Sunday, January 20, 2013

Cummins-Powered Jeep JK Monster

MBRP Performance Exhaust (and its Jeep-specific subsidiary Off Camber Fabrications) manufactures high-end exhaust systems as well as a variety of different Jeep parts including roof racks, light mounts, cargo baskets, armor, and bumpers.  Somebody at the company came up with the fantastic idea of shoehorning a 12-valve Cummins Turbodiesel into a stretched Jeep Wrangler JK pickup conversion and fully outfitting it with offroad equipment.  Including portal axles and 44-inch Pitbull Rocker tires.

The end result was a real monster.  The extra-long wheelbase and the tremendous weight of the Cummins motor over the front axle allow this Jeep to climb incredible obstacles with unreal ease.

You can read about the buildup here on but the video of them at Moab's Easter Jeep Safari can't be missed!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Jeep CEO Mike Manley on the Upcoming Jeep Pickup

2005 Jeep Gladiator Concept Pickup
Jeep has been teasing us with hints of the return of the Jeep pickup truck for years.  They have rolled out one concept truck after another, including the Gladiator, J12, Mighty FC, Nukizer, and the JT.  These concepts have been so enthusiastically received that Jeep and Mopar have even produced the JK-8 Independence kit that allows you to turn your own Wrangler Unlimited into a pickup.  But they have never confirmed any plans to actually produce a pickup themselves for regular retail sales.

Until now?

Fox News is reporting on their interview with Jeep CEO Mike Manley at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show in which he all but confirms that the next generation of the Wrangler will also include a pickup variant.  Follow the link to watch the brief video interview and form your own opinion - has Jeep finally decided to produce a pickup variant of the next-generation Wrangler?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Jeep Sets All-Time Sales Record in 2012

2013 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited 10th Anniversary Edition

Chrysler is reporting that 2012 has been the Jeep brand's strongest sales year ever.  The media has picked up on this, with outlets such as Autoblog and Allpar providing their own commentary.

2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk

As one of the world's most recognizably American brands (such as Harley-Davidson, Coca-Cola, Corvette, and Apple) it's nice to see Jeep's off-road image succeeding in the marketplace.  Off road vehicle recreation is a safe, healthy, and responsible form of recreation, and Jeep's 4x4s cater to this activity more so than any other automotive brand.  By not "dumbing down" their halo vehicles (Wrangler and Grand Cherokee) for the mallcrawler crowd as has every other SUV manufacturer, Jeep has flourished while others have faltered.

Jeep's press release reads:
Jeep® Brand Sets All-time Global Sales Record in 2012

Jeep global sales increase 19 percent in 2012 to all-time annual record of 701,626 units
Record surpasses 1999 Jeep vehicle sales of 675,494 units
Jeep Wrangler and Compass record best-ever annual global sales totals
Jeep Wrangler and Patriot record best-ever annual U.S. sales totals
2012 the third consecutive year of Jeep double-digit percentage global and U.S. sales increases

January 9, 2013 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - The Jeep® brand recorded global sales of 701,626 units in 2012, setting a new, all-time high – bettering the brand's previous annual high of 675,494 units sold in 1999.

Jeep vehicle sales increased 19 percent globally in 2012 versus 2011, and 13 percent in the United States (474,131 units).

"The Jeep brand has achieved double-digit percentage sales increases in each of the past three years, both globally and in the U.S. market," said Mike Manley, President and CEO – Jeep Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. "In late 2009, we set out on a course to quickly renew our entire vehicle lineup, with a focus on legendary Jeep capability combined with improved on-road driving dynamics, fuel efficiency and world-class craftsmanship. Clearly customers have appreciated the unique combination of attributes that Jeep vehicles offer.

"We expect to continue our sales momentum in 2013 with the introduction of an all-new mid-size Jeep SUV, as well as the new 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, which will be available with a new, clean-diesel engine," Manley added.

In 2012, each major global region recorded increased Jeep sales versus 2011. Specifically, Jeep sales in the Asia-Pacific region rose 94 percent; sales in European markets rose 29 percent; and sales in Latin American markets rose 18 percent. In China – the largest automobile market in the world – Jeep remains the fastest-growing mainstream brand, with sales up 107 percent in 2012. In the United States, Jeep has regained its number-one position in the SUV market.

Several individual Jeep nameplate records were also set in 2012. Jeep Wrangler enjoyed its best year ever both globally (194,142 units) and in the U.S. (141,669 units); Jeep Compass recorded its best year ever on a global basis (103,321 units); and Jeep Patriot recognized its best U.S. sales year with 62,010 units sold. Jeep Grand Cherokee recorded sales of 154,734 in the U.S. – its best annual total since 2005.

