A 75 Year Evolution in Automotive Seating Technology

An awful lot can happen in the better part of a century. While we’ve been told over and over again that Rome wasn’t built in a day, nobody ever gives any details about how long it actually did take to build it. Some rumors are that it has never even been built entirely, not even once, before somebody goes and tears it up and the infuriated Romans must begin again. Rather than focus on the proven fact that you can’t accomplish anything too terribly remarkable in just one day, let’s focus instead on what Jeep has managed to do in the under-appreciated art of equipping Jeeps to provide support to our collective posteriors.

When the first Jeeps rolled off a troop carrier and onto sandy foreign soil in the early 1940’s, passenger seating was nowhere near the top of the totem pole in terms of importance. This fact can be no more obvious than when you sit in an early war-era Jeep. Just getting in is punishing enough before you ever hit the seat. In fact, the outrageous weight restrictions imposed by the military meant that the drivers could very well be supplied with only an over-turned milk crate on which to position themselves. Thankfully, in the interest of overall operator safety, a lightweight seat frame was fashioned out of 1-inch diameter steel tubing, barely 18 inches in width, and bridged from side to side with a sheet of flat steel on which the task of supporting the drivers back and buttocks fell. This was a crude design and not exactly a drastic improvement in comfort over the supposed milk crate, but at least this unruly frame was indeed a seat and could be bolted firmly to the floor. Fitting these primitive seat frames with heavy canvas cushions is about the only thing that separates them from being mistaken for a medieval torture device. I have heard on several occasions that the early MB’s seat cushions could be used as a flotation device, in the event that things go terribly wrong during an unscripted beach landing. Seems like a grand notion until you note that the seat cushions are screwed to the seat frame! Not only do I have to muster the endurance to tread ocean water in frigid temperatures, only to play an impromptu game of high stakes tug-o-war with my canvas life-preserver as it slowly goes down with the ship. Such a prospect does seem to lend heavily to the strong sense of adventure commonly found in Jeep owners.

Photo Credit: Toadmanstankpictures.com

Since that observation may be a little hard to digest, we’ll make only slight mention that the early Willys / Jeep seat frame was mounted directly over the vehicles primary fuel tank, so that any semblance of physical comfort could be accompanied by a repressed feeling of uneasiness that, as the bullets fly, you can rest easy knowing that a giant can of highly-flammable liquid is safe and secure directly underneath you. Your only hope lies in the possibility that you will be blown clear of the actual destruction.

Photo Credit: Hemmings

The first evidence of any sort of civility in the seating found in Jeeps would coincide with the development of the early civilian Jeeps, or ‘CJ’s’ for short, which came along in the late 40’s. Not that they weren’t stricken with very similar unforgiving steel seat frames found in the MB; seats that were purely about fit & function with total disregard to the comfort of the seats occupant. The CJ was given a softer feel by means of a rugged, yet much more comfortable, seat cushion. A seat cushion ample enough in thickness to absorb most of the pounding the off-road suspension was prone to put out. Graduallly the drivers of Jeep CJs were being spared from the agonies of the severely harsh ride they had grown accustomed to. The days of feeling like you had just been paddled with a rowboat oar after an hour behind the wheel were largely behind us (pun intended).

Photo Credit: Hemmings

As the CJ platform continued to develop through the 60’s and 70’s, car seat construction practices had progressed considerably, as well; the last CJ models, the CJ7 and CJ8, marked a rather significant period in terms of passenger comfort. Seats were now being designed with soft yet supportive foam that was suspended by springs rather than merely plastered to a rigid surface. The seats backs were becoming taller so as to provide greater support for the upper back and shoulders. These subtle improvements continued to find their way into production, each having positive influences on the overall experience of driving a Jeep. While still far away from what I would consider refined, Jeep had come a very long way in a relatively short timeframe and the backsides of Americans quietly rejoiced. Not only was the seating surface becoming a place where moderate comfort could be found, but the bucket seats were now being mounted to an elevated pedestal via a seat slider that would allow for some level of fore & aft adjustability in relation to the steering wheel. Not to even mention the fact that the 1970’s had brought on a much welcomed move for the Jeeps fuel tank, ostracizing it entirely from the passenger compartment. It seems kind of silly to wait until we’re no longer being shot at to make such a decision, but still a very generous engineering gesture, nonetheless.

