Finally, a Jeep Wrangler Pickup—in Kit Form

July 22nd, 2011

Jeep Wrangler JK-8

The Mopar Division of Chrysler has come up with a kit called the JK-8 that converts the four-door Wrangler Unlimited into a pickup. Jeep owners have been seeking a pickup model for a long time.

After all, who uses the back seat of a Jeep for anything but hauling dogs, jerry cans and trash?

Jeep finally got the message that such a kit could help fill the small-pickup hole in the market, with off-road capability to boot. Mopar’s kit ($5,499) transforms your Wrangler Unlimited (base price, $25,545) into a very cool machine for transporting Honda generators, La-Z-Boy recliners, beer kegs and other necessaries.

The problem is you’re looking at $32,000 big bucks, plus installation, which can be done by a “motivated do-it-yourselfer” or, better, by a Jeep dealer. “The kit consists of new body panels that make up the pickup bed, a new bulkhead behind the front seats, new B-pillars, roll bar extensions, and a removable fiberglass roof.” Welding and painting are required.

Another kit has been offered for a while, this one called the AEV Brute (right). It fits any TJ Wrangler, comes 90 percent assembled, has an extended stamped steel bed plus a new hardtop, and looks to be the better package. But it costs $8,995, plus $500 shipping.

AEV converts TJ and JK Hemi V8s and various other Jeep models and provides aftermarket parts.

Some of you may remember the Jeep Scrambler from the 1980s. It was called the CJ8 and had no separate pickup bed, just an open back end on a longer wheelbase. About 20,000 were made. I think Jeep also made a full-size pickup around 1962.

Then Jeep made the Gladiator concept a few years ago—after the 1970s Gladiator pickup. This featured a turbodiesel, very small rear seat, suicide doors and an expandable pickup bed. That would clearly have been an expensive beast to produce and so went nowhere.

Maybe Chrysler is looking at the JK-8 kit as a way to test the market for small, strong all-wheel-drive pickups. They do keep trying, don’t they?

Would you be in the market for a compact, sturdy AWD pickup if Chrysler produced it at a reasonable price?

—jgoods

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  1. panayoti
    | #1

    As mentioned earlier, they already did back in the late 80s and early 90s. It was a true Jeep truck with all the goodies in compact (s-10 sized) form, I owned one back then and other than sudden acceleration syndrome, it was a very competent vehicle called the Commanche. I will never understand why Jeep abandoned that market. It could be had for about $20K nicely appointed. With the current economy I would think they would get killed by the press for going to gas guzzling mode and I don’t think Marchione would be pleased with any bad press.

  2. | #2

    I can’t understand why they do things like this. You have to buy a car with rear seats, then a kit which will be installed by the dealer. Will he dump the rear bench, and everything replaced? This is not a correct way to do things…

  3. jgoods
    | #3

    @
    You are right: The whole thing is a little crazy and very expensive. I forgot about the Commanche, which panayoti mentions. That would be a good truck to bring back, though there may still be conflicts with Dodge/Ram. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeep_Comanche.

  4. | #4

    I still see a fair number of Comanche trucks in my area. Good lookin’ little rigs. A Jeep truck makes sense and fits with the brand, though the kit version is ridiculous.

  5. | #5

    @
    There is nothing compulsory that it has to be fixed by a dealer, we can make it fixed ourselves. And if we get it fixed by the dealer he may ask charge more.

  1. | #1
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