By on March 4, 2013

“So, I ordered myself a Jeep.”

“Awesome! What did you end up getting?”

“Loaded Sahara Unlimited, Gecko Green, tan leather, six-speed manual, just like you suggested.”

“Well, that is what I suggested alright… but…”

“But what?”

“I didn’t think you were actually going to do it.”

When TTAC alumnus Michael Karesh reviewed an automatic-transmission Sahara Unlimited last year, he enthused over the Jeep’s ability to be “steered with the throttle” and suggested that the manual-transmission variant might be even quicker than his tested automatic. Alas, he stated that the tires led to “mushy slides”, thus slightly reducing my enthusiasm for such a tail-happy beast. The last time I drove something that was both able to be steered with the throttle and did mushy sliding, it was a Camaro-Mustang-Challenge race car on used tires in the middle of a relatively long sprint race, and I found it to be a handful indeed.

Still, when my pal Curvy McLegalbriefs decided to go shopping for a Jeep last year I put in a vote for a manual-transmission Wrangler. She already owned a Grand Cherokee and a Crossfire so the Wrangler was simply going to be a toy for when she felt like bombing around the unimproved roads surrounding her century-old brick home, said domicile being located in the area known to readers of The Hunger Games as “District 12″. Still, it was a leap of faith; she didn’t know how to operate a stick-shift and our initial driving lessons in my Boxster, which took place after she’d ordered the Jeep, were marked by quite a bit of stalling and the occasional Ben-Kingsley-in-Sexy-Beast outburst from my place in the passenger seat.

Ten thousand miles later, she’s quite used to her green machine and she cheerfully zips it up and down very steep hills with no trouble whatsoever. I expected this would happen. She doesn’t give up easily. It’s part of her character. She grew up on a farm in the Midwest, studying the distant contrails overhead and planning her escape with meticulous precision. Cut to the present day, and she’s been everywhere from London to Guantanamo Bay. She has a bright future, a taste for vintage clothing, and no female friends whatsoever.

When a friend of mine asked me to come out to Chicago for a weekend and play bass for a guitar-club jam at some crappy dive bar halfway between the lake and O’Hare Airport, I looked at the distance (760 miles roundtrip), the equipment I’d need to bring for the trip (one SWR 4×10 cabinet, one amp rack, one Fender Jaco Pastorius Artist fretless four-string, one Carvin SB5000 five-string with a flamed koa top), and the weather (ten degrees above zero, snow predicted). I then asked C. McL if I could borrow the Jeep. She agreed, on the condition that she come along to keep me out of trouble. I had no objections.

Stick-shift Wranglers of the current generation are pretty rare. In fact, I’d never driven one before, since the press fleet at the intro was mostly automatics and I’m no longer on the Chrysler loaner list. My first impressions as we loaded the Jeep with two hundred-plus pounds of gear and pulled away towards Chicago were mostly negative. The clutch has a long pedal travel but ninety percent of it is superfluous. The long “bite zone” that I really appreciated in my old five-speed Discovery isn’t present here. Off-road, that would matter. Nor is the shifter up the standards of my ’97 Rover. Not even close. It’s long, agricultural, and extremely vague. My admiration for my traveling companion grew as I rowed the gears on the way out of my neighborhood. Was I in fourth or sixth? Only the lugging Pentastar knew for sure.

Speaking of which… Chrysler’s V-6 is my favorite among the current crop of big-power domestic sixes, well ahead of the DI Chevy in second place and the 3.7 Duratec in a distant, thrashy third. In the Chrysler 200, the Pentastar is fantastic. In the Caravan, it’s good. In the Wrangler, it feels overmatched. It needs to rev to make anything happen and it appears to have none of the casual thrust the old four-liter Jeep engine possessed in spades. Surely there’s a bit of perspective shear at work here, as I’m certain the 4.0 was weaker than the Pentastar everywhere a dyno could measure, but there you go. To make this Wrangler move with traffic, you have to shift aggressively and keep the hammer down. The observed fuel economy of 16.5mpg I saw during the trip is a reflection of that.