Across the globe, Jeep sales were led by Grand Cherokee (223,196 units), followed by Wrangler (194,142 units) and Compass (103,321 units).

The Jeep brand's sales results in 2012 come on the heels of similar success in 2011 (sales increases of 41 percent globally and 44 percent in the U.S. versus 2010) and 2010 (sales increases of 24 percent globally and 26 percent in the U.S. versus 2009).

Monday, January 7, 2013

Double-Wide Jeep Wrangler JK

Here's something you won't see on the road in America: a double-wide Jeep Wrangler JK.  This is supposedly owned by a diplomat in Morocco where he can apparently get away with just about anything.

Carscoop, Yahoo Autos, Jalopnik have all published some more info on this one-off creation.

Imagine trying to park it.
Or take it 4wheeling.

And to think, TJ owners tease JK owners about the width of a single-wide JK!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Ursa Minor Jeep Wrangler Camper

One of the best things about the Jeep Wrangler versus other SUVs is that its huge aftermarket support has made the vehicle incredibly versatile.  I've written about Jeep Wrangler-based campers before, but a company named Ursa Minor has taken the lead in producing JK camper tops.

They produce two different versions: a 2-person and a 4-person camper.  Truck Trend Magazine just published an article on the J30 2-door version, which can be found here.

At $5250 it's certainly not cheap, but there's something to be said for having such comfortable accommodations no matter how far into the backcountry your travels take you.  It's unfortunate that the additional height compared to a stock Wrangler hardtop would not allow my Jeep to fit in my garage, but I'm perfectly happy with my Lifetime Tent Trailer with a few offroad mods to allow it to go nearly anywhere my Jeep can go without it.  My trailer also affords a lot more room to stretch out and comfortably sleep two couples on two queen-size beds instead of one long, narrow bed:

A member of the Expedition Portal forum has posted photos and shared some of his experiences with his Ursa Minor camper on his Jeep.  A good discussion ensued.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Wheelers for the Wounded Crosses the Rubicon

The Nevada Appeal newspaper published a terrific article about the Wheelers for the Wounded group whose mission it is to provide a weekend of off-roading, camping, and in some cases fishing, to our country's wounded military members all over the United States.  This is to reward them with much deserved fun and excitement as they traverse the most extreme terrain our great country has to offer in a variety of the best off-road capable vehicles ever built.

Many OHV users and groups want to express our collective appreciation of our Vets, so many have joined in with this cause; WFTW events are put on all across our country.  The most well-publicized events happen annually on the Rubicon Trail with support from organizations such as Pirate4x4, BlueRibbon Coalition, and MetalCloak.

How to Build a Budget JK Rubicon

JP Magazine has published an article on how to build a JK with similar capabilities as the Rubicon but on a much tighter budget.  I've written before about what distinguishes a JK Rubicon from lesser Wrangler models, and after 4wheeling and daily driving my Jeep over the long run, I stand by my decision.  However, the author Verne Simons who wrote this piece makes some very good points that are certainly worth considering for anyone who's working within a tight budget.

The basic principles mentioned in the article apply to any 4x4, not just Jeeps.  The decision should boil down to what your final goal entails in regards to what parts you plan to install and what sort of trails you intend to frequent.  With little more than a suspension lift and bigger tires, my Jeep does everything I need it to do in quiet, reliable comfort - the extra equipment included in the Rubicon package is exactly what I needed above and beyond a standard Wrangler.  But if I was building a hardcore dedicated rock buggy, I would likely be replacing most of the Rubicon parts with specialized aftermarket components in which case it makes no sense to start with the Rubicon.

It's definitely good practice to start with a basic vehicle and build it up in stages so that you can learn the vehicle's capabilities and the value of each modification.  A well-used, bare-bones Wrangler is a perfect clean slate with which to start building a budget or high-zoot 4wheeler.

Six Pak Extra-Long-Wheelbase Jeep Wrangler JK

Quality Metalcraft's Jeep Wrangler JK Six Pak is the three-row family rock limo you've been waiting for.  I linked to AutoWeek's original pre-SEMA release photos here, and as expected the one-off Jeep made its appearance at SEMA where it was a huge hit.

The automotive press ate this thing up, with coverage and photos published by Autoblog, Hillviewmotors, Gadgetreview, Examiner, Fox News, and Eddie.

While a Jeep of this size would certainly be useful to some people in certain types of terrain, its extra long wheelbase would be a limiting factor on tight trails and big obstacles; even the 116-inch wheelbase of the standard JK Wrangler Unlimited is a bit much.  But as a much more capable alternative to a Chevrolet Suburban, this Six Pak gives real offroad ability to those who need a large family 4x4.