Space-Age Polymers and Advanced Technology Makes for Instant Fun – Just Add Water!!!

I believe that it is written, somewhere deep within the yellowed pages of an old Jeep owner’s manual, that you have not officially achieved full-fledged Jeep ownership status until you have been baptized into the Jeep church. Don’t get me wrong…despite the name this isn’t a religious ceremony of any sort. It doesn’t require a priest and is not likely to be followed by a reception, complete with little finger sandwiches, fruit punch or a cake. This ‘baptism’ is one of deep water, of pouring rain and probably of mud. Sure, it tends to be a messy ordeal but it always washes off and things dry out long before the memory ever fades.

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I can’t even recall the first time it happened to me, or begin to count the number of times that followed. What I can easily recall is that some of the best times I’ve had in my Jeep have been when things are NOT going the way they should. I could go as far as to say, with reasonable certainty that I’ve been set up. Jeep made plenty of allowances in their design to allow for the unexpected and undesirable to happen. The roof is configured to come off the vehicle entirely, as well as the doors, which both seem pretty suspect to me. There are even plugs in the floor that, when removed, allow for water to drain out of the cab, although the diameter of the drain holes are much too small to keep up with the water flow demand so your ankles will usually remain completely submerged in a heavy downpour. It’s like Jeep knew what kind of trouble Jeep owners were likely to get into and they wanted to make sure we were equipped to handle it and make a full recovery.

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My first ‘baptism’ was innocent enough. It was a sunny spring morning in Georgia and I opted to give my daily driver wheels the day off, choosing to enjoy a sun-soaked trek in to the office in the Jeep. The fresh aroma of budding trees triggered by winters end, accompanied by soft, cool breezes was just the right way in which to start your day and an even better way to end it. Mother nature, however, was hard at work in the background, enacting plans to make sure those blossoming trees had ample water- a plan she would put into full action about the time I began my homeward jaunt. As a steady stream of water trickled from my interior rearview mirror, as though a water faucet had been left on, it occurred to me that a bikini top was probably a well-chosen name for a product that basically guarantees that you are going to get wet. My thoughts then shifted to relative gravity of the situation that unfolded around me as my vehicles entire interior electrical system was being exposed to the one element of nature that it has the least in common with. All these years I spent avoiding the urge to use the hair dryer while lying in the bathtub were all for naught, as I was most certainly about to perish in a freak electrical fire.

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The most redeeming part of the Jeep baptism is probably the impression it makes on those around you that get to witness the event. The look of complete and total pity expressed on the faces of onlookers as they watch you brave the torrential floods must be seen to be believed. A look that could only be outdone by the shock and dismay that their faces would reveal, if they only knew that you were having a blast! I recall on one occasion a fellow in a black luxury sport sedan who pulled up next to me in one such monsoon, partially rolled down his window and made a verbal gesture of his compassion for my plight. “Bad day to own a Jeep! Ain’t it?” he said, to which I replied “No… Thursdays are as good as any day.”

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Of course, there is a flip-side to that coin. Every rose has its thorns; or at least that is the rumor I’ve heard relayed in a song. When it comes to having fun while in a Jeep, water is clearly the magical multiplier. Whether it’s a wide water crossing that runs up to your rocker panels, skirting a majestic waterfall on an isolated backwoods trail or adding equal sums of dirt and water together to make mud- the end result is always the same. Everything you do in a Jeep is “funner” when you add water, but be careful. When you are out wheeling and you add water, things can get really slick really fast! While I don’t mind an occasional struggle for traction, if your adventure has you on any sort of an incline, you will soon be unwillingly finding the shortest route down the mountain; bouncing off anything and everything that is in your path. While this still makes for vast amounts of fun, for those who value pretty painted sheet metal, this can be a real downer. For those Jeepers who are still sending the bank a monthly payment, it’s a downright unacceptable activity to use your Jeep to clear-cut forest land. For that reason, splashing through puddles is the recommended watersport until you have title in hand (with the top off, of course).

