We would like to present to Jeep enthusiasts a heartfelt wish for a very Merry Christmas and a safe & prosperous New Year in 2019. Celebrate the season with us by joining in our little sing-a-long that details some of the things that might be on your wish list…
I was fortunate enough to recently spend the better part of a week in the mountains of North Georgia with a group of journalists assembled from around the country. Our primary purpose was to get out and enjoy the backroads and wooded wilderness in a handful of Jeeps. And on this particular occasion the timing couldn’t have been better.
Folks with an advanced level of knowledge can advise you on the virtues of the yearly procession of fall that they call the autumnal equinox. In the south, the event is usually marked by cooler temperatures and a welcomed reprieve from an endless cycle of grass-cutting and yard watering.
The “first day of fall”, as we call it, signifies what I would have to say is my favorite time of year. Besides the cooler weather, fall is a time for the spectacle of golden hues that adorn the trees just before they shed their foliage entirely for the winter. It’s a time for brewing up some homemade chili and for high school football on a Friday night. Best of all, it’s a time for Jeeps.
This year, fall’s entrance has been marked by unusually warm temperatures. Certainly warmer than we are normally accustomed to in the south. But that doesn’t change the fact that fall is the perfect time to get out and enjoy your Jeep.
While I am a firm believer that Jeeps were meant to be driven without doors, I’m not usually one to set out for a drive without some sort of overhead cover. At the very least, a bikini top or sunshade to keep the scorching rays off of my head is how I’m prone to roll. However, once fall has made its entry, I find that running with no top at all is the ideal remedy for whatever ails you. Besides, you don’t need anything between you and the pageantry of changing leaves; not to mention those clear, starlit nights. But take the time to breathe it in…because in a few short weeks, winter will be here and such deep breaths will be much less enjoyable. And those Jeeps will be weighted down with doors and tops and heaters on full-blast. It is then that you will yearn for this day.
So get out there and enjoy your Jeep and all the beauty that autumn brings us. There is plenty to see and experience and the legendary Jeep is the perfect place for you to take it all in. OlllllllO
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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).
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
“Anyone who does anything to help a child in their life is a hero to me.” ― Fred Rogers
When it comes to turning wrenches on a Jeep, too many people would write it off as dirty, knuckle-busting work. While this conclusion is more than substantiated, it fully dismisses the larger truth that hard work, and in this case mechanical work, can be nothing short of good medicine.
In the foothills of southern Tennessee, there is an organization that really “gets it”. The Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer has made it their mission to not only erase the effects of childhood cancer but to optimize the quality of life for these kids as they experience the impact of diagnosis and as they brave the trials of their ongoing treatment. The Foundation has found a way to give these kids and their families a valuable tool with which to fight those daily battles- best of all, it’s a tool that already lies within them. They only need to learn how to access it and perfect it’s usage. In my opinion, what better subject with which to develop their craft than on a Jeep.
While the Jeep seemed a perfect blank canvas for Hatch’s Kids to practice their magic on, it’s not every day that a brand new Wrangler JKU lands in your lap either, at least not in the real world. Fortunately, the fine folks at the Mtn. View Auto Group see things a little bit differently. They jumped in and fired-up a brand-spanking new Wrangler, hopped on the freeway and dropped it on their doorstep…literally. It still had the paper floor mats in it. But not for long.
The Austin Hatcher Foundation’s goal was to transform this bone-stock JK into a modern interpretation of the classic Jeepster Commando, an early-70’s rarity that added popular muscle car styling to the time-honored CJ persona. Rugged Ridge donated pile upon pile of parts to accomplish this massive undertaking while Truck ‘N Trailers USA provided enough shop space, lift and tools to build a space shuttle. And to top it off, they’ll accomplish this task with manpower sourced from the families that they serve on a daily basis. Yes…they’re gonna build this beast with kids.
It was a brilliant plan whose full perfection would not be realized simply or quickly, but through a series of scheduled “Build Days”. Days that were carefully planned to insure success with a project checklist for all to see. A list detailing what needed to be accomplished that day and providing a visual reminder of the team’s successes as items are checked off. While these were likely some tough build days, they are not nearly as tough as the kids who’ve fearlessly tackled them and found ways to laugh and smile through the entire process.
And now, with all those pesky words out of the way…bask in the glory of Hatch’s Kids building a super-sweet 2017 Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited Hurst Edition. It doesn’t get any cooler than this.