It’s also a reflection of the Jeep’s barn-door silhouette. The conditions of the oral travel agreement to which C. McL and I both agreed prior to the trip stated that my iPod would be plugged into the uConnect head unit for the duration, and that I would select the music. Unfortunately for me, my old 160GB iPod Classic doesn’t work with the uConnect head, so instead we listened to a hellish confection of Muse, Mumford & Sons, and the Zac Brown Band on various Sirius channels. In those conditions, I was glad that wind noise at 80mph and above makes the stereo almost useless. We stopped at Sweetwater Sound in Fort Wayne to pick up a 1/8″ cable, but cranking up to hear the quiet parts of “Blue Train” made the loud parts unbearable. Back to Mumford & Sons.

I’d never been in a Wrangler that rode particularly well, and I still haven’t, but this Sahara is far from the CJ-5s of my youth. The super-long (by Jeep standards) wheelbase spaces the bumps out and the tooth-rattling reaction to speedbumps I remember from various BMX-related trips in soft-top YJs is gone. As we entered Chicago proper, the Wrangler came into its element a bit. The pockmarked, off-camber streets of America’s Second City (All the hassle of New York, with none of the good parts!) didn’t bother it much. The Pentastar proved capable of pulling hard enough in first and second to make the gaps where required. The high driving position offered me a chance to stare Cayenne drivers down as I signaled my desire to acquire their current lane positions, by force if necessary. The long throws of the shifter never became second nature to me but my gearchanges became slightly less deliberate after a while.

To unload my gear at the bar, I had to make a sharp U-turn and pop up a curb, and the Wrangler handled that task at least as well as my Town Car would have. Perhaps more usefully, people in the immediate vicinity smiled at my actions, because — hey — I’m in a bright green Jeep, how bad of a guy can I be? In fact, I repeatedly noticed that kind of goodwill shown to the Sahara over the course of the weekend, including a fellow who stopped in the middle of the road of Chicago Music Exchange to offer me a paid-up parking meter pass. He wasn’t even in a Jeep; he was driving an F-150. But he was a fan.

Tuning up my Jaco bass, I confirmed what I had suspected: the combination of ten-degree external temperatures, an uninsulated fiberglass top, and an overmatched HVAC system had combined to detune the instrument’s low string from E to C#. That’s great if you’re Stanley Clarke and you’re about to hold down the low end on a Return to Forever song but for me it was a worrisome sign that extended Jeep trips would be bad news for wooden instruments. After half an hour in the bar things were back to normal, but in the interest of reviewing the Wrangler for a wide audience I should note that I’d hesitate before carrying precious items through the winter in this vehicle, whether we’re talking a PRS Private Stock with mammoth-ivory and paua heart bird inlays or something less expensive, like a human heart packed in ice. Luckily I left the PRS at home and I’ve never had a human heart of any kind.

To my immense satisfaction, the gig broke up at midnight or so, allowing me to leave the Wrangler on the top floor of the Intercontinental Hotel’s parking garage and get a full night’s worth of sleep before heading home the next day. Despite numerous attempts to do so, I never managed to steer the Jeep with the throttle, possibly because I was being a bit of a wimp. There’s nothing like the threat of an SWR bass cabinet hitting you in the back to calm down the ol’ hooning impulse. By the same token, I never managed to turn the tires to mush of any kind. They seemed fine. I made a couple of aggressive moves in the very short spaces between tollbooths on Chicago’s so-called freeway system and was never particularly disappointed in the Wrangler’s response. It wasn’t as good as my old Rovers in that respect either but neither did it ever give any sign that it was about to roll over or do anything traditionally Jeepy. The brakes were strong and dependable. The dynamic package is perfectly up to the standards of the modern road environment.

At the end of the trip, I briefly considered whether I’d buy one of these for myself. I had to conclude that the answer was “not really”. I don’t need the Jeep’s off-road capability and if I found myself doing a lot of out-of-town gigs in bad weather I’d probably just put snow tires on an AWD minivan. Still, it’s a charming and utterly unique vehicle in a marketplace that is increasingly converging towards some sort of One Tall Wagon To Rule Them All. More than anything, the Wrangler points out what crap Land Rover’s turning out nowadays. Bloated junk that won’t hold up or travel through rough conditions like the Wrangler can, at half again the money. Depressing. I’d rather have this Wrangler than any current LR product… but I’d rather have my ’97 Discovery, suitably updated with modern electronics, over the Wrangler.

