The last real Jeep was made in 2006. It had 2 doors, an inline-6, and a manual transmission. Then in 2007, the new JK/JKU body-style Jeep came out with a 4-DOOR option. And with it, came the birth of the ‘mall crawler’. Jeep replaced our bulletproof 4.0, with a 3.8 V6 out of their minivan – carrying the spirit of a Town & Country. It was slow, bigger, heavier, and better at transporting humans. 

Until the 4-door Jeeps came along… 

You really had to be committed to the Jeep life. It’s wasn’t about ducks and light bars. Driving a Jeep evoked a sense a pride. It took real input, and an attentive driver. People didn’t question if you took it off-road, they knew you did. Why else would you have it? The thing was borderline miserable on the road. It had just enough room for you, your dog, a backpack and cooler. It was a lifestyle. 

When the first TJ (97-06 Wrangler) came out… 

It was the greatest vehicle Jeep had ever created. Jeep ditched the leaf springs from the previous YJ models, and introduced coil springs on straight axles. And with that, brought the greatest flex ever known. Not only was the articulation amazing, but in 2003 Jeep brought us the Rubicon model – with bigger Dana 44 front axles, lockers, and a 4:1 transfer case. 


It seemed like a good idea at the time! #jeep #jeeping #wheeling #offroad #automotive #wrangler #offroading #mudding #mud #dirt #fyp #foryou

♬ original sound – S3 Magazine


Then in 2004, Jeep 1-upped themselves again & rolled out the Wrangler Unlimited (LJ) 

Which gave 10″ more inches of wheelbase. In 2004, there wasn’t anything on the planet like the Jeep LJ (04-06) Rubicon. Sure they were ugly as sin in stock form. But with a lift and bigger tires, it’s still one of the best looking Wranglers to this day. The added wheel base, paired with the torquey 4.0, lockers, & transfer case… made the LJ a rock crawling machine. 

The MSRP for a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon in 2004 was $25,000. Which is funny, because that’s exactly what they’re still worth today… maybe even more if you have a nice example. 

But back to the point: 

4-door Jeeps are lame(??) TJ’s and LJ’s were actually the last real Jeeps(??) And if you don’t drive a 2-door manual, you don’t drive a Jeep(??) Actually none of those things are true. I built all of this up to say the opposite lol. Sneaky eh? The truth is… 

I have owned every model of Jeep Wrangler…  And hats to my brothers who rock the pre-2007 Jeeps. My heart loves the older stuff. It’s all so purpose-built and spartan. It takes sacrifice, and with that comes epic reward & authenticity. But with all of that said… God bless a 4-door Jeep too! 

The new Jeep Wranglers are better than ever 

They actually ride comfortably(ish) on the road, they have a sufficient amount of modern amenities, and they are incredibly capable off-road. And may favorite part: You can take your whole family! In 2007 when the first 4-door rolled out, it sent a tsunami through the off-road industry. See, what used to be considered a 3rd-vehicle or off-road toy, now became the family grocery getter. And over the next few years, you saw the explosion of the Jeep accessory business. That’s because all the sudden – you could rationalize a Jeep Wrangler as a ‘family car’. It made sense! The aftermarket for Jeeps went full throttle… and ultimately opened the gates to today’s vast overland segment.

Purists may say that the “new Jeep culture” is lame… 

But you can’t ignore how well the longer wheelbase vehicles wheel off-road. Jeep as a brand has listened to their customers, and they offer every imaginable package. Your current model Wrangler offers a 2-liter turbo, a 3.6 V6, 2-liter plug-in hybrid, or my favorite option… the 392 Hemi V8 (insert Tim Allen grunts). What a time to be alive! It’s truly a modern golden-era for Jeep. The Jeep Wrangler ranks as one of the all-time most customized vehicles. In the company of the VW Beetle, Honda Civic, and Ford F-Series. Talk to anyone from SEMA, and it’s one of the current kings for the most accessories sold in the modern era.

New or old, a Jeep Wrangler is one of the most fun vehicles to own.

In a landscape where new vehicles are going more & more the way of disconnected sanitized autonomous capsules… Jeeps are a bonafide vibe. A way of life that attaches the driver to the whole experience & opens them up to their surroundings. It’s freedom on 4 wheels. A Jeep Wrangler will take you more places than you can imagine. And it will grow a friend group that you didn’t even know you needed. Some of the stuff we do is corny, sure. But Jeeps reach so many different walks of life… that there’s always room for everybody. So when you see a fellow Jeeper on the road, you throw the deuces. You give ‘em a wave that dates back to World War 2… because you both know that you drive the most impractical, yet most fun vehicle on the road. 

So was the last real Jeep made in 2006? 

No – they still make real Jeeps. Honestly, they’re more capable than ever. And you can’t say that for most new vehicles. So let’s put this to rest, a real Jeep can be whatever you want it to be. Except a Liberty or a Patriot, those should be crushed. Y’all keep the shiny side up & the greasy side down. Jeep wave my Jeep fam.

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