So let’s hear it for the Austin Hatcher Foundation family and the outstanding influence this project has had in the lives of these young people. Be sure to keep any eye out for this beauty making appearances at automotive events over the upcoming year. It is possibly half-as-cool as the kids that built it but still way cooler than most anyhting else on the street. You can find out more about the Austin Hatcher Foundation and the amazing work they perform in the lives of kids affected by cancer by visiting https://www.hatcherfoundation.org/ OlllllllO
New Trail-Ready Design Incorporates Secure Containment & Quick Access
Suwanee, Ga. (April 3, 2018) – Rugged Ridge®, a leading manufacturer of high-quality Jeep®, truck and off-road parts and accessories, today announced the release of its new Elite Billet Style Aluminum Fire Extinguisher Holder for Jeeps and various on and off road applications. Constructed of stunning cast aluminum, the Elite Billet Style Aluminum Fire Extinguisher Holder is designed to provide a secure extinguisher mount on any flat surface with the included hardware.
The Elite Billet Style Aluminum Fire Extinguisher Holder is engineered with an internal spring loaded release mechanism fashioned from 316 Stainless Steel, enabling quick one-handed access to the extinguisher if the need arises. Designed to work with standard 2.5 lb extinguishers (not included), the Elite Billet Fire Extinguisher Holder is a highly-functional addition to any vehicle’s safety preparedness package.
Each Elite Billet Style Fire Extinguisher Holder is finished in a premium matte black textured powder coat to provide an attractive appearance for years of service in the harshest of conditions.
The Rugged Ridge Elite Fire Extinguisher Holder is backed by an industry-leading five-year limited warranty and is available online and through select Jeep and off-road parts and accessories retailers nationwide with an MSRP of $66.99.
For more information about the new Elite Billet Style Fire Extinguisher Holder, or any of Rugged Ridge’s complete line of high-quality Jeep and off-road products, or to find an approved retailer, please contact Rugged Ridge at 770-614-6101 or visit www.RuggedRidge.com.
|11238.40||Elite, Billet Fire Extinguisher Holder, 76-17 Wrangler||$66.99|
Durable Tactical-Styled Seat Covers Equipped for Cold Weather Comfort
Suwanee, Ga. ( January 23, 2018 ) – Rugged Ridge®, a leading manufacturer of high-quality Jeep®, truck and off-road accessories, today announced the addition of new Elite Ballistic Heated Seat Covers for 2007-2018 Jeep Wrangler JK / JKU models.
Constructed of a resilient 1,200 denier polyester material in a tough ballistic weave, the Rugged Ridge Elite Ballistic Heated Seat Covers are fitted internally with dual-zone heating elements located in the seat bottom and backrest to provide welcome warmth on chilly winter mornings.
Each Elite Ballistic Heated Seat Cover is engineered to deliver unparalleled longevity and protection. Designed specifically for 2007-2018 Wrangler JK, the seat covers install easily and fit securely over the factory seats. A simple two-wire installation is made possible by three position control switches built into the seat covers, so cutting or mounting switches onto the dashboard is not required.
Rugged Ridge’s Elite Ballistic Heated Seat Covers are backed by an industry-leading five-year limited warranty and are available online from select Jeep and off-road parts and accessories retailers nationwide with an MSRP of $439.99.
For more information about the Elite Ballistic Heated Seat Covers 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 www.RuggedRidge.com.
|Elite Ballistic Heated Seat Covers, Front, 07-10 JK||$439.99|
|Elite Ballistic Heated Seat Covers, Front, 11-17 JK||$439.99|
If you have been blessed with the gift of sight and, like me, you spend any amount of time checking out Jeeps, you have probably seen more than your fair share of headlight euro guards. While not an officially registered name for the accessory, it seems as though it is the label most often given for the metal bars that go over a Jeeps iconic round headlights. With a name like “Euro Guard”, safe money would wager that these things were inspired by some feeble attempt at establishing a styling trend, in hopes that the appearance of light guard-equipped Jeeps would spread over mall parking lots around the greater upper Midwest like a wildfire; much like adorable nose rings and alcohol-induced lower back tattoos.
The truth is, headlight euro guards have roots that extend well beyond the origins of the phrase “mall crawler”. The first time a headlight guard was featured on a production Jeep dates all the way back to 1950; making them older than reality TV and even rock music. The Willys M38 was a ¼-ton purpose-built military workhorse that was based on the popular civilian CJ-3A, however was fortified with a reinforced frame & suspension, a stout 24 volt electrical system and, yes, headlight guards. While only a single diagonal bar on each headlight, it is still quite clear that these light protecting guards were behind the looks of today’s euro guards all along.
