 770-614-6101 or visit

Part Number Description MSRP
11232.05 Aluminum Windshield Light Bar, 07-16 Wrangler JK $439.99

5 Steps to Keeping Your Cool When Things Get HOT

1Every year, about this time, our vehicles undergo a transition of tremendous proportions. After braving several consecutive months of frigid temperatures, we now find ourselves basking in the cool pleasantness that Spring always brings. While this seasonal shift seems to provide us with a much needed period of repose, it’s important that we shift our focus to the relentless summer heat that surely lies in our not-too-distant future. Taking the proper steps to insure that your Jeep is ready to deal with the inevitable onset of grueling temperatures is crucial to surviving the summer season unscathed. Choose to ignore the obvious threat on the horizon and your rig may just make this summer one you will occupy your every thought, but not in a good way like a beach vacation or a hammock under a shade tree. Here are an even handful of easy pointers to help you get prepared for some primetime Jeepin’ weather:

  1. The most important element to keeping your vehicle running cool is….the cooling system! While this seems to be a bit of a ‘no-brainer’ statement, it bares being restated largely because the cooling system is often forgotten about unless the temp gauge tells you something is wrong or, worse yet, your radiator decides to evacuate the entire systems contents into a cloud of steam on the highway. Taking the time to drain the radiator and thoroughly flush the vehicles cooling system is a practice that should be observed religiously every 40,000 to 60,000 miles. If your vehicle is used heavily in off-road conditions, erring on the side of caution is definitely recommended.

    While performing this maintenance, take the time to clean the radiator and A/C condenser cores with a garden hose and a soft scrub brush to remove any buildup of dirt, bug shrapnel and debris that may have formed inside the fins. Any improvement in the amount of air flow through the core will help with heat transfer later. It’s also important to note that any vehicle equipped with an automatic transmission will likely have an internal transmission cooler built into the radiator assembly.Properly maintaining the tranny with the proper ATF fluid levels and a clean filter will result in a cooler running transmission and will lessen the cooling burdens for your radiator.

    After your system has been flushed out, make sure radiator is refilled to the manufacturers recommended capacity with a proper 50/50 mixture of coolant and distilled water to insure the best cooling performance. Never use only antifreeze/coolant or only water when you refill the system as they lack the stability to perform independently of each other in such a wide temperature range. Using tap water in the mixture is not advised as it is filled with minerals and contaminants that will calcify inside your engine and will undoubtedly damage your cooling system over time, causing inefficient operation and premature failure.


  2. Check the condition of your cooling system hoses for signs of wear and poor structural integrity. Be sure to check the entire length of the upper and lower radiator hose for cracks, abrasions or for noticeable swelling, as any of these could be a sign of a potential failure. It’s a good idea to squeeze the hose firmly in your hand while the engine is still warm. A hose that is in good physical condition will feel firm but never hard like a baseball bat. A hose that is in need of replacement will feel soft, spongy or like it is easily misshapen, particularly around bends in the hose. Any sign of these conditions should result in a replacement hose being installed before the need is escalated by a complete hose failure. Remember to perform the same sort of inspection on your vehicles heater hoses which are a smaller diameter and should enter the firewall in close proximity to each other on the passenger side of the engine.3
  3. Part of your cooling systems effectiveness can be determined by the condition of your engines drive belts. A V-groove or ribbed serpentine belt that has become worn or stretched due to age may not do a sufficient job of driving a mechanical fan which will reduce the amount of air that is pulled through the radiator. A visual inspection of the engines belts for signs of excessive wear, as well as an observation that the belt is under adequate tension, can aid in a properly operating cooling system Any drive belt that is in less than ideal condition should be replaced immediately and not expected to continue to perform miracles at 3,000 rotations per minute.4
  4. Mind your lubricants! Seeing as friction is as efficient at creating heat as it is at reducing efficiency, the task of reducing said friction can be a vital element to keeping a cool running engine. While utilizing a quality full synthetic oil will give you a more stable temperature range in the summer months, just making sure your engine is properly filled with good, clean motor oil that is properly filtered can make a noticeable difference in overall engine operating temperatures and can even help with your fuel economy. While you’re at it, a fresh air cleaner element can’t hurt and don’t forget to check the levels on transmissions, transfer cases and differentials, too! Less resistance makes your engines job of propelling you down the road a whole lot easier.5
  5. Lastly, check all your tires for proper air pressure levels as well as inspect the tread for any signs of improper tread wear. While a flat tire won’t make your engine overheat, changing a flat tire in July on the side of crowded highway is the farthest thing from keeping cool. Summer heat can push rubber tires to their limits so making sure that they are up to the task can keep you safe and out of harm’s way. Tire pressure should be checked, if at all possible, before your trip as tire pressures will increase as the tire heats up on even a short trip in warm weather. Therefore, an under-inflated tire that has been driven on for any period of time may appear to be properly inflated.

