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Jeep Wrangler on steroids built with military in mind

Chrysler teams up with the Jankel Group to produce J8 Jeep for military market.

Jankel Group

Jeep stakeholders reasserted their intention to regain a share of the international military market at the Defence Systems & Equipment International Exhibition in London this week.

Chrysler has teamed up with the Jankel Group to market a new tactical version of the commercially available Jeep Unlimited. The Jeep J8 (it's the eighth version of the Wrangler) has been extensively modified but retains the long wheelbase, drive train, and distinctive profile (PDF).

The J8 will be available in 12 configurations including light patrol, pickup truck, personnel carrier, armored, and ambulance variants.

"What the J8 is, really, is a tremendously capable and flexible platform for modifications," said Jack Robinson, Jeep's government and military sales general manager. "Our business model is to have Jankel, JGMS' parent company, work with Jeep engineering to create a family of vehicles."

Chrysler reinforced the frame; added heavy-duty brakes, radiator, and suspension; upgraded the axles; and added a rugged air filtration system designed to withstand fives hours in a desert sandstorm. It then dropped in a VM Motori 2.8L, four-cylinder turbo diesel engine. The company adapted many of the upgrade parts from its Dodge truck.

Options available from Jankel's armor shop will include add-on roll-bars, tubular mounts for weapons and accessories, a weapon turret, a folding windshield, ballistic armor, and the essential convertible soft-top.

American Expeditionary Vehicles already offers a civilian version of a military-focused Wrangler--the EV J8 MILSPEC, calling it the most durable Jeep platform ever offered to the U.S. public. It comes completely assembled, but you have to add your own power--either the diesel or a 5.7L HEMI V8.

Assembly of Jankel's version will take place in South Carolina, with sticker prices starting at $30,000. Urban soccer moms, take note.