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

1I 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.

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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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The Allure of a Jeep Barn Find – Junker or Gem?

1For as long as I can remember, I have taken a great amount of pleasure in driving around the country and looking for deserted automotive treasures, camouflaged by the overgrown landscape on which they reside. You see them, to some extent, everywhere you look, but it seems like the closer you are to the city, the newer the age of the dearly departed becomes. For me, there is not a strong personal attraction in reviving somebody’s old discarded pea-green Geo Prism, whose intrinsic value suddenly plummeted with the failure of a head gasket. It’s when you get away out in the rural areas that you begin to find those truly classic examples; those that served their owners well for the automotive equivalent of a lifetime, before they were literally “put out to pasture”. I spent quite a few years searching these out and taking Black & White photographs to capture my discoveries in their natural habitat. The character that these cars portrayed seemed to be better captured without the detail of color film. My desire was to be able to look back on these photos later; remembering where and when I saw them, and hopefully re-imagine some of the stories those rusted heaps might tell to me, if they could.

I believe that the car lover that hides deep inside a large number of us secretly longs to reclaim those forsaken lost relics; to pull them out from their earthen tombs and breathe new life into them. While the venture of doing such a thing is admirable and ultimately very costly, it’s important to realize that, to borrow a line from the American classic film, Cool Hand Luke, “Some men you just can’t reach”. There are times when the life you hope to recover is just too far gone. It’s at those times that you need to be able to identify this reality and NOT deny it. Are you dealing with a “Barn Find” or are you just buying an expensive chunk of yard art? There may be very little difference between them.

2I tend to favor the term “barn find” because it, by nature of the name, insinuates that the vehicle was stored in a barn or, at very least, under some sort of cover. While this does not guarantee a cars structural integrity and hardly limits the likelihood of the interior now being home for a colony of rats with an appetite for seat cushions and electrical wiring, most barn owners would not likely designate precious space for something that they didn’t care about or hold some plans to repair in the future. If the old Jeep was seriously broke beyond repair, it would probably be repurposed as a flower bed out in the yard. However, once you put a car outside, exposed and unprotected from the elements, you can count on it returning to the ground from whence it came, in a painfully short period of time. While many of the components on a Jeep that are the most prone to rust from exposure are readily available and easily replaceable, one has to consider whether starting out with nothing might be a better option.

3For an old vehicle to truly qualify to be considered a genuine ‘barn find’, the vehicle should only be corrupted by years of dirt, grime and passing of time; something that got put away some time ago for semi-safe keeping and not surrendered to the elements. Too often, one man’s barn find is, more accurately, just a basket case in which to pour large sums of money with little hope of ever recouping even a modest initial investment. The art of finding those that pass more easily as a treasure than trash and acquiring them for as cheap a price as possible is where a bargain finder shows his true mettle. Developing an emotional attachment to the subject is where many people lose sight of the primary objective and end up with a few apple crates full of rusty parts and no substantial premise on which to build. Don’t ask me how I know. In such cases, the buyers motivation should only be save the mechanical artifact from the edge of extinction for nothing more than the sheer satisfaction of it, as that is likely the only certain profit to be had; a profit that is exempt from taxes and only appreciates with time.

I’m reminded of a buddy of mine when I was growing up who, while everyone else was acquiring their first set of wheels, chose to take ownership of a certain Willys M38A1 that his grandfather had pulled from a lake or, more accurately, a South Georgia swamp. We spent several warm summer months scraping barnacles off that old crusty hull of a vehicle with putty knifes until our knuckles bled. The metal, thanks to the coating of mud, was remarkably well-preserved for its age. In spite of that, I remember slowly coming to the realization that this dream that we were chasing was running speedily in an opposite direction than where we were headed. That old Jeep, fortunately, hadn’t cost him a thing but the time and effort it took to try to resurrect it; and maybe a small fee for a scrapper to haul it off. It wasn’t my first project and certainly would not be my last.