While these tips are far from being a comprehensive maintenance regiment, they represent a concise and simple plan that you can implement to help guard your Jeep from the hazards that a long, hot summer can pose. Whether it be a new radiator, radiator hoses or just a new bikini top to keep the sun off your head, Omix-ADA / Rugged Ridge has the replacement parts and must-have accessories you need to keep your Jeep dream alive. Check us out at and www.ruggedridge,com and we hope to see you out there rolling down the road and not parked on the side of it! OlllllllO65

Rugged Ridge expands line of Eclipse Sun Shades with new Cargo Barrier to include 2007-2016 Jeep Wrangler

A Simple, Effective Solution for Keeping Cargo Inside and Harsh Sunlight Outside

Rugged Ridge®, a leading manufacturer of high-quality Jeep®, truck and off-road accessories, today announced the expansion of its line of Eclipse Sunshades for 2007-
2016 Jeep Wrangler JK to include a Cargo Barrier for both two and four-door models.

Rugged Ridge’s Eclipse Cargo Barrier is designed with mesh and integrated bungee retaining cords to allow for an open-air feel while driving. Photo Credit: Rugged Ridge

Rugged Ridge’s Eclipse Cargo Barrier is designed with mesh and integrated bungee retaining cords to allow for an open-air feel while driving.
Photo Credit: Rugged Ridge

The new Rugged Ridge Cargo Barriers are designed to provide the feel of “open-air” driving while protecting the rear seat passengers from harsh sunlight and battering winds. It also serves as a barrier to prevent anything inside the Jeep from blowing out of the cab. Eclipse Cargo Barriers also offer a more secure option for any pets that accompany along for the ride.

Featuring a mesh construction with integrated bungee retaining cords, the Eclipse Cargo Barrier has three sections that install quickly and easily by securing to the sports bar tubing and tub rail. This allows for it to be installed or removed in minutes. The barrier can also be partially removed to gain access to the seating area, if necessary. Additionally, it can be left in place when a soft top is re-installed.

Rugged Ridge’s Eclipse Cargo Barriers are backed by an industry-leading five-year limited warranty and are available online and through select Jeep® and off-road part & accessories retailers nationwide with an MSRP starting at $106.99.

For more information about the Rear Cargo Barrier or Rugged Ridge’s complete line of high-quality Jeep and off-road products, or to find an authorized retailer, please contact Rugged Ridge at 770-614-6101 or visit

Part Number Description MSRP
13579.41 Eclipse Cargo Barrier; 07-16 Jeep Wrangler JK 2-door $111.99
13579.42 Eclipse Cargo Barrier; 07-16 Jeep Wrangler JKU 4-door $111.99

Celebrating the Bona Fide Grandfather of all Jeeps- The Bantam BRC 40

If you talk to any random gathering of Jeep enthusiasts, you won’t find many who can’t testify for the off-road icons military roots; the Jeep was born out of necessity when the need for a combat-capable personnel carrier became a clear calling to join the fight for freedom and defend our country. It’s no wonder that the Jeep has such a loyal following. It’s when you mention more unfamiliar subjects like the Ford GPW and Bantam BRC that things get a little blurry. What, exactly, is a Bantam BRC??


The American Bantam Car Company was originally founded in the very heart of small town America, Butler, Pennsylvania, in 1929 as the American Austin Car Company and was later reorganized in 1936 as part of a bankruptcy ordeal that was plaguing the small sports car manufacturer. Despite having a small-scale design and manufacturing facility, Bantam was able to create the original pattern on which all other Jeeps would be based. In fact, if it weren’t for their meager facilities and a financial portfolio that was still unstable from the ripples of the Great Depression, Bantam would likely be a household name to this day, in company with the likes of Ford Motor Company and Coca-Cola; but it was not to be for Bantam. Unable to fulfill the high production demands placed by the military, production based on the prototypes of the Willys-Overland MA and the Ford GPW were maximized while the Bantam BRC (Bantam Reconnaissance Car) that had managed to best incorporate the militaries requirements into its design, was relegated to the status of ‘non-standard’ after only 2605 total units were built. Despite having been one of only three companies to submit a prototype for military use and developing what was arguably the superior design, the Bantam company was reduced to manufacturing trailers for the military until it was overtaken by American Rolling Mills in the mid 50’s. Existing Bantams that were already built and in service were shipped off to our allies in Britain and Russia as part of the Lend-Lease Act to aid in the war efforts; with them, went a giant part of the heart of tiny Butler, PA.