While my heart rests a little easier knowing that euro guards are not just another goofy styling accessory, like louvered triple blade wipers or neon purple ground effects; it’s still hard to piece together how a rugged design feature borrowed from such a legendary combat-proven vehicle can be given a name like “euro guard”. Shouldn’t it have been granted a less fanciful name? Maybe headlight armor…sealed beam shield or even headlamp barriers. It seems to me that tacking ‘euro’ in front of the name incinuates that the vehicles owner is likely be clad in a beret, leather driving gloves with a satiny scarf flowing gently in the breeze as he sports about.
Originally, the M38’s headlight guards were implemented as a means of protecting the fragile glass headlamps from hazards that might be encountered on the dirt roads and jungle trails it would certainly be exposed to as they hung precariously out from the steel grille, unlike the recessed lights on prior MB/GPW models. While many of the geographic locations earlier military Jeeps like the MB and GPW, were exposed to were located all across Europe, the M38 was primarily assigned duties in the Korean War during the early fifties. Maybe the responsible marketing people should have named the headlight guards “East Asia Guards”? Best I can tell, that doesn’t have even the slightest ring to it. Nevertheless, I still can’t get behind the name ‘euro guard’.
As it turns out, the use of ‘euro’ in the name was really nothing more than a marketing scheme after all; a ploy by some people in white shirts and pressed khakis to relay an inherent sense of exclusiveness, possessing qualities that only the most descriminitaing Frenchman could even identify. You see, since the end of World War II, the Europeans had pretty much lead the way in terms of innovative automotive design. While U.S. manufacturers like Studebaker and Packard were largley using carry-over styling until the mid 50’s, auto crafters in Europe, especially the United Kingdom, were forging new territory with what was widely recognized as exhaustive engineering practices, higher quality materials, noteworthy build standards and styling that was was remarkably more refined than what was being practiced stateside. For those reasons, referring to any mundane gizmo with a ‘euro’ prefix could possibly be all that was needed to skyrocket said gizmo to vast popular appeal, but only in regions far removed from the actual continent of Europe- a practice that is both wide-spread and blessed with long life. Yeah…even Grandmas walker was fair game for the “Euro” treatment. The addition of the ‘Euro’ in the title and suddenly this thing needs not one but TWO hand brakes?
In spite of their name, Euro Guards never really pretended to make your Jeep go faster or win you bonus points at the Concours d’Elegance. They are, however, a pretty attractive way to protect your aftermarket headlights from an unexpected run-in with a tree limb while you’re out on the trail. Certainly if headlight guards were cool enough for an inclusion on an old Willys M38, they’re not deserving of even a portion of the negative scrutiny they’ve been exposed to over the years.
In the end, we can all agree Euro Guards make a pretty cool accessory to add to your Jeep. They look tough and are simply a breeze to install; in fact, they are the perfect project for those young Jeepers in your family in that they won’t break the bank or leave the family transportation straddling a puddle of costly fluid in the driveway. There are even more modern variations available today that truly do live up to the ‘euro’ name; achieving standards in terms of styling, unique designs and choice materials that make the original headlight guards look their age. You can always find your perfect Euro Guards and a ton of other Jeep stuff at www.ruggedridge.com (beret & scarf not required).
Spartan Series Bumpers
The Rugged Ridge Spartan Series Bumpers gives your Jeep a classic look without the extra weight and high price tag. The one-piece design is made from plate steel that gives your a precise fit and high quality experience. Each bumper includes a stand-alone winch plate as the central backbone for the bumper and includes D-shackle mounts and a tubular overrider to complete the package (D-rings not included). The Spartan Front Bumper is a direct bolt-on replacement for 2007-2018 Wrangler JK models and includes all the necessary hardware for a worry-free installation. The Spartan even utilizes the factory JK fog lights for a finished look without any extra expense.
|11548.03||Spartan Front Bumper, Standard Ends, W/O Overrider, 07-18 Wrangler JK||$399.99|
|11548.02||Spartan Front Bumper, Standard Ends, With Overrider, 07-18 Wrangler JK||$466.99|
|11548.01||Spartan Front Bumper, High Clearance Ends, With Overrider, 07-18 JK||$533.99|
|11548.04||Spartan Front Bumper, Overrider||$106.99|
XHD Steel Corner Guards
The XHD Steel Corner Guards protects one of your most vulnerable areas on your JK while hitting the trails. Built from super strong 3mm thick steel plate to withstand any hazard on the trails.