For my little attorney friend, the Wrangler is just great. She’s very good at driving it now and she likes being able to make plans regardless of weather or road surface. I’m glad she got it, and I’m glad it’s still available for her and people like her to buy. It’s still the real thing.

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67 Comments on “Trackday Diaries: He Wrangled ‘Till The Butcher Cut Him Down....”


  • avatar
    olddavid

    Reading this man reminds me of the first time I heard Led Zeppelin. Where had this music been all my life? By the time Presence came around, I’m done. This pseudo-hipster drivel is wearing thin. But what do I know? I’m not the demographic. Must have been a short deadline. “You kids quiet down and stay off my lawn”!

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    Excellent as always.

    I’m a Jeep fan. It started with a 83 CJ7 Renegade I fixed up in college and still have. At the time I test drove the new Wranglers with the 4.0L, and while far more civilized then my CJ, the engine didn’t have the low-end punch of my heavily modified 4.2L (both engines shared the same cylinder head, per modifications).

    Recently I had to bring my 06′ Liberty CRD Limited in for a recall and took to browse the lot while I waited. I took a test drive in a new Wrangler, equipped with the Pentastar and a manual. I found the new Jeep to be nice, and it rode like a Cadillac compared to my antique back home. But the engine was all wrong for it; no low end at all. Plus, it still tracked down the road like a short wheel base Jeep. Not the car to be bombing down the highway at 80mph, comfortably.

    Which made me think of my 06′ Liberty sitting back at the dealer. The low-end pull of it’s turbo diesel, the heated leather seats, the smoother ride, the quieter interior. Yet still, with a true transfer case and BFG AT’s could tackle anything I would throw at it. The perfect Jeep; not too soft, not too hard, not too hot, not too cold; and puts anything Land Rover offers to shame to boot.

    • 0 avatar
      Good ole dayz

      I too have a 2006 Liberty CRD Limited. Though it’s had numerous untimely quality faux pas — wiring harness chafing causing it to die (UAW installed improperly); numerous window regulator failures; steering rack at only 50k and rear end failure at only 70k — the low-end torque of that diesel along with actual 4wd capability is addicting. This was the first time I bought a new domestic, and am disappointed that the quality is still so far behind the Asian manufacturers — it’s amazing to me that after being behind for decades the “domestics” are either unwilling or unable to “meet” (much less exceed) on quality.

      In spite of the markedly lower quality of this UAW-domestic, I was sorely tempted by the idea of the new Grand Cherokee with the VM diesel … until I found out that it has urea injection and DPF, both of which my Liberty is blessedly free of.

      So I think I’ll nurse the Liberty along, and at some point relegate it to “second car” status and, since I’m not prepared to endure urea / DPF, go to a gas powered vehicle. This then will open up the world of Asians — though I’m not a fan of the styling, a 4Runner offers capability and (as the consumer magazines attest) far superior than UAW quality.

      • 0 avatar
        AMC_CJ

        Mine has 73K miles on it. I used it as a daily driver for one year, and now It’s a second car and we use it for trips, or towing are camper.

        I had two window regulators go out. The first right after I bought it. The second-one they had a updated part out; so far, so good (came down to the plastic holder of the worm gear, a terrible cheap engineering flaw).

        I had some speaker wires chaffe in the door. A quick fix.

        Only other problem I’ve had to date is just recently I’ve had it throw EGR codes. I clear them and ignore them. I might pull it apart and clean it out; something I do on our fleet of much larger trucks when the same problems occur.

        I do all my own work, and I’m a diesel-technician by trade. I love it, and I wouldn’t trade it in on a newer diesel packed with all the extra emissions stuff, and trust me, you’re making a good by not doing it either.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    Well written – this definitely gives a proper sense of the JK’s lack of car-like NVH properties. I’m sorry to hear about the on/off clutch pedal. I could get by with the tractor linkage on the shifter.