To fully appreciate the Bantam BRC, it helps to identify the little things that make it different. Some of the Bantams most distinguishing features are its recessed headlights that are set down into the top of the front fenders and its ten rounded grille slats; traits that clearly separate it from its Ford & Willys counterparts. While the production version of the BRC did away with the rounded fenders of the original prototype in favor of a more squared off design; capable of serving as a make-shift seat for some lucky soldier. It also opted for a body tub that donned square corners at the rear which likely presented obstacles in terms of the ease of assembly.

On the interior, Bantam managed to use a seat structure that was drastically less crude than its associates utilized. With small side bolsters to support the back and modest overall proportions, a normal-sized man could find himself with a relative degree of stability while negotiating rough terrain in the BRC, unlike the ‘lawn chair on a tilt-a-whirl’ seat that the adorned the Willys MB. The BRC’s dash was decorated with stylish oval gauges that seemed almost elegant for the occasion. Also, a throttle that was hand-controlled with the pull of a knob on the dash and, for good measure, a button on the floorboard to engage the electric starter just to deter any enemy goons who might try and commandeer the vehicle. It is rumored that sixty-two of the BRC-40’s that were produced were outfitted with an innovative four-wheel steering system that gave the BRC unparalleled maneuverability and, when compounded by the vehicles short 79-inch wheelbase, was likely too much to handle at any speed over a crawl.

With such a storied past and rich history, it’s not surprising to find out that the folks of Butler, Pennsylvania are as enthusiastic about the mighty Bantam today as they have ever been…or maybe ‘enthusiastic’ is not a strong enough word. That is the driving force behind the Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival, a premier event that is held yearly to celebrate Butler, PA and its proud status as the birthplace of the first Jeep. In its seventh year of existence, this year’s event will be held June 9-11, 2017 and, as the event planners proudly proclaim “If you have a Jeep in your driveway, it needs to be here.” You can get all the details at their website at and make plans now to be there. You will likely have the opportunity to see at least one bona fide part of our country’s history in all of its divine olive-drab glory. Makes the beach seem kinda boring… OlllllllO


JEEP – The Ultimate Ultra-Sensory Experience

1One thing can be stated with a great amount of certainty – If you have driven a Jeep for any length of time in your lifetime; you are most likely aware of the constant impact this activity has on your five senses. Sure, there are the favorable ones like the SIGHTS you get the pleasure of experiencing. The beautifully colored light-soaked rides with the top off as the sun descends on the horizon or the gorgeous mountain views that you just couldn’t fully appreciate from any seat in your father’s Oldsmobile. Those images easiest to recall are the ones that are the most pleasing and make Jeep ownership the pleasure that it is.

The flip-side of that same coin are the sensory experiences that are largely less-pleasant. Like those that register with your sense of SMELL. The ever-present odor of oil burning off a hot manifold; something you would never have noticed if you had opted for a mode of transportation that features doors and maybe something that resembles a roof. The distinct scents that you are s2ubjected to when Spring is blossoming and the air is thick with a bouquet of budding fruit trees and the aroma of full-blown floral pollination. I cannot fail to mention that you simply have not lived life fully until you find yourself cruising along a beautiful stretch of countryside only to find out, the hard way, that Farmer Ed has chosen today to clean out the ‘ol chicken coops. The only thing you can do is try your best to guard your sense of taste. As tears well-up in the corners of your eyes, breathe it in! This is what owning a Jeep is all about and this is part of your initiation.