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So if you’re out in your topless Jeep and the dark clouds seem to conspire to rain on your parade, don’t despair. It’s just part of your baptism. Sit back, breathe in the air and enjoy it. Most importantly, try not to look too crazy. It’s a Jeep Thing! OlllllllO

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“Two Great Tastes That Go Great Together…”

1One of the easiest tasks in the world of marketing is to take two separate components that are equally endearing on their own merits and put them together to create something new that everyone is sure to adore. Case in point is an old commercial from a time gone by when colors were a lot less vivid and collars had a wingspan; in a place where two hip cats are walking along the sidewalks of Anytown, USA, each with their own special eating disorder. Our male specimen is indulging himself in the luscious goodness of a milk chocolate candy bar; and who can blame him. While the attractive but slightly more perturbing female is gorging herself on the gooey contents of an entire jar of peanut butter. While I, myself, do actually enjoy a healthy dose of peanut butter from time to time, I can’t even comprehend what mental instabilities might cause someone to feel that consuming an entire jar of Skippy while in public view is even remotely acceptable. Whether due to their obvious personal afflictions or their headphones masking their surroundings, the cute couple collide in a calamity that had us all licking our collective chops. Clearly, the folks at Reese have had little trouble convincing viewers that combining two such goodies into one delightful consumable cup is a no-brainer and guaranteed to please anyone who finds themselves a fan of either part of the tasty equation.

Winning combinations don’t even have to be the product of calculated marketing. Take, for example, ham & cheese sandwiches or turkey & dressing. Sometimes the chemistry between two individual things is so undeniable that they virtually become paired more predominantly than they appear separately.

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In 1970, while American Motors was looking to assume the Jeep product line from Kaiser-Jeep, designers made such a calculated conglomeration in hopes that America would be dazzled by the possibility of blending the vastly-popular muscle car with the off-road sensibilities of the prized short wheelbase CJ5. A medley that may have proved to be more a potential inspiration for the upcoming AMC Pacer than the newest automotive talk-of –the-town they had hoped for. While most concept cars aim to deliver something to the consumer that is highly desirable yet currently less than common, the Jeep XJ-001 seemed to strike a chord of confusion in the potential marketplace. Since there is nothing inherently wrong with any of these individual pieces, the sum of their parts must certainly be above reproach, or at least in this case, just beyond our scope of comprehension. Exactly what is it that we should do with this really fast, really short car with no roof or doors that has limited agility and handles pretty poorly? Nothing pleasurable seems to come to mind…

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The Jeep XJ001 was clearly by appearance built on the CJ’s tiny 81-inch wheelbase but that’s where the similarities seemed to cease. Even the swooping door openings look more akin to a carnival bumper car than any Jeep of memory. When the new Jeep prototype was revealed at the New York Auto Show in July of 1970, the crowds seemed to eat it up, albeit in very small portions. Maybe not as ravenous a reception as though they were treated to a luscious peanut butter cup, but response was certainly deemed better than unfavorable, certainly in comparison to the other show floor spectacles of the day. Like the new Ford/Mercury Capri or the all-enthralling “Seat Belts Save Lives” display held in the lobby.

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While the prospective Jeep never really shied away from the sudden media spotlight, this new look was, in all honesty, completely unfamiliar digs. The XJ-001 was, in essence, a compilation of gawdy pinstriping, glossy paint, chrome wheels, glistening adornements and go-fast goodies wed with a stubby car-like body that seemed oddly disproportionate to the wheelbase. In all fairness to the concept car, the only way I can find acceptance of it is to completely remove it, at least in my mind, from the name ‘Jeep’ altogether- an undertaking that I find nearly impossible to accomplish given the comical wheelbase and the telltale ‘Jeep’ badging that graces the B-pillar. On second thought, if that was a B-pillar it would match the windshields elevation, which it doesn’t. This odd rooflike section is barely higher than the dash, making it more of a sport bar. But it’s height being considerably shorter than the bucket seats, makes it’s existence an even bigger mystery than the Pinto-inspired sloped rear deck opening that trails it; a visual borrowing that predates the Ford Pinto by a year.

