Unbeknownst to this Jeep lover, Chrysler LLC began producing a military-spec Jeep Wrangler called the J8 for use by the Egyptian military in 2007. Now, American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) will be making a limited number of AEV J8 MILSPEC Jeeps for sale in the United States.
According to a Chrysler LLC press release from September 14, 2007 announcing the arrival of the military J8, “With the all-new 2007 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited as the starting point, Jeep engineers increased its capability and versatility.” (1)
Simply put, but that is pretty much what happened.
When Chrysler’s engineers were finished, the civilian Wrangler Unlimited was transformed to meet and surpass the military capacities of its historic predecessors. The finished product sports a 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine similar to the 2.8-litre diesel once offered in the Jeep Liberty. The J8 version of the 2.8 produces 158 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission granting the J8 a maximum towing capacity of 7,716 lbs. Overall, the frame of the J8 was beefed up and the leaf spring suspension was modified to allow larger payloads of up to 2,952 lbs.
Of whatever the Egyptians want to load it with.
The J8 also features an air-intake system with special filtration and a hood-mounted snorkel that enables the J8 to wade in water up to 762 mm (30 in.) deep and operate in sandstorm conditions for up to five hours.
Other nifty features include tow loops rated for helicopter use and remote-mounted batteries.
Chrysler produced the J8 in Detroit for assembly in Egypt, but the J8 was never made available to Civilians in North America.
Now, AEV will be making roughly 110 J8 MILSPEC vehicles to be assembled in Detroit using American-made J8 parts they managed to scavenge from Egypt.
But don’t flip your wig just yet:
The AEV J8 MILSPEC will be sold as a rolling chassis, without an engine or transmission.
AEV spokesman David Harriton said that all told, buyers of the J8 should expect to spend about $50,000 to purchase the rolling chassis from AEV and have the engine/transmission installed. (2)
Even so, here’s what AEV can offer Jeep enthusiasts with their J8 replica:
The chassis will be delivered painted, upholstered, fully instrumented and pre-wired to accept either a 5.7-litre Hemi V-8 or an updated version of the four-cylinder 2.8-litre VM Motori diesel much like the engine used in Chrysler’s J8.
The rest of AEV’s version comes with a Dana 44 front axle and a Dana 60 in the rear with a Command Trac transfer case featuring a 2.72:1 low range, driveshaft included. The AEV J8 also comes with antilock brakes from the Dodge Ram, air conditioning and a 12-volt electrical system. Military specific parts will include the helicopter tow loops, desert snorkel and remote-mounted batteries.
The whole ensemble comes in either a two-door or four-door, painted in Desert Sand or Military green.
If any of the Jeep lovers out there have 50 grand to drop on what appears to be a close to genuine replica J8 (if you you’re careful to do your research and order correctly) contact AEV at 248-926-0256 or visit www.aev-conversions.com to learn more. I wouldn’t bank on getting Chrysler to sell you the real thing anytime soon.