Most Jeep enthusiasts are aware that the modern-day Wrangler is a distant descendant of the Willys-Overland CJ that was used in World War II, but Jeep has decided to make that connection even more evident with this special-edition model. The 2014 Jeep Wrangler Willys Wheeler Edition, which debuts at the 2013 Los Angeles auto show, is designed to commemorate the 1945 Willys-Overland CJ-2A off-roader.
The new vehicle is based on the 2014 Jeep Wrangler Sport, and is offered both in standard two-door and Unlimited four-door models. The lengthy list of upgrades applied to the Wrangler is intended to make it both more rugged, like the original Willys, and to look the part. Functional changes begin with a tougher Dana 44 rear axle with limited-slip differential, BG Goodrich KM Mud Terrain tires on 17-inch gloss-black aluminum wheels, and rock rails. In addition, the 2014 Jeep Wrangler Sport scores a D-ring tow hook, a tow strap, and gloves stored in a special Jeep-branded bag. As for visual heritage, the 2014 Jeep Wrangler Willys Wheeler Edition wears a gloss-black front grille, gloss-black bumpers, a "Willys" hood decal, and a satin-black "4 Wheel Drive" tailgate badge.
"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," Jeep brand CEO Mike Manley said in a statement.
There are no changes under the hood, where a 3.6-liter V-6 engine continues to deliver 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque to either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission.
After its debut at the Los Angeles show, the 2014 Jeep Wrangler Willys Wheeler Edition goes on sale in early 2014. Pricing for the two-door model starts at $26,790 (including a $995 destination fee), while the four-door Unlimited model costs $30,595. Those represent increases of $3400 versus a standard 2014 Jeep Wrangler or Wrangler Unlimited Sport.