So, regardless of where you find them or how much time and effort it takes to restore them, I cannot think of a more admirable or satisfying pursuit than tracking down one of these old vintage vehicles, in whatever barn they may hide, pluck them out from the grasp of decay and reviving what is left of their automotive spirit. You might even share the experience with a member of a younger generation so they can enjoy the same sense of fulfillment that such an undertaking brings. After all, it’s only the seeds you sow that multiply and not what you keep in the barn. OlllllllO

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Alloy USA launches new line of Aluminum Differential Covers for Dana 30, 35, and 44 axles

New Heavy-Duty Covers are Engineered for Superior Off-Road Protection

Alloy USA®, a leading manufacturer of performance drivetrain products, announced the release of its new line of Aluminum Differential Covers for the Dana 30, 35 and 44 differentials. Each cover is designed to help protect internal components from damage caused by contact with rocks and other off-road hazards as well as aid in dissipating damaging heat.

The new matte red powder coated Aluminum Differential Covers are constructed from A356-T6

coat and are engineered to protect differentials from costly trail damage. Photo Credit: Alloy USA

coat and are engineered to protect differentials from costly trail damage.
Photo Credit: Alloy USA

cast aluminum for impact resistance. Additionally they feature a precision machined sealing surface, allowing gaskets or RTV sealant to be used for a leak-free seal.

Alloy USA Aluminum Differential Covers are engineered to provide an improved level of protection over factory stamped steel differential covers and add a stylish accent to any Jeep. The covers feature a magnetic drain plug for trouble-free maintenance and a specially designed dipstick bolt to help Jeep owners avoid issues from over- or under-filling their differentials.

Backed by Alloy USA’s five-year limited warranty the, Alloy USA Aluminum Differential Covers are available online and through select Jeep and off-road parts and accessories retailers nationwide with an MSRP of $114.99.

For more information about the new Alloy USA Aluminum Differential Covers or Alloy USA’s complete line of performance drive train products or to find an authorized retailer, please contact Alloy USA at 770-614-6101 or visit www.alloyusa.com

Part Number Description MSRP
11210 Aluminum Differential Cover, Dana 30, Red $114.99
11211 Aluminum Differential Cover, Dana 35, Red $114.99
11212 Aluminum Differential Cover Dana 44, Red $114.99

Searching for the “Why” in the 87-95 Wrangler YJ

1It seems as though everyone has at least one sordid skeleton hiding in the dark corners of their closet; something that they would happily volunteer to just forget about; just go on living like it never happened to begin with. Take the Detroit Lions, for example, who went through their entire 2008 NFL season without winning a single game! They managed to chalk up a disgraceful 0-16 record!! To put that into some perspective, I never even got out of my recliner the entire season and I still experienced considerably less humiliation than they; just imagine if I had exerted some actual effort! Oh, the possibilities!! You might even consider The Beatles, who are largely considered to be one of the most successful music acts on record; surely when they hear their zany refrain “Yellow Submarine”, they try and pass it off as some Jethro Tull tune or maybe some gibberish from those mop-heads in The Monkees. Unfortunately, our less-than-perfect moments seem to haunt us in our memories more deeply than our successes. When it comes to Jeeps that one less-than-ideal masterpiece firmly founded in history is likely the Wrangler YJ.

I feel the need to be completely honest with you right up front and disclose that I currently own, enjoy and regularly drive a lifted YJ – a fact that has landed me on the receiving end of more than my fair share of torment over the years, all well-intended of course. They always seem to ease up when I start crying. Countless times I have heard “Real Jeeps don’t have square headlights” as an attempt to negate the premise that any YJ even deserves to be called a Jeep at all. While basic geometry has clearly defined for all of us the differences between a square and a rectangle, I will agree that the documented history of Jeep is certainly chocked- full of round headlights, always mounted nicely into slotted grilles; leading one to believe that they are both, indeed, fundamental elements of any real Jeep.   In the half-century previous to the newly designed YJ, you would be hard-pressed to find any vehicles that didn’t have round headlights. It never was exclusively a “Jeep Thing” but, somehow, now defines it? The fact that Jeep designers chose to use rectangular headlight in the redefined YJ can be lent to the fact that they were purposely striving to make a sportier, more road-friendly Jeep that would easily appeal to a wider market than ever before. The U.S. automakers had largely switched to rectangular lights by the late 1970’s, based on their increased overall efficiency and lower cost to produce. This was deemed an acceptable evolution in exterior design and, once implemented, would undoubtedly guarantee that the YJ would receive some level of preferential negative treatment from the Jeep community for decades to come. So, out with the round and in with the squa-err, ….rectangles!

