Go to any Jeep Jamboree, and also you’ll see lots of of modified Wranglers and CJ’s. Jeep house owners enjoy outfitting their Jeeps for much more excessive off-road responsibility or just altering the aesthetics to make them their very own. It’s a pure extension of the automobile man expertise, and it’s a phenomenon a savvy model can faucet into with well timed and tasteful particular editions.
Nonetheless, Jeep didn’t begin dreaming up its personal particular editions till it had bought civilian Jeeps for 15 years, and even then they had been few and much between. That each one modified within the 1970s, when Jeep, then owned by AMC, noticed that house owners may make an announcement with their Jeeps within the type of graphics packages accompanied by some efficiency and comfort upgrades. Right now, the particular editions come sizzling and heavy, so quick that it’s arduous to maintain up. Thus is the fixed march of selling.
To assist us compile our listing of the very best special-edition Jeeps, we consulted with Brandt Rosenbusch, supervisor of historic providers at FCA North America. Our analysis and his information helped us choose the next special-edition Wranglers and CJs, in addition to one DJ for good measure.
1964 Jeep DJ-3A Surrey
1959 Jeep DJ-3A Gala
The Gala was the primary time Jeep had enjoyable with the civilian Jeep. It marked an effort to market the Jeep as a piece automobile of a unique stripe. Meant to be used at tropical resorts in Florida and the Caribbean, Jeep provided the Gala because the rear-drive DJ-3A (assume postal Jeep) as an alternative of the four-wheel-drive CJ-3A or CJ-5, which had been additionally out there on the time. It was out there in brilliant colours that included Tropical Rose, Coral Mist, and Jade Tine, all offset by Glacier White stripes. With the Gala, Jeep actually created the surrey with the perimeter on prime, because the striped fabric prime was precisely that. In reality, Jeep modified the title to Surrey for 1960 and added Cerulean Blue and Fountain Inexperienced to the colour palette. Jeep bought the Surrey by way of 1964.
1965 Jeep CJ-5 Tuxedo Park
1961 Jeep CJ-5 Tuxedo Park
Flashy chrome and tailfins dominated the late 1950s and early 1960s. Jeep couldn’t do something about tailfins, but it surely may be part of the chrome revolution. Jeep gave each the CJ-5 and CJ-6 a contemporary look with the Tuxedo Park possibility. It added chrome to bumpers, hood, taillights, and gasoline cap, and it got here with a column shifter. It marked one other step ahead away from the Jeep’s work automobile roots and helped make it extra of a highway automobile. The Tuxedo Park “actually pushed the thought of enjoyable, sporty automobile, and that concept that advanced into the Jeepster Commandos later,” mentioned Brandt Rosenbusch. Jeep provided the Tuxedo Park Mk. II in 1962, and the Mk III in 1963 and ’64, and the Mark IV in 1965, the choice’s final yr.
1970 Jeep CJ-5 Renegade I
1970 Jeep CJ-5 Renegade I
The Renegade is a separate mannequin now, but it surely debuted as an possibility package deal in 1970. The primary Renegade package deal consisted of hood stripes with the Renegade script, plus upgraded G70x15 tires on vast Eight-inch wheels, a roll bar, a heavy-duty body and is derived, and entrance bucket seats with a rear bench. It was solely provided in Mint Inexperienced or Wild Plum. First-year manufacturing estimates vary from 250 to 500. In 1971, Jeep provided the Renegade 2 package deal, which switched to a big black middle stripe on the hood and options slotted alloy wheels. It was initially provided it as a run of 150 in Large Unhealthy Orange, however that was expanded to incorporate 200 of every in Mint Inexperienced and Baja Yellow, plus one other 50 or 200 in Riverside Orange. It turned merely the Renegade package deal the next yr, and held on as a staple of the lineup for years to return.
1979 Jeep CJ-7 Golden Eagle
1977 CJ-5 and CJ-7 Golden Eagle Bundle
The Pontiac Firebird had its screaming rooster and the CJ-7 had the Golden Eagle. In 1977, Jeep provided the Golden Eagle package deal with the 304-cubic-inch V-Eight and a giant, gaudy golden eagle decal on the hood with “golden eagle” callouts beneath it. It was initially solely provided in Oakleaf Brown, but it surely turned out there with extra colours the following yr when it retailed for $999. The package deal additionally included physique stripes, wheel lip extensions, off-road driving lights on the roll bar, a chromed or anodized black entrance bumper, a rear step bumper, a swing-away rear tire service, a tan Levi’s gentle prime, and Eight-inch spoked metal wheels (usually in gold) that mounted white-letter all-terrain tires. Inside, it got here with a sport a sport steering wheel, an engine-turned instrument panel with a tach and clock, and entrance bucket seats and rear bench seats lined in tan Levi’s vinyl. Jeep provided the Golden Eagle package deal till 1983. “It’s a extremely a product of the late-’70s,” Rosenbusch mentioned, noting it was for individuals who “didn’t thoughts having a big chook on their hood.”
