Article Search


Beefed up, stripped down Jeeps now available to civilian commandos


The military-grade Jeep Wrangler, the J8, was only sold to foreign militaries and governments...until now

A limited number of 2010 J8s will be made available to enthusiasts in the US from American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) as the AEV J8 MILSPEC.

Designed for military use, the J8 is designed to be three times more durable than their civilian counterparts.

The axles are both beefed up to a heavy duty Dana 44 front and a Dana 60 rear axle equipped with Dodge Ram brakes.

The frame is built for extreme use, and the rear suspension uses leaf springs to facilitate more than a 2500-pound payload capacity and a 3500-pound tow rating.

The J8 MILSPEC will feature either a VM 2.8-litre diesel engine rated at 174hp or a 5.7-litre V-8 HEMI rated at 330hp. Both engine choices will use a five-speed automatic transmission.

The vehicles also have a number of military-specific components, including tow loops that are rated for helicopter use, an air filter capable of running as long as five hours in zero visibility dust storms and remote-mounted batteries.

Don’t look for satellite navigation or leather seats, options are limited to paint colour (Desert Sand or Military Green), a choice of a three-door or five-door body styles and air conditioning.

"Hardcore off-road enthusiasts have been asking for a vehicle like this for years, no frills and setup for a choice of diesel or V8 power and built with extra heavy-duty components,” said Dave Harriton, CEO of American Expedition Vehicles. “It’s certainly not for everyone, but that’s all part of the appeal. Being able to offer even limited quantities to the American public is really a dream come true for AEV. First, it’s a perfect match with our niche manufacturing and distribution channels, and second, the J8 is a unique part of history that we’re proud to be part of."

Right now, however, AEV is simply taking orders through its site. AEV says owners should expect a total investment of about US$50,000 (NZ$82,500).

Auto Trader New Zealand