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The Jeep XJ-001 must have been a feast for the eyes as spectators stood in dazed bewilderment at the styling quirks of this strange prototype. The CJ that had just received side marker lights a year or so prior, had now bore offspring bearing large trapezoidal chrome-bezeled lights on the front corners to offset the gills placed conspicuously on the front fenders. The giant air intake scoop on the hood hinted at what power lurks beneath. While Jeep CJs were treated to the customary civility of a 134 cubic inch engine and the occasional 6 cylinder powerplant, the XJ-001 had a surgically-implanted 360 cid V8 right out of one of AMC’s fabled tire shredders which seemed almost inappropriate. With a uniquely contoured dash that cascaded downward into a custom console that housed the ignition switch, 4 speed shifter and even the radio, the XJ-001 found ways to distinguish itself from the pack of Detroit’s latest iron. Different? Sure, but not necessarily desirable.

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Although the 1970 Jeep XJ-001 was a staple of the auto show circuit throughout the year, it never rooted any significant interest, certainly not enough to encourage the powers-that-be at AMC to procede with production.7 Unfortunately, the solitary XJ-001 prototype was lost to a fire when the car carrier that transported it overturned after an appearance at the Texas State Fair. With it’s body made primarily of fiberglass and plastic, there was very little reminder left of the peculiar protoype that had once been. It seems as though, at least for the time, Jeep was set to continue being simply a Jeep and the role of being a car would be left up to those better suited at pulling it off. The XJ-001 was in many ways a precursor to the hybrid cars of today, or cross-overs, as they are commonly referred to. Designs where multiple functions join to find one form. In the end, while the combination of two great things can be good, the greatness in the individuality of each is beyond compare. Jeep is undeniable proof of that. OlllllllO2106b4ca367891a36776fcdb10f2edd9

In Search of the Legendary Arctic Top

1Ever since I was a little kid, I have been fascinated with the unknown. If there was a TV show on about ghosts, the Loch Ness Monster or sasquatches, I was surely watching it! Sure, my sleeping habits were probably hampered as a result but I couldn’t help myself and at that age, sleeping was over-rated anyway. There was just something mysteriously captivating about such lore. I craved to view the evidence, however darkly lit or grainy it might appear, and then make a decision for myself. I wouldn’t even say that I was skeptical. Deep down I wanted to believe, I just wanted to see for myself. I remember the first time I saw the choppy 8mm video footage of what appears to be a Bigfoot walking across a partially open field that looked like it was in the process of being clear-cut. My heart skipped a beat! Heck, the creature even turned his head toward the camera mid-stride as if he knew he was being taped. I was convinced this thing was real, even if there had been an obvious zipper seam going up the front of the suit. I was a whole-hearted believer!

While hunting for Yetis in the Pacific Northwest and setting traps for the chupacabra have little, if anything, to do with Jeeps; there is an element of Jeeps colorful history that provides me the same sort of puzzling curiosity- the question of the first or original Jeep hardtop. While Jeep hardtops are as commonplace today as a traffic jam, this was not always the case. It’s a tall order to substantiate exactly when they came into existence.

I think it’s a fairly safe bet that a rigid, removable hard top was not anything that the factory concerned themselves with until the civilian Jeep, or CJ as they were known, had made its way to the farms and roadways of America. In fact, it’s not very easy to find any photographic evidence of a hard top mounted on an early model military Jeep at all, at least not one captured in black & white film as the period would dictate. And then you find one…

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Commonly, when you do find them, the tops depicted are obvious works of a craftsman skilled in some form of engineering outside the realm of the automobile. They are often contrived of wood, aluminum or some other building material pliable enough to be scabbed to a Jeep tub. They may have windows OR they may not. If so equipped, they will not likely be windows of a uniform size. I guess that’s why the picture above is so intriguing to me. It’s obviously a WWII-era Jeep and, based on the snow-covered banks in the background and the makeshift heat-capturing canopy covering the lap of the driver in the foreground, someone has made an exerted effort to devise a hardtop to keep the warm in and the cold out. And it looks like it belongs on the Jeep and not fitted with wheels and pulled behind your station wagon.

