AUBURN HILLS, Mich.—Love Jeeps but can’t afford to fork out close to $40,000 on a Wrangler Rubicon to satisfy your rock crawling cravings?
Set to hit showrooms early next year, the Jeep brand announced the launch of the 2014 Jeep Wrangler Willys Wheeler edition, a boiled-down, back-to-the-basics edition of the popular JK platform.
“The new Jeep Wrangler Willys Wheeler edition is a Jeep purist’s dream, delivering a Jeep vehicle that harkens back to the original, classic CJs of the 1940s,” Jeep president and CEO Mike Manley said in a release.
“This new Jeep vehicle delivers pure functionality and rugged capability in a unique package that recognizes the origins of the brand.”
Based on the entry level Wrangler Sport model, the Willys Wheeler is priced lower than the Sahara and features upgraded hardware, including a Dana 44 rear axle with limited-slip rear differential and 3.73 gears, beefy BF Goodrich mud terrain tires and rock rails to protect the door sills.
The throwback edition features the standard-yet-capable Dana 33 axle up front with an open diff, and Jeep’s Command-Trac transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio.
It also comes equipped with Chrysler’s 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 engine mated to a standard six-speed manual or available five-speed automatic transmission
Design cues to make the Willys Wheeler stand out include a gloss black grille with black Jeep badge, gloss black front and rear bumper appliques, historic satin black “four-wheel-drive” rear tailgate decal and “Willys” hood decals and unique high-gloss black 17-inch aluminum wheels.
The Willys Wheeler comes with a standard soft top, and, in true wheeling fashion, the iconic half doors are an option, according to Jeep.
Available in any Jeep Wrangler colour, the Willys Wheeler will be priced in the high $20,000s for the two-door and low $30,000s for four-door.