Great Rides of Summer Week: A Two-Story Jeep Wrangler
It wasn't long ago that I saw a Top Gear episode where those three gentlemen each "built" an RV. Richard Hammond had a Land Rover 110-based motorhome that "grew," James May's Lotus-inspired device was somewhat cleverly compact, and Jeremy Clarkson's tipsy Citroen CX colossus, complete with Japanese contemplation area, is shown here on the right.
They had previously done a show on caravaning that ended in, of course, hilarious disaster. And needless to say, before this "Build your own RV" show was over I was again rolling in speechless hysterics, literally falling out of this chair. I've frequently explored the prospect of building my own camping vehicle, pushing my living-space-expanding quasi-engineering skills to the limit, but none of my ideas even closely approached the extremes that these fellows (And the TopGear writers and producers) had come up with.
So in a recent Car Lust Weekly Open Thread, I asked for submissions ideas for our upcoming "Great Rides of Summer" week. Commentor "RipRip" mentioned the Jeep Wrangler, and he (Or she?) could not have been more Right On! I've never owned a Jeep, but frequently have tried to buy one as they turned up for sale in the neighborhood. One of these open-top trucks would make a great vehicle to play with here on the farm, be great to shuttle gasoline and diesel fuel containers with, and would be fun to just putt putt around in. But a purchase deal has just never worked out.
However, unlike Clarkson's contraption, this vehicle is quite functional and practical, and likely to remain on all four wheels through the night, also unlike Clarkson's camper.
This particular vehicle is called the 2009 Jeep Wrangler Overland by Mopar. It's based on a 2009 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon, and by the looks of it, this should be a great Summer ride for both day and night times.
But I'm not sure if it would be a hit at a drive-in movie. The awning on one's right might approach into the space of that theatre patron. Likewise, the ladder on the Jeep's left, a dual-purpose support and escape system, could infringe on your other neighbor's privacy.
So abandon any tight-quarters campering thoughts and quickly head to the great outdoors... specifically, a desert or experimental lunar landscape some- where. This vehicle will stylishly get you there. According to Jeep's own press release, "Enhancing off-road travel is an American Expedition Vehicles’ (AEV), Nth Degree, 3-inch suspension lift, and a Full Traction rear sway bar. The lift allows aggressive 35-inch tires mounted on 17-inch steel Mopar winter/ off-road wheels to fit under the Jeep. Additional off-road protection at the front and rear is provided by AEV steel bumpers, and for added security, a Warn 9.5ti winch."
"In order to prepare the Jeep Wrangler Overland for desert duty, an AEV Jeep Wrangler heat-reduction hood and snorkel kit is fitted to the vehicle. Mopar windshield-mounted off-road lights and Daystar bumper-mounted lights provide additional lighting for nighttime and off-road driving."
Also from their press release, "To increase cargo capacity for hauling gear, the Jeep Wrangler Overland’s rear seats are replaced with a large, flat, rubberized utility floor. Mounted to the cargo rack is an all-new ARB two-person Simpson II rooftop-mounted tent and touring awning. The interior of the Jeep Wrangler Overland features water-resistant Mopar front-seat covers, rugged Mopar slush mats, a Daystar dash bin, and lower switch panel that powers added accessories." Thank you, Jeep/Mopar.
So this Jeep Wrangler Overland becomes a great ride of Summer by providing excellent off-road and desert-specific capabilities, along with some of the comforts of home. Though I didn't see any mention of central air conditioning, a Japanese contemplation area, a kitchenette, nor a loo.
And of course, there's nothing wrong with any Jeep as a "Great Ride of Summer."
--That Car Guy (Chuck)