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Once you got past the desecration that was the front grille and rectangular headlights, the new Jeep Wrangler was really a nice progression, in terms of driver ergonomics and comfort. While the CJ had always been outfitted with a dashboard that resembled a massive roadside billboard with oddly-placed gauge holes, the YJ dash was somewhat contoured, tapered and much more carlike; with recesses and varying depths that made it seem less an offspring of its purely utilitarian forefathers. The front bucket seats were appreciably more supportive than their predecessors had been. The folding rear bench, however, maintained perfectly it’s limited level of passenger comfort while solidifying its dual purpose design; allowing it to be used as a child torture device on any road trip lasting longer than a handful of minutes. If you are going to do it wrong, do so without compromise.

3Underneath that new controversial sheet metal, the YJ stuck with the tried & true – a 2.5 liter 4-banger and 4.2-liter straight-six engines, dropping the latter for a potent 4.0 liter, in late 1990, that supplied Wrangler owners with a smile-inducing 180 horsepower, aided by a remarkably better fuel injection system. Power plants were nestled inside a frame structure that was virtually identical to that of the previous CJ7, although it was given a slightly stronger box section and front shock towers. The YJ continued, as well, with the age-old leaf sprung suspension, however, spring packs were widened while sway and track bars added in an all-out effort to improve the Wranglers on-road mannerisms without compromising its off-road integrity. While the YJ is a bit more docile on the highway than the typical CJ it replaced, it seemed to serve undeniable proof that the limits of the leaf spring suspension would always fall short in delivering a luxury car ride in, what was, essentially, a truck.

I can only imagine what kind of public reception would have been offered if the later TJ, released in 1997, would have been offered as the replacement for the CJ. Would its peculiar coil spring suspension and lavish interior been too much for people to handle, if not for the YJ having made such significant strides in regards to change. We may have never gotten to know the beauty of unadulterated off-road articulation that the Wrangler TJ and JK would eventually bring us for our enjoyment. If only we knew then that we would eventually get our glorious round headlights back…we just had to endure that awkward phase first. You know, that time of your life that you would just as soon forget? A time when the difference between a square and a rectangle was not so clear?

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So when you see that YJ out wheeling down the road, be sure to give them a wave. They are as much a part of the Jeep family as any other. Sure, they weren’t the Homecoming Queen, and more than likely didn’t even make the homecoming court, but they were at the dance; in the corner looking a little more awkward than everyone else but present, nonetheless. OlllllllO

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May 2017 Monthly Update

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.

Part Number Description Price
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).

Part Number Description Price
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.

Part Number Description Price
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

The Top 10 Reasons to Observe May 20, 2017- Jeep “Go Topless Day”

1The 10th Annual “Go Topless” Day is swiftly approaching; a day set aside to celebrate our beloved Jeep in the best way we know how…by removing our tops and driving around with wild abandon (within the strict confines of your local laws and ordinances, of course). As if any pure-blooded Jeeper needed an excuse to take their Jeeps out and enjoy a gorgeous spring day on the open road, we’ve come up with ten, count them, ten reasons why you should get those Jeeps out and expose the world to a little peek into what it’s like to be a diehard Jeeper:

#1Jeep is an American Icon – Very much like our countries stars and stripes, the revered Jeep deserves to be on public display for everyone to see, appreciate and enjoy. When darkness sets in, fret not; Jeeps are equipped with their own onboard illumination systems so that you can still see and be seen with the press of a button or pull of a knob (depending on your particular model). It is absolutely revolutionary!

2#2 Gasoline Prices are Going Up – While this seems like more of a ‘con’ than a ‘pro’, just think about it for a minute. Driving the wheels off the old Jeep is gonna be cheaper on this day than it will be on any given day in June OR July. Consider, if you will, the kind-hearted folks of Finland who are paying in excess of $9.00 a gallon for petrol! With gas prices like those, you can very well imagine that, even if those poor Finns were lucky enough to have Jeeps, that before “Go Topless Day” even gets started, it would be Finnished. So fill those fuel tanks up to over-flowing and wheel those Jeeps like there’s no tomorrow. Do it for our friends on the other side of the pond.