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By the late 1940’s and early 50’s, there were any number of companies that had ventured into the uncharted waters of Jeep hardtops and offered their wares to the civilian CJ drivers en mass. Sears & Roebuck, Koenig, Metro, Willys New England, Carson and JC Whitney, just to name a few and it’s fair to say that these companies were pretty good at what they did. Each had their own distinct designs and features and possessed an existence that can be well-documented through photos from the day. Again, largely captured in color film that would lead me to believe that they were existing comfortably in the 1950’s when color film had become affordable enough for common use. So, is it even possible to tell who may have been the first to craft and even manufacture hardtop for the Jeep?

In early 1946, surplus Jeeps that were left over from the war were treated to a custom “winterizing” by the construction of a crude sheet metal cab that was pop-riveted to the body tub as a means of separating the Jeeps driver from the harsh winter elements. The work was performed by Japanese citizens at the Showa Army Air Base in Japan under the watchful eye of U.S. military personnel using leftover airplane materials and a calloused disregard for aerodynamics. While this could possibly be the first documented hard top for a Jeep, it is certainly not of the “removable” variety and, by way of its semi-permanent method of install, is more likely a necessity than an accessory that can be removed at will like we are accustomed to today.

Photo Credit: Historic Images

Photo Credit: Historic Images

7So, despite the really cool black & white pictures of the Jeeps with suspected early prototype hard tops, I would have to concede that the first actual removable hard top could probably be credited to an aftermarket company and offered for sale only pages away from grandma’s girdle and pop’s thermal underwear. However disappointing that might seem, I’m gonna keep my chin up and keep looking until I know the truth. Besides, I’m pretty sure I saw a sasquatch cresting the snowy bank in the background behind one of those Jeeps. OlllllllO2106b4ca367891a36776fcdb10f2edd9

Seeking Treatment for Horrible Misconception Syndrome

1If I were to tell you that one of the most prolific characters to ever grace Beverly Hills own Rodeo Drive (pronounced Ro-day-o) is a dyed-in-the-wool Jeep guy, you’d have to admit that a pretty shameful picture would most likely pop into your head. No different than if I said a bunch of preppies were piling into a Jeep for a cruise down the beach….POP!!! Same picture, Right? Fret not for you are not alone. Personally, I instantly conjured images of madras plaid shirts in uncomfortable hues of pink and blue, flipped collars and pastel sweaters tired about the necks of docksider-wearing pretty boys. It’s worse than you thought and it’s called Horrible Misconception Syndrome, or HMS. Being diagnosed with HMS will not qualify you for any special parking spots or even a classy license plate for your car, mostly because this particular syndrome is largely just in your head. While we can tell you very assuredly that no cure for HMS is on the horizon, there is a treatment available and we can initiate your first dose immediately without an office visit or any sizeable insurance copay.

We’ll start by assessing that troublesome picture in your head. Sure, those are “preppies” and are certainly the visual fare that you might see scurrying in and out of boutiques in a flashy Southern California locale but that does not make the image right, nor is it necessarily accurate. Because the preppy icon that I am referencing is none other than fashion designer Ralph Lauren, and his long-standing affection for the Jeep. Lauren, known in large part for his trademark pullover sport shirts known simply as the Polo, has built a considerable fashion empire, first focusing on neckties before broadening his specialty to the now classic sport shirt. A shirt that, since its inception in the early 70’s, has grown into a mainstay of preppy wardrobes across our great land; one that has accomplished what very few products ever have by reaching the uncommon status of becoming a proprietary eponym.