Elite Pivotal Headlight Euro Guards
Protect your headlights with Rugged Ridge’s Elite Headlight Euro Guards. Constructed with cast aluminum for a lightweight option to guard your headlights. The euro guards offer a variety of looks for your Jeep with the patent pending design that locks at any point for different angles. Pivotal Headlight Guards feature a textured black powder coat, vibrant red powder coat or classic raw (paintable) aluminum finish. Installs easily in minutes using factory hardware and replaces the factory headlight retaining ring.
|11230.14||Elite, Pivotal Headlight Euro Guard, Raw, 07-17 Jeep® Wrangler JK||$66.99|
|11230.17||Elite, Pivotal Headlight Euro Guard, Red, 07-17 Jeep® Wrangler JK||$66.99|
Elite Antenna Base
Your Antenna is one of the most overlooked features on your Jeep but Rugged Ridge is looking to change that. Upgrade your antenna with the Elite Antenna Base, gives a modern look while offering a sturdy base. Offered in a variety of different finishes such as black, red, and a paintable version.
|17212.13||Elite Antenna Base, Black, 07-17 Jeep® Wrangler JK||$26.99|
|17212.14||Elite Antenna Base, Red, 07-17 Jeep® Wrangler JK||$26.99|
|17212.15||Elite Antenna Base, Paintable, 07-17 Jeep® Wrangler JK||$26.99|
Steel Body Armor Cladding
No matter what outdoor adventures you put your Jeep through, we’ve got you covered in the most important area with our Steel Body Armor Cladding for your rocker panel. Constructed with 3 mm thick steel plate that shields your JK’s lower body panels. Design that features a rugged black textured powder coat that offers impressive looks and superior résistance to rust and corrosion, backed by the added assurance of our 5-Year Limited Warranty. Available for both 2 and 4-door JK models.
|Steel Body Armor Cladding, 07-17 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, 4 Door||11615.10||$333.99|
|Steel Body Armor Cladding, 07-17 Jeep Wrangler, 2 Door||11615.11||$266.99|
Stubby Trail Mirror Kit
Taking your doors off your Jeep shouldn’t mean horrible visibility, with our Stubby Trail Mirrors you’ll be driving safe. Each mirror arm is reduced by three inches, allowing the mirror to hug more tightly to the vehicles body. Available with both round and rectangular mirror heads, Rugged Ridge Stubby Mirrors textured black powder coat looks great on any paint color and installs easily with the included mounting hardware. When it’s time to put the doors back on, these mirrors can be removed quickly with a few turns of the convenient thumb screw. A convenient bolt-on mirror solution for when you want to leave the doors at home – also great with tube or safari doors. Each mirror includes a mirror head, mirror arm, mounting bracket, bushing, thumbscrew, gasket and hardware (pairs include two complete mirror assemblies).
|11025.19||Stubby Trail Mirror, Round, Textured Black, 97-17 Jeep Wrangler JK||$46.99|
|11025.20||Stubby Trail Mirror, Rectangular, Textured Black, 97-17 Jeep Wrangler JK||$46.99|
|11025.21||Stubby Trail Mirror, Round Pair, Textured Black, 97-17 Jeep Wrangler JK||$86.99|
|11025.22||Stubby Trail Mirror, Rectangular Pair, Textured Black, 97-17 Jeep Wrangler JK||$86.99|
Spartacus HD Tire Carrier Kit
Carry your tires with ease and without the extra heavy weight of a steel mount carrier with our HD Tire Carrier. Perfect for 97-06 Jeep Wrangler TJ, Rubicon and Unlimited that delivers the perfect balance of strength & stability. The Spartacus HD Tire Carrier incorporates a brutally strong die-cast aluminum hinge casting, forged steel hinges and hardened steel pins that replaces the feeble stock tailgate hinges for greater load-bearing capacity while still allowing smooth, one-handed access to the cargo area. The HD Tire Carrier Wheel Mount is constructed of sturdy steel so it can handle those over-sized wheel & tire combinations while retaining the factory high mount brake light. Both the hinge casting and wheel mount are protected with a durable black textured powder coat to fend off the elements in even the harshest off-road conditions. Compatible with OE and most aftermarket rear bumpers, the HD Tire Carriers design makes it the most versatile and functional tire carrier on the market today. No drilling required.
|11546.60||Spartacus HD Tire Carrier Kit, 97-06 Jeep Wrangler TJ||$599.99|
|11546.61||Spartacus HD Tire Carrier, Hinge Casting, 97-06 Jeep Wrangler TJ||$527.99|
|11546.62||Spartacus HD Tire Carrier, Wheel Mount, 87-06 Jeep Wrangler YJ/TJ||$93.99|