The last of the great Jeep Wranglers wears its military heritage on its sleeve.
There are very few contemporary vehicles to which the term timelessly cool can be applied, but the Jeep Wrangler 75th anniversary edition is one of them. Sure, purists will point out that the civilian Jeep first manufactured in 1945 was the CJ-2A, not the Wrangler, which was launched in 1986. But however you slice it and whatever you call it, the Wrangler, in all its four-wheel-drive, stripped-down simplicity, is a direct descendant of the legendary CJ, and it’s still the most bang-for-your-buck badass utilitarian vehicle you can get. Think we’re being over dramatic? Name another ride with the same kind of history?
The fact that the Jeep (originally called the Willys MB) began as a basic mode of transportation for US troops in World War II is the foundation of its decades-long cred. The association isn’t just historical: In 2006, Wrangler production moved to the same Toledo, Ohio plant that assembled the military Jeeps. Under the hood, the speciality Jeep is equipped with the same 3.6-liter V6 engine found in other Wranglers, and it puts out a hearty 213kW and 353Nm of torque. For the most part, its performance features are the same as on standard models, aside from some extra off-road equipment. But most people aren’t going to challenge the beefy four-by-four’s capabilities. It’s on the aesthetic front that this special edition shines: The most arresting elements can be found in such details as the low-gloss bronze accents and commemorative badging, especially when paired on a “sarge” green model — just one of six colour options for the limited- edition Wrangler. These customisations push the starting price well past the entry level, but considering the Wrangler is one of the last models to be built on Jeep’s popular JK platform, which will end its decade-long run in 2017, you can justify the expenditure as an investment in a collectible. And with Jeep’s rich backstory and outstanding performance, no one will challenge your thinking. — Marcus Amick
Photography by Chantal Anderson