- The 2014 Jeep Wrangler Willys Wheeler Edition, a tribute to the brand's earliest civilian models, debuts at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show.
- The 2014 Jeep Wrangler Willys Wheeler Edition features enhanced off-road capability and styling cues that evoke the brand's history.
- The two-door model starts at $26,790.
LOS ANGELES — The 2014 Jeep Wrangler Willys Wheeler Edition, a tribute to the brand's earliest civilian models, debuts at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show.
The special edition will be available from Jeep dealers beginning in early January 2014. Prices for the two-door model start at $26,790, including a $995 destination charge, and the four-door version starts at $30,590, including shipping.
The 2014 Wrangler Willys Wheeler Edition is based on the existing Wrangler Sport, beefed up for enhanced off-road performance.
Upgraded hardware includes a Dana 44 rear axle with Trac-Lok limited-slip rear differential and 3.73 gears, BFGoodrich KM Mud Terrain tires, rock rails and a new Jeep Trail Rated Kit that includes a D-Ring, tow strap and gloves in a Jeep-branded bag.
The 2014 Wrangler Willys Wheeler Edition also features special exterior styling treatment that includes a gloss black grille with black Jeep badge, gloss black front and rear bumper appliques, historic "4 Wheel Drive" rear tailgate decal, "Willys" hood decals and unique high-gloss black 17-inch aluminum wheels. Also standard are a Sunrider soft top and deep-tint sunscreen rear windows.
Both body styles are available in any standard Jeep Wrangler color. Jeep's half doors are optional.
Inside, the special edition includes the Jeep Connectivity Group, featuring SiriusXM satellite radio, and Sport S-based models come with the Power Convenience Group and tire-pressure monitoring system.
The 2014 Jeep Wrangler Willys Wheeler Edition is powered by the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine that produces 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The standard transmission is a six-speed manual, while a five-speed automatic is available.
"The new Jeep Wrangler Willys Wheeler Edition is a Jeep purist's dream, delivering a Jeep vehicle that harkens back to the original, classic CJs of the 1940s," said Mike Manley, president and CEO for the Jeep brand. "This new Jeep vehicle delivers pure functionality and rugged capability in a unique package that recognizes the origins of the brand."
Those origins go back to 1941, when Willys and Ford began producing Jeeps for the U.S. military. Between them, the two companies produced almost 650,000 of the 4WD utility vehicles, which quickly proved themselves in every theater of operation.
So successful was the concept, that Willys trademarked the Jeep brand and began producing the first civilian version, the CJ-2A, in 1945. Marketed primarily to farmers, construction workers and others in need of a sturdy workhorse, it provided a few more amenities than military models — but only a few.
Through the years, the brand changed hands from Willys to Kaiser to American Motors to Chrysler. The CJ series also gradually got larger and plusher, with automatic transmissions, power options, increasingly comfortable interiors, larger engines and a smoother ride.
The CJ's successor, the Wrangler series, although considerably modernized, continues to invoke styling cues from those first Jeeps. And with the 2014 Jeep Wrangler Willys Wheeler Edition, Chrysler clearly intends to make the most of a tradition that has lasted more than 70 years.
Edmunds says: The Wrangler may have gotten bigger and comfier over the years, but the 2014 Jeep Wrangler Willys Wheeler Edition is a creditable shoutout to history.