Most diehard Jeepers abide by a ceremonial calendar, of sorts, when it comes to exposing their sense of TOUCH to the elements. We celebrate the annual day when the doors and roof finally come off in favor of a summer top or, better yet, no top at all. Depending on where they reside, this ‘prime’ Jeeping season can vary greatly from as little as a few months to full year-round toplessness (I don’t think that’s a real word, but it should be!) Even with the best of planning, anyone who drives a Jeep is going to, at some time, brave what is known as “Jeepers Summer”- a phenomenon where you set out for a beautiful, warm day of open-air driving in the Jeep, with a giant smile smeared across your face, only to have the sun set on the tail end of your day of frolicking and you find yourself in the midst of what can only be described as unseasonably cold weather. When you’re in a Jeep, it doesn’t have to actually be freezing. When you are in T-shirts and short pants, even 50 degree temperatures will have your knees knocking together as you tremble in a sniffling, huddled mass tucked behind the windshield. Suddenly, controlling the radio knobs becomes a painful process as you fumble with your fingers, frozen & numb from the cold. Pulling the neck of your shirt up over your ears and breathing as hot air as you can conjure into your shirt is one recommended means of survival if you find yourself in such a predicament.


The greatest sensory experience you will likely ever endure is the relentless sonic pummeling that occurs to your sense of SOUND while driving a Jeep. While certainly not as true with a brand new hardtop JK, Jeep owners have become accustomed to an intense level of noise that would likely drive non-Jeepers to insanities brink. Wind noise, creaks, rattles and clunking noises that should cause concern for your vehicles road-worthiness are written off as normal and virtually tuned out by the Jeep owner. This often comes to light when you have someone ride with you that is not so accustomed to these unique character traits of a Jeep and they respond after a few short minutes with questions like “Do you hear that?” or, more likely, “What is that friggin’ noise??” It’s a Jeep thing and they wouldn’t understand. To try and explain it to them would just be added noise.


One side effect of driving a Jeep, that I’ve noticed, is how the concept of making or receiving a cellphone call while in your vehicle is swiftly and permanently discarded. You’re actually three times more likely to get 20 miles to the gallon on your next fill-up than you are to successfully complete a phone call in a doorless Jeep. Even with my soft top on, I would take an enormous dose of divine intervention for the phones ringtone to be heard, much less be able to carry on anything that resembles an actual conversation and I’m certainly not going to sense the miniscule vibrating of the phone over the reverberation from the whirring mud terrains. We’ll just leave the Bluetooth phone calls while driving to the mainstream masses. Besides….who wants to be talking, mouth wide open, when they pass the chicken coops anyway? OlllllllO



April 2017 Monthly Update

LED Brake Light Ring

Add a unique flare to your Jeep with our LED Brake Light Ring. It enhances visibility while your on the road while adding a cool factor with the torch-red LED’s. Designed to work with various rim diameters from 15 to 20-inches on Jeep CJ / YJ / TJ and JK models having either a 5 lug bolt patterns with 4.5, 5 or 5.5” spacing. Made with waterproof connectors to withstand the elements for consistent all-weather performance.

Part Number Description Price
11585.04 Accessory Brake Light LED Ring $93.99

Trek5 Aluminum Hub-Centric Wheel

Switch up the look of your 2014-2017 Jeep Renegade with our Trek5 Wheels. Made with aluminum alloy to be light weight and a one piece construction merge for a flawless design. The rims hub-centric design delivers a factory- quality tment that meets or exceeds all SAE J2530 standards for safety. (Includes center cap)

Part Number Description Price
15307.01 5 Spoke, Black, Aluminum Wheel, 14-17 Jeep Renegade BU $213.99

The Ford GPA “Seep” – A True ‘Go Anywhere, Do Anything’ Vehicle

“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right. “-Henry Ford

1When three American automakers answered the plea of the U.S. Motor Transport Board in July of 1941 to submit prototypes for a new military multi-purpose transport vehicle, little did Ford Motor Company know that they were soon to become reinforcement for the age-old adage that the reward for a job well done is always the opportunity to do more work. While Fords recent development of a quarter-ton prototype vehicle capable of meeting the Army’s stringent specifications AND complete it in just 49 days could have been considered nothing short of a mechanical miracle, the task that lay ahead for them seemed insurmountable- take all the things that made their Ford GP (Jeep) great and make it all work on water, as well as land.

2By late 1941, Jeeps were being produced in record numbers by both Ford Motor Co. as well as Willys-Overland in an attempt to keep up with the high demand that the ongoing war efforts dictated. Ford decided that they would use their original Jeep prototype, the Ford Pygmy, as the basis for the new water-going craft. The military wanted to have the new sea-worthy vehicles in service before the close of 1942 and Ford was truly in uncharted waters, not allowing for a surplus of time to develop an entirely new base concept to build off of. Ford contracted master yacht builders Sparkman & Stephens to focus their vast boat designing skills on the task of developing a hull that could be mated to the existing Jeeps chassis and thus allow the 2,000 pound GP to attain buoyancy or, better yet, full-fledged marine mobility. I can only imagine that the engineers assigned to this project must have sensed how overwhelming a task this really was. Although the Ford GP was originally held to a rigorous weigh standard, the sincere truth still remained. If the good Lord wanted elephants to swim, he would have given them a slimmer waistline and some fins.