The 87-95 Wrangler YJ and subsequent TJ models further advanced the Jeeps standings in terms of driver comfort. While seats still remained a manual operation in their means of adjustment, the seats received additional bolstering and added support to enhance overall comfort. The true pinnacle of seating luxury in the Jeeps history is obviously the most recently experienced- the 2017 Jeep Wrangler JK and JKU Unlimited. You would be hard-pressed to find a more plush seating apparatus furnished in any other go-anywhere off road vehicle. It’s almost hard to remember the Jeeps humble beginnings when you are wrapped in the opulence of high-back leather bucket seats, equipped with spine-numbing seat warmers and upholstered in some of the finest supple calf hides you have ever felt. These seats even have air bags on the outboard side that deploy in the event of a substantial side impact. And to think we used to have to sit on the gas tank…OIIIIIIIO

Photo Credit: Jeep

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Until We Figure Out How to Make a Heritage…We’d Better Preserve the One We’ve Got

Omix-ADA / Rugged Ridge just finished putting the wraps on their 2nd Annual Jeep Heritage Expo- a simple and unadulterated celebration of Jeeps past, present and future. While the show is new, only in its second year of existence, the event has grown steadily each year with over two hundred Jeeps migrating to our Suwanee, Georgia facilities to take part in the affair.

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One truth that stands out boldly to me every time I attend a Jeep event like this is the true sense of kinship that is shared amongst Jeeps loyal following. It’s the heritage of the Jeep that sets it apart from other cars on the road; and the reason why a gathering of such is different from any other ‘car show’ on the planet. If you drive a Jeep, you have a key part in that heritage and the unique sense of unity that comes with Jeep ownership is your part of the inheritance to cherish.

2As I stood at the main entrance of the Heritage Expo with the sun beating down on me relentlessly, I was rewarded in being able to greet Jeep after Jeep-load of enthusiasts as they arrived for the event. Some were locals and had driven for a relatively short time, while others had travelled for untold hours, from many states away, to participate. No matter the distance, visible smiles seemed to declare that it was clearly more than worth the distance covered. Some of the rigs were immaculate, having been detailed and cleaned to the nth degree. Other rides were splattered with mud reminiscent of some previous off-road jaunt, not necessarily recent, but one that finds a way to live on in the owner’s memory by keeping what traces remain for as long as he/she can- like the suntan that remains after a great beach vacation. You hang on to it as long as you possibly can. Each one of the Jeeps is carefully surveyed by the masses as they arrived and given an unstated measure of appreciation. Each one admired for their own merits, each comparable to the next as well as the ones before; all equal regardless of how they came dressed for the party.

This is not anywhere near my first car show, by any means. For as long as I can remember, I have always been into muscle cars, trucks or generally any mechanical contraption with more than one wheel as long as it serves to transport you at a speed greater than which I can walk…preferably something I can fiddle with. While the throngs of muscle car enthusiasts and the cars they relish are still near and somewhat dear to me, the level of exclusion that occurs inside their ranks always impugned any positives for me. The animosity that exists between the Ford guys and the contrasting Chevrolet faithful always seemed to undermine the hobby itself. Since when is a brightly-colored sticker of cartoon juvenile urinating on another car manufacturer’s logo a tool for building comradery? Can’t we just collectively appreciate a piece of automotive engineering that has been painstakingly restored by its owner to new condition without any regard if it is a Fiero or a Ferrari?

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The Jeep community largely acknowledges the concept that a show truck has virtues just as commendable as an off-road capable trail rig. It’s not that one is superior to the other but rather that each person buys into the spirit of freedom, capability and adventure that the Jeep represents and adapts the Jeep to fit the lifestyle they prefer. We prefer to celebrate the entire bunch of them, In fact, you can walk into a Jeep dealership and buy a completely stock Jeep Wrangler JK and never modify a thing on it- it just doesn’t matter. You ARE instantly and entirely adopted into the Jeep family and you will be waved at whenever you pass another brother or sister. It’s truly revolutionary to experience and a large part of why we seek to preserve this long-standing heritage for future generations to enjoy.

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If you want to find out more about the 2nd Annual Jeep Heritage Expo or see what all the excitement of the Jeep lifestyle is all about- check us out at www.RuggedRidge.com and we hope to see you and your Jeep at next year’s Jeep Heritage Expo in 2018! OlllllllO

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June 2017 Monthly Update

Trek 8 Wheels for Renegade

Start customizing the look of your Renegade with Rugged Ridge’s Trek 8 Wheels. Made with aluminum alloy to be lightweight and a one piece design. The Rugged Ridge Trek 8 Aluminum wheel combines high-end looks of an aftermarket rim with a factory-quality fitment, all while exceeding strenuous SAE J2530 standards for safety.

Part Number Description Price
15307.02 TREK 8 Wheel, Black, Aluminum Wheel, 14-17 Renegade $213.99

Perforated Grille Inserts

Add a aggressive look to your Jeep with our Perforated Grille Inserts. Constructed of durable UV-treated space age plastic that resists fading, cracking, and warping for years of good looks, these Mesh Grille Inserts are molded for a precise custom fit and an easy installation with no drilling or tools required.

Part Number Description Part Number
11306.31 Grille Inserts, Perforated, Black, 07-17 Jeep Wrangler JK $69.99

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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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