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In case you are now asking yourself, “The shirt became a what?” A proprietary eponym is when a name brand product becomes so widely acknowledged that the name brand becomes the generic title for the product. Like XEROX once had become the accepted term for making a photocopy, back in the olden days when people knew what a photocopy was and had need to make one. Or any soft drink might be referred to as a Coke, even when it is actually the cheap fizzless store brand your mom would buy just to save a nickel and see if you were paying attention. We all clean our ears with Q-Tips and we doctor our painful Xerox paper cuts with Band-Aids just so we can show everyone our new Polos and Dockers on business casual Fridays. We are a society that lacks for very little- a truth that causes me to ponder why a man of considerable wealth and means would choose to drive a Jeep.

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And let’s be honest- we’re not talking about brand new fancy Jeeps either. We’re talking older Jeeps with piles of miles on them. Imperfect ones that creak and grind, ones that have weathered paint jobs and are far short of comfortable, by most reports. Lauren is, afterall, a professing car guy. His own personal car collection exceeds 70 cars and has everything from classic Bugattis and Bentleys to vintage Ferraris and Porsches; cars that cost more to have appraised than most Jeeps costs to purchase. I think the reasoning behind Ralph Laurens love for the Jeep became clear to me when I viewed a video of Lauren, from a few years back, at his ranch outside of Telluride, Colorado.

He had invited long-time admirer Oprah Winfrey out to his estate to do an interview, a practice that was notably uncommon for Lauren. As Oprah climbed awkwardly into the passenger side of Ralphs decrepit old 1948 Willys, it seemed almost comical that such a wealthy individual would be caught tooling around in such a “heap”. Winfrey, who is most likely not used to riding in the front seat of any cars these days or in close proximity to the hired help, seemed to be brimming with glee to be able to ride around in such a jalopy. It then occurred to me that Ralph Lauren has a long list of ultra-expensive and rare collector cars only because he truly loves them. He has his old Jeeps and chooses to keep them close by and drive them because they represent who he really is. Hard-working, dependable, imperfect, adventurous, versatile, fun-loving and gravely consistent – all character traits that, although seldom instilled at birth, can only be perfected over time.

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One of Ralph’s other Jeeps, a’76 CJ-5 that he purchased new, was so much a part of the Lauren family that his three children tie many of their childhood memories to times spent in that old Jeep. From cruising the beaches with the windshield folded down, riding to drive-in movies and even pulling the kids around on their snow sleds on the family’s property were all cherished recollections of time spent together as a family that centered strongly around that old CJ-5.

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When time and age caught up to the old CJ, the paint was faded and the interior tattered, Ralph was not one to put the old dog out to pasture, as is common practice today; rather choosing to have the old Jeep restored. Rusty panels were removed and new sheet metal was welded in place. Mechanical parts that had been worn over time were meticulously replaced with new ones; breathing a whole new breath of life into this sixth member of the Lauren family. Ralph even requested that the Jeeps paint be purposely applied to result in a less-than-showroom appearance. Ralph didn’t long for another shiny, glossy show car. He already had plenty of those and he knew well the purpose that would serve. This Jeep meant far more to him than just something to simply look at. This Jeep was going to be lived in, driven hard, exposed to unexpected rainstorms, sandy feet and ice cream cones. This Jeep was more a member of the family than just a simple mode of transport.6

Anyone that already has a Jeep knows exactly what elements exist in his old Jeeps that Ralph Lauren is so endeared to and anyone who doesn’t own a Jeep owes it to themselves to experience it firsthand. You simply don’t have to be a millionaire to have the finer things in life. You only have to be able to recognize them when you see them, cherish them as though they hold great value and take care of them like they’re yours alone. In doing so, you can avoid the misconception that a Jeep is only a vehicle and come to experience and appreciate the Jeep way of life. OlllllllO

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

Rugged Ridge adds new XHD Stinger Guard for XHD Bumper-Equipped 1976-2016 Jeep CJ/YJ/TJ and JK

New XHD Stinger Guard Gives the XHD Steel Front Bumper an Aggressive and Cutting Edge Look

Rugged Ridge, industry leading manufacturer of high-quality Jeep®, truck and off-road accessories, today announced the addition of the new XHD Stinger Guard as an addition to the popular XHD Steel Front Bumper series, which is currently available for 1976-2016 Jeep CJ/YJ/TJ and JK models.