By the time all of the weighty metal structures of the hull, bow and stern had taken shape and the components added to propel them, the curb weight of the new vessel had climbed upward to a massive 3,500 pounds, 4,300 when loaded. While there was little doubt that this new Ford GPA (The ‘A’ is for amphibious) would indeed float, there was very little advanced testing performed due to time constraints. This amphibious creation had largely given up the GP’s light weight and nimble mannerisms on land in trade for its newfound ability to walk on water, where it handled much like any other barge or tanker. Its immense weight caused it to ride very low in the water, a fact that proved to serve well in calm waters but when exposed to the choppy waters of the oceans surf, was a little less than confidence-inspiring. To help improve its rough water abilities, a surf shield was installed across the bow to reduce the amount of water that rolled over and into the cabin. In addition, the GPA’s 4-5 passenger carrying capacity was often compromised by a soldier in favor of remaining afloat and successfully reaching shore. The Ford GPA’s ocean-going ability was impressive enough that it was nicknamed the “Sea-Jeep”, or ‘Seep’ for short.


These shortcomings aside, the Ford GPA had literally been able to attain the unattainable, to transport its passengers across water OR land, safely and somewhat efficiently, and do so with a respectable level of excellence. Certainly, no boat had ever been able to do the same, nor had anyone ever bothered to ask one to. A total of roughly 12,774 units were built with production ceasing in June of 1943 leaving the dual duties of water & land conveyance to the formidable GMC DUKW, or ‘Duck’, for short. It’s believed that only a few hundred of the amphibious Jeeps still remain in existence today, one of which can be seen at the Omix-ADA Jeep Collection website at:


Jeeps Long-Lost, Peculiar, Cross-Dressing Uncle- The Jeep Surrey/ Gala

In the long history of automobilia, you won’t find many forms of transportation that provoke a more masculine imagery than the legendary Willys-Jeep. I have seen piles and piles of historical photographic evidence of Jeeps being used as mounting platforms for machine guns, rocket launchers and even a few that have been equipped with flame throwers, an option that could undoubtedly be credited with the total elimination of any and all traces of road rage, as we know it. In fact, some of the tamest photos you will find are the ones that show Jeeps merely traversing rugged terrain or carting battle-worn soldiers to and fro. Just the fact that the Jeeps driver is almost completely exposed and unprotected to his surroundings, however threatening or hostile, lends to support the fact that the Jeep is a no-frills method of transport that truly raised the bar of macho-ism for future military Humvees, what with all their roofs, doors and trinkets. You would be very safe to say that if ‘The Duke’, John Wayne himself, were still alive today, he would certainly and proudly be most at home behind the wheel of an old Jeep, without a doubt… but then you see ‘IT’ basking in all of its pastel glory.

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The Jeep Surrey/ Gala was introduced in 1959 and, possibly involuntarily, traded in its standard-issue 4-wheel drive and manly olive drab-dressing for an Easter egg palette of glossy acrylic paints, fringed dangling tassels and striped interiors that are reminiscent of gaudy 1950’s lawn furniture you might have found at a chic Hollywood country club. Such an exchange barely registers as appropriate for any Jeep that stood a chance of being seen in public. The fact that the Surrey was essentially neutered based on its complete lack of a transfer case and the inappropriate addition of a column-shifted transmission speaks to the intended purpose for which the Surrey was built- to serve as a resort car that could be economically driven by staff or rented out to guests at tropical island locales, a likely predecessor to today’s club cars and golf carts but with a blatantly flowery personality that seemed to defy its Willys / Jeep lineage.