    A BMW X-5 it ain’t, but for someone who lives in an area with a lot of unimproved roads – the JK would be an option. Just take your time on the tarmac. Somewhere in between the JK and the civilized world lies the FJ Cruiser.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Yep…I know all of the shortcomings…loud. Got it. Agricultural. Check. Abysmal fuel economy. Double Check. I still want one. Just make mine a base two door, manual trans, proper hand crank windows (who puts power windows in a Wrangler????) soft top and steel wheels. I’m probably a glutton for punishment for wishing this…

    • 0 avatar
      tuckerdawg

      lol, I valet and I parked something very close to what you are describing. Didn’t even realize you could spec a new jeep this way until I banged my knee on the roll down window arm. It still had alloys and a hardtop though.

    • 0 avatar
      Les

      I’d opt for the power windows by simple virtue of my fat ass can’t Reach the hand-cranks when the door is closed. ;P

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        Thats not the Jeep way. If the weather is nice enough for the windows to be rolled down, then you should have the top off anyway. :)

        Besides, I probably go weeks without rolling down any windows in my car except the drivers side, and my Jeep would have A/C. I am not THAT much of a glutton for punishment.

    • 0 avatar
      justagirl

      Not a glutton for punishment…they are so much fun to drive! power windows/door locks are now standard, at least on the Sahara. Still manual seats on all trim levels, though.

  • avatar
    grzydj

    Unless she checked the options box off correctly, Something Whatever Mc Whatever Name Pants (SWMWNP) has a Jeep left with a worthless 3.21 gear ratio. The optional 3.73 gears makes a tremendous difference in driveability, and off-road prowess.

    • 0 avatar
      Byron Hurd

      I agree, these suckers are geared into the stratosphere in lower trims. Looks like you have to get the “Max Tow” package to get 3.73s without stepping up to a Rubicon.

      • 0 avatar
        grzydj

        Standalone option for the 3.73 gears is only $195.00 as of me writing this. That’s up $100.00 from a few months ago.

        I think Fiat/Chrysler caught onto the fact that lower gears are a really popular option for Jeep buyers and are cashing in. Smart business move.

        • 0 avatar
          Byron Hurd

          I couldn’t find them a la carte on the Jeep builder page. Where do they hide the accessories?

          • 0 avatar
            grzydj

            Under step three (Choose Options) under the “Build and Price” feature on the Jeep website, you’ll see that the 3.21 is the default gear ratio for the Sahara model in the Powertrain category. Scroll down to the 3.73 rear axle ratio and you’ll see that it retails for $195.00.

            I’d make a screen grab and post it for you, but I haven’t figured out how to post images on TTAC yet, or if it is even possible.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            grzydj, no you can’t post pictures, just as you can’t post links. Commenter use of HTML clogs up the plumbing of the web site, like a little kid with toys watching the water swirl in the toilet bowl.

    • 0 avatar
      justagirl

      I consulted other Jeep enthusiasts before I made my options selections, Jeep-lovers who do spend significant time off-roading, and not one suggested I take the 3.73. The 3.21 is supposed to have better fuel economy, and considering I will be driving it on an actual road 99.99% of the time, it seemed the better choice.

      • 0 avatar
        cgjeep

        3.73 does make a big difference driving wise. Fuel economy sucks either way. Better engine braking off road too. You’d really notice the difference if you ever put bigger tires on it.

  • avatar
    Junebug

    Indeed, I feel a Jeep coming into my garage within a few years. I have a 15 year old daughter that’s wanted one ever since I detailed an old 2005. What is it about girls and jeeps? Maybe it’s the Daisy Duke thing, but that show has been off the air for years!

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      Me too Junebug, and daughters as well. I’ve got a ’86 CJ-7 with a flight-to-maintenance ratio roughly equivalent to a B-2 Spirit bomber, but without the stealth, and with sh@ttier gas mileage. It’s also less safe and harder to control. Still, I’m in for a new one, due primarily to poor self-esteem.

      I’m going to hold out and see if the diesel rumors are true for the 2015. If it turns out to be a simple torqey non-turbo, I think that will be the ticket for me.

      • 0 avatar
        Wheeljack

        You won’t see a non-turbo diesel in today’s world. The variable geometry turbocharger used in diesels sold in this country is used to help control exhaust temps to regenerate the diesel particulate filter or clean the NOx adsorber catalyst on vehicles that use lean NOx trap (LNT) systems such as the 4cyl small Volkswagens.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      Ditto here, most girls in Florida like them because they make excellent beach cruisers. Problem is, they are not particularly safe, and wait until you get the insurance quotes for a teenager on one. Oh, and the 12mpg around town sure does cut into the fun, especially if dad is paying to fill the 16 or so gallon tank twice a week.