Rugged Ridge's new XHD Stinger Guard combines aggressive off-road styling with an increased level of protection for the grill and radiator, whether on the trail or the highway. Photo Credit: Rugged Ridg

Rugged Ridge’s new XHD Stinger Guard combines aggressive off-road styling with an increased level of protection for the grill and radiator, whether on the trail or the highway.
Photo Credit: Rugged Ridg

The Rugged Ridge XHD Stinger Guard is a one-piece design constructed of a high-strength stamped steel plate that is contoured to match the dimensions of the XHD Stinger (11540.13) and then finished in a tough, trail-ready black textured powder coat for durability and rugged aesthetics. The center area if the XHD Stinger Guard is vented to provide better airflow to the grille and radiator while still providing increased protection hazards on and off-road.

Since the Rugged Ridge XHD Stinger Guard is designed specifically for the Rugged Ridge XHD Stinger, installation is simple with only minimal drilling required and all mounting hardware and instructions included. The XHD Stinger Guard will allow for full use of the XHD Stinger Winch Hook Holder when properly installed, preserving all of its functionality, but with a new and integrated look.

The Rugged Ridge XHD Stinger Guard is backed by Rugged Ridge’s five-year-limited warranty and is available online and through select Jeep® and off-road parts and accessories retailers nationwide with a starting MSRP of $95.99.

For more information about the XHD Stinger Guard, 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 the company’s website at www.RuggedRidge.com.

Part Number Desciption Price
11540.29 Stinger Guard, XHD $95.99

So…..What Are You In For???

It’s a phrase that instantly sparks uncomfortable images of an awkward, blundering conversation between two prison inmates where one answers “Tax evasion, How ’bout you?”. That is, thankfully, not the nature of this particular question. Many of us are serving a ‘life sentence’, of sorts, for something we’ve done. At what point in your life did you first see a Jeep and tell yourself “Geez…that is cool! I gotta have one of those!”?

1For some, it may have been watching afternoon episodes of “The Dukes of Hazard” and seeing the bodacious Daisy Duke wheeling around in her classic ’80 CJ-7 Golden Eagle. I can definitely see the attraction this likely presented for some but I was slightly more preoccupied, as a 12 year old boy, with that ridiculous ’69 Charger to even notice Daisy Duke (that didn’t keep me from having a poster on my wall with her laying across the CJ’s hood a few years later) but that orange jump-happy hotrod with an air horn that plays the opening notes to “I Wish I Was in Dixie” was what totally had me captivated…not enough to seek to own a ‘General Lee’ car myself but enough to think it was pretty darn cool. Decades later, it still is just as cool. Did you ever wonder why the horn didn’t play “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”? Probably not.

2For some younger Jeepers, it may have been seeing the two-tone YJ Wranglers that adorned the big screen in the 90’s blockbuster Jurassic Park. I remember thinking that the gaudy red 5-star alloy wheels were perfectly suited for transporting tourists around an amusement park while it was also clear to me that the Renegade lower body cladding was certainly going to become a casualty the first time the vehicle tries to drive over an immobilized raptor. There was absolutely something captivating about that sand beige and red paint scheme and Sahara interior that led to a surge in popularity for the otherwise less-than-lovable Wrangler YJ. Truth is I was hooked on Jeeps well before Jurassic Park movie directors even started shooting.

3For me, I was hooked on the concept of driving a Jeep and eventually owning one when I was exposed, as a kid, to a late 60’s television action-drama entitled “The Rat Patrol” {In Color} (That was a pretty cool little disclaimer thing that was common to a specific time period where a majority of the programs viewers didn’t necessarily have color TV sets so you knew right up front that you were missing out on something and your parents were gonna hear about it). This program was the stuff of my boyhood dreams! Four allied soldiers, who cruised around the desert in highly modified Jeeps complete with rear-mounted belt-fed machine guns, fighting German troops who were much better-equipped for combat, having armored vehicles and tanks at their disposal. It didn’t matter. The Rat Patrol has two, count them, TWO Jeeps and they drove them like they stole them, often launching them over the crest of sand dunes at full speed, causing the man who had the unenviable task of manning the machine gun in the back to become airborne and likely knock his canine teeth through his forehead on his return to the ground. Every one of the four primary characters wore really cool and distinctive hats to match their personality and, did I mention, they had Jeeps? That did it for me!