1976 Jeep CJ-7 Renegade Levi’s Bundle
1975 Jeep CJ-5, CJ-7 Levi’s Bundle
The AMC Gremlin, Hornet, and Pacer weren’t the one American automobiles with an out there Levi’s package deal. Jeep additionally provided it for the CJ-5, CJ-7, and Cherokee beginning in 1975. In fact, Jeep was owned by AMC on the time, so the tie-in was pure. For the CJs, the package deal included jean-style vinyl padding on the sprint and solar visors, padded roof materials much like denim denims, reproduction Levi’s stitching on the seats, and vinyl seat materials that seemed like Levi’s denim. A Levi’s badge sat above the Jeep lettering on the cowl. Patrons had a selection of tan or blue supplies for the inside and prime. “The Levi’s Bundle was an excellent advertising and marketing marketing campaign. Levi’s denims had been identified the world over,” Rosenbusch mentioned, declaring that it tied collectively two very American manufacturers. Jeep provided the package deal all the best way till 1986.
2004 Jeep Wrangler Limitless
2004 Jeep Wrangler Limitless (TJ)
Jeep tried an extended wheelbase mannequin means again in 19 with the CJ-6, but it surely by no means actually caught on. The second time was the allure in 2004. A midyear addition to the lineup, the Limitless stretched the automobile 13 inches, including wanted passenger and cargo tempo. Extra importantly, it expanded gross sales and laid the groundwork for the primary four-door civilian Jeep in 2007, which expanded gross sales additional. “The Limitless actually began to indicate the flexibility of the automobile,” Rosenbusch mentioned, referring to the primary two-doors. “Then it actually modified all the things by stretching it to the four-door in 2007. It actually elevated gross sales and boosted the model’s picture.”
2007 Jeep Wrangler
2007 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon (JK)
The Wrangler was at all times meant as an off-roader, however the Rubicon took it its prowess to the following stage. The Rubicon first hit the market in 2003 and added lockable entrance and rear differentials, four-wheel disc brakes, an off-road suspension, and knobbier tires, but it surely actually got here into its personal with the introduction of the JK mannequin in 2007. That’s when it added a cool disconnecting sway bar that aided wheel journey. It additionally benefited from heavy responsibility entrance and rear Dana 44 axles with a four.10 rear gear, rock rails, and Jeep’s Rock-Trac four-wheel-drive system. Rock-Trac featured a shift-on-the-fly switch case with a snail’s tempo four:1 gear discount, although it wasn’t meant to be pushed on dry pavement. Jeep provided the Rubicon for each the usual Wrangler and the Limitless, which develop into a four-door for 2007.
2014 Jeep Wrangler Willys Wheeler Version
Jeep channeled its historical past with the Willys Wheeler package deal for the JK. The truck’s Willys title honored the corporate that designed and constructed the primary army jeeps. When it comes to functionality, it cut up the distinction between commonplace Wranglers and the Rubicon with its knobby tires, rock rails, and limited-slip differential. It was additionally a lot less expensive than an equal Rubicon; a pleasant Wrangler Willys Wheeler price about $33,000, which was about the place a base Rubicon started. Jeep constructed the Willys Wheeler by way of 2017. It’s not a collectible but, but when we had been to wager on any JK, the Willys Wheeler can be it.
2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon Launch Version
Jeep returned to the pickup truck market with its long-awaited Gladiator. The truck hit the highway in mid-2019 using on a lengthened Wrangler platform with beefed-up axles and a pickup mattress behind its open-top crew-cab physique. The automaker provided a single-day pre-order program for the primary four,190 examples (a contrived reference to the 419 space code in Toledo the place the vans are constructed). For $62,310, early adopters acquired a totally loaded Gladiator Rubicon with some particular badges and loads of bragging rights.
—Andrew Ganz contributed to this story