    • 0 avatar
      d996

      Jeep is the harley-davidson equivalent of the auto world. Most people buy them for the image it projects of themself. My theory on why young girls desire them is that driving a wrangler resembles riding a horse and all that sexual symbolism of horseback riding. They ride rough,your hair gets messed up with your top off and like an ideal romance novel stud it never talks bad about you.

    • 0 avatar
      AFX

      How about a nice Suzuki X90 instead ?. Or how about an AWD Subaru Justy with a lift kit ?. They made an AWD Topaz too. Maybe you could talk her into something more practical like a Mini Moke or a Haflinger ?. Have you considered a Baja Bug or a dunebuggy ?. LOL

  • avatar
    raph

    Hmmm…. I wonder if they make some sort of supercharger for the jeep? It would help solve the 3.21 cog issue and require fewer shifts in traffic without resorting to having to run deeper gears.

    • 0 avatar
      grzydj

      It would probably be cheaper to re-gear. AFAIK, the Pentastar was designed for forced induction at some point in the future, but I don’t know how it would take to it with a stock tune.

  • avatar
    jco

    i’m glad that in the current market, you can still buy something with a removable roof, full frame, and Dana 44s front and back. unfortunately i think the V6 is the wrong choice for the motor. oh well. *cough* diesel..

    also, after having owned cars forever but now only owning a large V8 suv, I don’t look forward to road trips as much. it’s great to have the hauling capability but the actual driving part is no fun anymore. harder to maintain speed, way more gas used, no ability to enjoy good roads. in a car doing 1000 miles per segment/day is nothing. in a truck it’s very very hard. i guess you only had about 400 miles at a time to do for your trip, but that’s still not 400 miles in a Panther.

    oh and that green color is really kind of, well.. I don’t want to be rude if the owner is reading this. the Army green color they used to sell was much more suited to the vehicle i thought.

    • 0 avatar
      AFX

      “I don’t want to be rude if the owner is reading this. the Army green color they used to sell was much more suited to the vehicle i thought.”

      I saw a white one this morning, it looked like a stretch limo postal Jeep.

    • 0 avatar
      justagirl

      The owner is reading this…and she doesn’t much care what people think about the color, though the vast majority of comments have been enthusiastically favorable. In the small town I live in, there are Jeeps EVERYWHERE. I counted on my way home from work today, and in the 2.5 miles I was on city streets, I met a dozen. All different colors. There are at least 3 other Gecko green Jeeps in town. And the Army green color they used to sell wasn’t an option in the 2012.

      • 0 avatar
        jco

        color is definitely a personal choice. I don’t like bright colors in general, though. but that’s me and not someone else and that’s cool. I don’t like the yellow or orange ones either.

        yeah, for some reason the white one with matched hardtop looks like a big postal jeep, for the white I like it with the black hardtop.

        and yes, anyone who has never crawled along a trail on a summer day with the top and doors removed hasn’t fully experienced what owning a wrangler is about.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        Gecko green is an awesome color, dont listen to the haters. Jeeps look best in bright colors… yellow, orange, bright blue, even bright red… fun colors for a fun car. Matte army green is cool for the military look and everything looks good in black. But white, forest green, maroon, etc, all blah boring colors.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    And now it’s time to hand the keys of the Fiat, er, Jeep Wrangler over to TTAC’s tame racing driver.

    Some say…

    He played Donna Lee – in the correct key – in front of a live audience by merely sliding up three fret markers and fingering the normally open string notes. And that he left Curvy McLegalbrief in the freezing parking garage overnight to guard his rig while he peacefully sawed logs in the hotel room upstairs.

    Alls we know is…he’s called the Jack.

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    The Nissan Xterra is the closest thing you can get to an old school Disco, down to the available stick and two tier roof.

  • avatar

    I collected gas receipts like a paranoic for a year, and the mileage hovers around 19 mpg. It goes down to 16 mpg on a trail and on highway fighting stiff headwind. The biggest difference, apparently, is the measured pace. Note that if there’s not aforementioned headwind, Wrangler easily cruises 75 mph at 18.5 mpg from New Mexico to California. I’m pretty sure Jack hoons it subconsiously. I remember that it took a lot of willpower to keep the RPM below 2000 when taking off a stop light at first.

