AEV making Jeep J8 MILSPEC available for U.S. civilians

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The hardcore Jeep J8 is a stripped-down, no-nonsense offroader

The hardcore Jeep J8 is a stripped-down, no-nonsense offroader

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Imagine it: the sheer irony of a Jeep - the quintessential American military vehicle - being available only to foreign militaries and governments. Until American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) stepped in to supply the Jeep J8 to regular people, that's exactly how things stood.

But now American civilians can get their hands on the stripped-down, beefed-up super-Jeeps, though there are some steps to go through before it'll be road-ready.

These aren't aftermarket conversions of civilian equipment either - these are the real-deal, military-grade Jeep J8s that are being sold overseas. They are available in either three-door or five-door variants, but both are built on the same Wrangler Unlimited platform.

"Hardcore off-road enthusiasts have been asking for a vehicle like this for years, no frills and setup for a choice of diesel or V8 power and built with extra heavy-duty components,” said Dave Harriton, CEO of American Expedition Vehicles. “It’s certainly not for everyone, but that’s all part of the appeal. Being able to offer even limited quantities to the American public is really a dream come true for AEV. First, it’s a perfect match with our niche manufacturing and distribution channels, and second, the J8 is a unique part of history that we’re proud to be part of."

The powertrain has to be sourced separately from the chassis package, but AEV does have independent dealers that can supply both the standard 174hp/339lb-ft (130kW/460Nm) 2.8L four-cylinder diesel or a 330hp (246kW/508Nm)) 5.7L HEMI V8 gasoline engine. The chassis itself is assembled in Detroit by AEV, fully finished with paint, upholstery, wheels and tires, but sans engine and transmission.

The J8 gets a range of upgrades over a standard Jeep, including a Dana 44 front and Dana 60 rear axles, plus rear leaf springs and a heavy-duty frame that together boost the J8's tow capacity to 3,500lb and payload rating to 2,500lb.

Right now, however, AEV is simply taking orders through its site. Once it has enough to begin production, a $10,000 deposit will be due in order to secure your place in line. No word yet on final pricing, though AEV says owners should expect a total investment of about $50,000.
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Comments (6)
  1. $50,000 is a lot for a Wrangler with some beefier components.

    Just buy a Wrangler Rubicon, and then have a local off-road shop put on modifactions to your taste. You'll spend lots less and wind up with something really capable...

  2. I suppose the extra expense is from the engineering required to shoehorn the Hemi in. But why does it make less than any current, factory 5.7? Still, a lot more appealing than a Hummer, and it will actually fit between trees, so you can actually offroad in places other than the Arabian peninsula. We haven't had something like this since the original surplus Willys and Ford jeeps and the Toyota FJ40.

  3. Oh, BTW Gus, Icon charge over $100k for their small block powered FJ40 recreations, so there probably are people willing to fork over 50 grand for a Hemi Jeep (though I'm not among them).

  4. Wish Jeep offered a diesel in the Wrangler

  5. The engineering for shoe-horning in the Hemi is done as AEV sells that swap for most Jeeps. The small print not noted here is that these are intended for off-road use only, so if you want to license one you'll need to take your chances at the DMV.

    AEV is also offering the Italian made diesel that was sold in the Liberty through 2007.

  6. Man.... this thing with a diesel engine would be the bomb.. good mileage and awesome torque... I'd buy one if you could get it on the road... what would be the issue with mating it with a currently legal (diesel) power train? what is otherwise missing on it that would make it illegal to use on public roads?

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