#3 – This IS the Aluminum Anniversary of “Go Topless Day” – While I will admit, it just doesn’t have the same pizazz as declaring a Gold or Silver anniversary would, we have to start somewhere. In another decade, we will have reached TITANIUM and we will party accordingly. Prepare yourselves.

3#4 – Kids LOVE Jeeps! – I am not insinuating that you need to go out and adopt kids for Jeep “Go Topless” Day, if you don’t currently have any of your own. I am simply stating one of the simplest truths that exists today, and that is: if you take a kid for a ride in your Jeep, smiles will be sure to follow; smiles so genuine that they can only be enhanced by the likes of ice cream and amusement parks- they’re that good. If admission to your rig is strictly limited to adults only, at least take the time to wave and smile at kids when you see them out on the road. You’re in a Jeep, so you can bet they will already be looking at you. Let them know how fun it really is.

#5 – It’s Saturday!! – I would understand your hesitance to venture out too far from the house on a weekday school night but this year “Go Topless Day” falls on the weekend, so all excuses fail. You have all day on Sunday to recover.

4#6 – ‘Jeep Hair’ Looks Outstanding on Almost Everyone – With the exception of completely bald individuals, looking somewhat frazzled like you just came off a rollercoaster is a good look – crazy, but good. Case in point… Go to ANY dating website and browse through the hundreds upon hundreds of profile pictures. Every one of these hapless romantics is well-groomed with their hair perfectly in place and yet they are hopelessly single. What could they be missing?? You might try sacrificing those hairdos to the wind gods and live a little. You won’t be sorry! If you just can’t take the risk, may we suggest a ball cap?

5#7 – You Get to Relive the ‘Good Old Days’ – Do you remember when you were just a kid and your neighborhood friends would come knock on your front door and ask your parents if you could come out and play? Well, your Jeep friends are going to be out playing on May 20th and we want you to come out and play too! The Jeep community is a family, a brother and sisterhood of people who share in the same enjoyment of the outdoors and a undying passion for Jeeps. You’ll see them out there, so make sure you wave and don’t worry about being home before the streetlights come on.

#8 – You Can Throw the Map Right Out the Window – Actually, if you don’t have a roof you are probably deprived of doors, as well, so the map kinda throws itself out with no help from you. Nonetheless, “Go Topless Day” is all about the journey you’re on and not any given destination, so set out for the great unknown. You’ll never know what you might find when you chart a course for nowhere. Set out with a friend to find a new trail to hike, take in a handful of a postcard-perfect views or a new out-of-the-way restaurant to experience. This adventure is not scripted so you can make it up as you go. Most importantly, set out to see as much of the world around you as you can, from the best seat available.

6#9 – Man’s Best Friend Will Likely Lick You– The only characters that seem to love a Jeep ride more than Jeep owners are the Jeep owner’s dogs. When canines go for a ride in a normal car, they have to poke their heads out of the lowered window, which requires standing on all fours for a vast majority of the time, equating to much more work than dogs usually prefer. The well-known cliché “lazy as a dog” is somewhat unfair in that dogs actually prefer to exhaust their energies in more thrilling pursuits, such as chasing balls or Frisbees, scavenging for people food, disassembling consumer textiles and intently sleeping on pricey furniture. For this reason, Jeeps are the ideal method of getting around for dogs. They are able to be completely surrounded by refreshing breezes while enjoying a much more comfortable reclined position; so take your four-legged friends along with you BUT don’t forget a leash or lanyard so your pooch can stay safe & secure in the cab.

#10 – Life Just Seems Better When You’re in a Jeep – Take a day for yourself to get outdoors and enjoy some beautiful spring weather in the one & only patented, mechanized contraption known to relieve stress in both men and women alike. Not even the rain can ruin this kind of day, so get out and enjoy it. We hope to see you out there! OlllllllO

To find out all the details about the upcoming 10th Annual Go Topless Day, get your official Go Topless gear and see how you can be a part of the fun, be sure to visit the site dedicated to the yearly event at http://www.allthingsjeep.com/go-topless-day.html

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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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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 www.RuggedRidge.com.

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.

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  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 www.omix-ada.com 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 www.RuggedRidge.com.

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