    • 0 avatar
      justagirl

      I live in the mountains, where it has been very windy this winter, and my mixed city/highway average is about 19. When I’m in flatter terrain, I get 21-22 highway.

  • avatar
    Mikein08

    You want a comfortable, capable off-roader? Allow me to suggest a
    Nissan Xterra. Try one, you’ll like it.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      The Xterra is great too, love those. But there are other capable 4wd vehicles out there too, but none of them have a full convertible top. Guys (and girls) into Jeeps understand, its a Jeep thing, for real, and nothing out there is really like a real Jeep.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    I have always loved Jeeps and if money were no object, I would have one as a 3rd (or 4th) vehicle. I like the simplicity, the full convertible top, I wouldn’t get a luxo’d out Sahara either, make mine a base Sport with a lift kit and big tires please.

    But money is an object, and for the very occasional use I would have for a capable 4wd SUV I would rather drop $5k or so on an older Discovery.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    “the Wrangler points out what crap Land Rover’s turning out nowadays”
    To be fair the wrangler should be compared to the Defender but I hear you. The old Disco’s and Range Rovers really could go off road but with the new ones you need more money than brains to take them off road. By that I mean, they can go there, you would be silly to do it.

    • 0 avatar
      MeaCulpa

      The defender is some of the worst built cars there is. Reliability is very poor and they are getting squeezed by the japanese as a lot of people are picking up a L200 or similar instead of a defender.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        I think the North American Defenders had some issues but I have spent some time with one overseas and they are very good trucks. I prefered the 70 series Land Cruiser we had, but I am biased and the Land Rover, though quirky in its ergonomics to say the least was a solid truck.

  • avatar
    Mrb00st

    interesting about those old 4.0′s: on paper, they’re not very promising. 190bhp is almost 100 behind the pentastar, they’re ancient, they hate to rev… but every 4.0L stick Wrangler I’ve driven has been a sprightly little bastard, never feeling overworked, unrefined as rocks in a blender but great in it’s own way. The 3.8 that replaced it never felt as good, and the 3.6 is faster but still feels like it’s straining. Maybe it’s gearing and the higher torque peak.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Keep in mind that those 4.0 TJs were about a thousand pounds lighter than the minivan-powered parade floats they call Wranglers now.

      • 0 avatar
        thelaine

        That is one of the key things I love about the CJ, CJ. In the one month out of the year that it is running properly, it is so small and light that it just effortlessly runs over off-road obstacles which are a major challenge for larger, heavier vehicles. People can still overcome them with common sense and driving skill, but, lacking those, I can have endless fun with it.

      • 0 avatar
        Yeah_right

        “Mini-van powered parade float”!! Hoo hah. What a great putdown. I’m going to have to remember that one.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      Folks love straight sixes…The Ford 300, The Jeep 4.0 and previous incarnations, the Toyota F series motor, the slant 6, They all enjoy a devoted following and nearly everyone has some legendary tale of there durability. Personally, I once drove a vehicle with a Diesel benz inline 6 back to the Fob after an IED put a hole through the block so I am a believer.

  • avatar
    daviel

    Anybody who spends money on Carvin and at Sweetwater is OK in my book…and I’ll believe anything he says.

  • avatar

    I didn’t know you were off the Chrysler loaner list.

    And now, probably Jaguar/Land Rover too.

    Add that to Porsche, GM…

    Pretty soon, you’ll be able to start your own publication:

    The Truth Without Cars.

    And it’ll still be better than 99% of all other automotive journalism.

    • 0 avatar
      grzydj

      He could be a writer at Jalopnik!

      That’s meant to be a jab at Jalopnik for writing stupid content about all things non-automotive related, like escalators for example.

    • 0 avatar
      AFX

      Don’t forget, he just did those articles for Rodent Track. Now that he’s sold out to the lamestream media he’ll have to start giving in to the demands of the publishers in order to maintain goodwill with the advertisers. Pretty soon before you know it he’ll be writing jingles for Odorono and Heinz Baked Beans.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Jack, how has her Crossfire been? The two spark plug per cylinder Mercedes engine has kept me gun shy, I think they’re a fun car that has been hit hard with the depreciation stick.