The Jeep Surrey / Gala was essentially an exterior trim package for the two-wheel drive ‘59-‘64 DJ-3A Dispatcher which had already distinguished itself in the Jeep lineup as an invaluable light-duty workhorse, being used in a variety of capacities from postal and parcel delivery to serving as an all-purpose utility vehicle at airports and large manufacturing facilities. The DJ-3A was made available to consumers with multiple basic top variations to suit their projected function, with the hardtop and conventional canvas top being the most common. The addition of the Surrey Top, with its wide two-tone stripes and sassy fringed edge treatments, was the perfect complement to the distinct palette of paint hues offered on the Surrey- Tropical Rose, Cerulean Blue and Jade Tint Green which were all softened by a contrasting shade of white. Is it possible that these flamboyant colors were chosen to help discourage theft or, at a bare minimum, to keep the Surreys drivers from abusing their usage of the car. You can’t exactly sneak off the resort property in a car that looks like a go-go dancer without being noticed. Nonetheless, these purpose built cars were easily able to carry four passengers over a greater variety of roads and terrain, a real benefit over early golf carts that were limited to just two passengers and whose limited off-road ability was likely to leave resort guests stranded with little hope of recalling their vacation memories with fondness. The Surrey changed all that. With such flashy charisma, it wasn’t long before these two-wheel drive vibrantly colored dynamos were turning heads and making their mark. Resorts and parks were taking advantage of the Jeep Surrey on their properties worldwide and aggressively launched attractive advertising campaigns featuring the appeal of these odd little vehicles.

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

In their brief six year span of production, it’s estimated that 1,100 of the Surrey / Gala models were built which accounts for only about 13 percent of DJ-3A models total production between ’59 and ’64, making them very rare and desirable today to collectors and enthusiasts. The one & only King of Rock & Roll, Elvis Presley, even found the Surrey to be interesting enough that he added a ’60 model Surrey, in Tropical Rose to match his pink Cadillac, to his personal collection for use around his estate in the early sixties. Having achieved such a high level of celebrity, Elvis’ Surrey is still on display in the museum at Graceland to this day. The King had a lengthy and well-documented history with Jeeps, having driven them extensively during his stint in the U.S. Army as well as co-starring with them in several of his feature films. It was only natural that he would want one for his own. He wasn’t about to be scared off by the Surreys fancy fringes or bold floral colors. He subsequently seemed more than happy to appear in skin-tight pant suits and glamorous sequins. Afterall, he wasn’t exactly ‘The Duke’. OlllllllO

Photo Credit: Barret Jackson

Photo Credit: Barret Jackson


Rugged Ridge adds new Dual Battery Tray for 2012-2016 Jeep Wrangler JK/JKU models

Dual Battery Tray Allows for Increased Amperage Capacity for Off-Road Capability

Rugged Ridge®, an industry leading manufacturer of high-quality Jeep®, truck and off-road accessories, today announced the addition of a new Dual Battery Tray Kit for 2012-2016 Jeep Wrangler JK models equipped with the 3.6 liter engine.

Rugged Ridge’s new Dual Battery Tray for ’12-’16 Jeep JK is designed to allow for a second battery, essentially doubling the overall power capacity. Photo Credit: Rugged Ridge

Rugged Ridge’s new Dual Battery Tray for ’12-’16 Jeep JK is designed to allow for a second battery, essentially doubling the overall power capacity.
Photo Credit: Rugged Ridge

Rugged Ridge’s new Dual Battery Tray provides the ability to support a second on-board battery for double the power capacity of stock power source, allowing the vehicle to have the kind of amperage needed to power off-road lights, a recovery winch and stereo equipment while not starving the vehicle’s electronics of the current crucial for proper operation. Most importantly, a back-up battery to support vital engine starts in dire situations is always ready and waiting.

The Rugged Ridge Dual Battery Tray is designed specifically for 2012-2016 Jeep Wrangler JK models, ensuring a proper fit. The tray itself is constructed of heavy gauge steel for strength and durability, finished in a gloss black powder coat and includes battery-retaining straps and necessary mounting hardware. The Dual Battery Tray for 2012-2016 JK is recommended to be used in unison with the Rugged Ridge Dual Battery Relay Kit (17265.01) for optimal performance, which allows for proper charging and isolation of the second battery during normal operation.

The Rugged Ridge Dual Battery Tray for 2012-2016 Jeep Wrangler JK models is backed by Rugged Ridge’s industry-leading five-year limited warranty and will be available online and through select Jeep and off- road parts and accessories retailers, with a suggested MSRP of $144.99.

For more information about the Dual Battery Tray, or Rugged Ridge’s complete line of high-quality Jeep and off-road products, or to find an authorized retailer, please contact Rugged Ridge at 770-614-6101 or visit

Part Number Description MSRP
11214.54 Dual Battery Tray; ’12-’16 Wrangler JK/JKU, 3.6 L $144.99