Regardless of what may have inspired you to long for a little piece of the Jeep lifestyle, or whether it’s a longing you have yet to fulfill, one thing is certain. The impression that Jeep has made on many of our lives is unmistakable and only gets bolder with time.

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September 2016 Monthly Update

C3 Cargo Cover

A versatile Jeep deserves versatile accessories. Keeping you on-the-go with ease, rear Configurable Cargo Cover (C3) offers complete protection for the rear cargo area of your Jeep keeping your interior pristine throughout your daily use by protecting your carpet and plastic trim from damage, scratches, pet claws, dirt, and other debris. This custom made and functional accessory also allows for a pet friendly space for your pet to rest during long off-road trips.

Part Numbers Description Price
13260.03 C3 Cargo Cover, 2-Door W/O Subwoofer, 07-16, 15-16 w/subwoofer Jeep® Wrangler JK $159.99
13260.04 C3 Cargo Cover, 2-Door w/Subwoofer, 07-14 Jeep® Wrangler JK $159.99

C2 Cargo Curtain

Designed to work with the C3 Cargo Cover, the Cargo Curtain provides full top to bottom separation between the seats and the cargo area. Heavy Duty ballistic weave construction is built to give you years of use while the innovative design allows for easy installation and removal. Comes with a handy storage bag to keep the curtain protected when not in use.

Part Numbers Description Price
13260.05 C2 Cargo Curtain, Behind Front Seat, 07-16 Jeep® Wrangler JK/JKU $89.99
13260.06 C2 Cargo Curtain,Behind Rear Seat, 07-16 Jeep® Wrangler Unlimited $89.99

Eclipse Cargo Barrier

The Eclipse Cargo Barrier is designed to allow open top enjoyment, all while providing protection to your rear seat passengers from harsh sunlight. Constructed of reinforced mesh with integrated bungee straps, this 3-piece barrier installs in minutes to your sport bar and tub rail for the ultimate convenience.

Part Numbers Description Price
13579.41 Eclipse Cargo Barrier, 07-16 Jeep® Wrangler JKU $79.99
13579.42 Eclipse Cargo Barrier, 07-16 Jeep® Wrangler JKU $79.99

RRC Side Armor Guard Plates

RRC Side Armor Step Plates are the perfect addition for your RRC Side Armor (11504.21). Constructed of tough stamped steel with a sturdy black textured powder coat finish, the Side Armor Step Plates give a solid platform to assist with vehicle entry that looks great and are engineered to last.

Part Numbers Description Price
11504.24 RRC Side Armor Guard Plates, 07-16 Jeep® Wrangler JK $69.99
11504.25 RRC Side Armor Guard Plates, 07-16 Jeep® Wrangler JKU $129.99

Power Cup

The Rugged Ridge Power Cup is the perfect electronic accessory for your Jeep®, or any vehicle for that matter! Now you can have adequate power ports at the close convenience of your cup holder. Great for powering your smartphones, GPS devices, DVD players or anything else your needs might demand! Equipped with two USB ports for your phone charging cables and two additional DC sockets for powering entertainment systems, GPS/navigation devices, etc.

Part Numbers Description Price
15101.03 Power Cup, 2 x USB + 2 x Accessory Ports, Universal $12.99

Ultimate Grab Handles

Use these easy to use Ultimate Grab Handles wherever you need them. Constructed of tough nylon webbing with a molded sure grip handle and now available in GREEN!

Part Numbers Description Price
13505.05 Ultimate Grab Handles, Green, 55-16 Jeep® CJ/Wrangler YJ/TJ/JK $24.99