    BTW the most tail happy beast I ever drove was a 1984 camper special C10 Chevy truck with a 350 4brl and three speed auto. It would slide sideways on a cloudy day let alone if it was actually raining or snowing.

    • 0 avatar
      justagirl

      I love the Crossfire! She’s a lot of fun to drive. Huge switch going between that (2005 Limited automatic coupe) and the Jeep. I did have a major electrical issue, but that wasn’t the Crossfire’s fault — the previous owner was an idiot. One of these days there might be an article about her.

  • avatar
    manbridge

    Jeep schmeeps, who cares?

    I’m congratulating you on the R&T gig. I’m guessing you were edited with a heavy hand but plenty of Baruthisms snuck past. The buff books need more guys like you.

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    “All the hassle of New York, with none of the good parts!”

    Ouch, you’re hitting below the belt! I’d like to point out that I don’t need a trust fund to live in the nice parts here.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      The author apparently fails to realize that bashing one of the world’s great cities just makes him look ignorant. But given the overall tone of the piece, perhaps that is his intent.

  • avatar
    AFX

    You guys are too narrow minded and not thinking out of the box enough. Any car can be “Jeepified”. The best Wrangler modification I ever saw was one that was for sale locally with a Renault LeCar body on it. I also saw a guy at the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix years ago that had an MGB on a 4×4 chassis. There’s also YouTube videos of Pinto wagon 4x4s, and well as Mustang, Camaro, and Corvette 4x4s. Google “Smart car 4×4″.

  • avatar
    niky

    Great as always. Every time I get into one of these babies, I’ve got a smile on my face. The driving position sucks, there’s too much axle movement over rough pavement and it feels just a bit juvenile… but the last one I drove was one with that excellent diesel, and it would do a four-wheel peel off the line, ever so slightly sideways. Was surprised that the plastic roof could keep out outside noise so well, too. Certainly worlds apart from the old CJ, and with the diesel torque, you don’t mind the extra weight as much.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    I am glad they still make this thing. I believe I will end up with one at some point by default as there are not too many vehicles like this around. An eventual Diesel would seal the deal. I thought they did better on gas though. I can seek 16 out of my Land Cruiser though that is with a light foot and on the highway but still it is much heavier, not much more aerodynamic, and has a 4 speed auto from a bus. I imagine the Jeep was pretty loaded though.

  • avatar
    kuman

    Does Land cruiser being sold there? For its ability, reliability and toughness and for else its almost unmatched. We had them for generation even the circa ’73 is still the king around some off road tracks. The one circa 98 ( land cruiser turbo VX ) is especially something. Its a Toyota and build like a slab of concrete.

    The other one is G class… i heard the latest one with AMG touches is one hell of a beast and still got that classic look.

  • avatar
    2012JKU

    My 12 is also Gecko. Hardly ever see another one around here. It is a head turner and a love it or hate it color. I didnt get a Sahara cause the painted fenders and tops are not to my tastes. I preferred the black to break things up. I passed on the 6 speed. The new 5 speed they put in for 12 is light years ahead of the old 4 speed. Yet to hear of any issues with the auto where there have been issues with the 6 speed. The 3.73 gears were a must have btw.My Sport has every option except power windows and locks. A Wrangler shouldnt have power windows in my opinion. I also wish the half door option wasnt so impossible to get.

    • 0 avatar
      justagirl

      I would have preferred black fenders as well, but there were options I couldn’t get on the Sport S and I didn’t want to pay $3k or so more for the Rubicon. I asked if I could have black since I was ordering it for build, and was shot down. After market always has options, but having the all-gecko, minus the blacktop, has grown on me. As for the windows, I have to put my window down every day at the security gate at work…I am really glad to have power windows, even if it isn’t Jeepy.

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    Hey – what happened to Jack’s original tags? Is this why he’s going to Farago’s new site?

  • avatar
    amca

    You exaggerate, Jack. Chicago has MOST, if not all, of the hassles of New York. But also VIRTUALLY ALL of the virtues, if not in quite such profusion.


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