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Gone Jeepin': An Enthusiast's Guide To The World Of Wranglers

Jeep Wranglers are arguably iconic vehicles that are not only unmistakable but also a source of great pride for those who drive them. The Wrangler, like most Jeep vehicles, has a culture all its own, with drivers sharing a high level of camaraderie. Wrangler drivers across the country even have a custom of acknowledging one another by offering what's known as a "Jeep Wave" in passing!

The Wrangler's history can be traced back to World War II and the creation of the first Jeep 4x4, which was the Willys Jeep. Originally a vehicle for military use, the Willys Jeep was a durable vehicle suitable for traveling over rough terrain. It was introduced to the public following the war and was named the Civilian Jeep, or CJ. These original Jeeps share the common characteristics that Wrangler enthusiasts have come to recognize, such as the flat slotted grill, short wheelbase, rounded headlamps, and removable top. The CJ would reach its height of popularity in the 1960s and '70s.

In the mid-1980s, the Jeep CJ was discontinued and the Wrangler YJ was developed, debuting as a 1987 model in 1986. Although it retained much of its traditional Jeep Willy look, its round headlights were made square and would remain that way until 1997. The Jeep Wrangler was also made more street-ready by giving it a wider track. Wrangler customers were first offered anti-lock brakes in 1993, and a year later came an optional automatic transmission on four-cylinder vehicles. In 1997, the TJ model was released, replacing the YJ and providing drivers with a better ride courtesy of its coil-spring suspension. Wranglers used four-speed automatic transmissions until 2003, when the Wrangler got its first four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive. Also in 2003, the Jeep Rubicon was introduced for customers interested in participating in off-road adventures. In 2007, the TJ model was replaced with the third-generation Wrangler JK, which was available with a standard six-cylinder engine and either two or four doors. The wider and longer fourth-generation JL debuted near the end of the year in 2017.

For true Wrangler fans, their Jeeps are more than just a means of routine transportation through freeway traffic, parking lots, and city streets. These rugged vehicles are an experience that's meant to be enjoyed to its fullest. For many, this means participating in the many types of Jeep or Wrangler events that allow them to mingle with other like-minded individuals. One such event is the popular Jeep Jamboree USA. Across the country, Jeep owners gather to form clubs and associations and explore rugged natural locations such as the Rubicon Trail. Other trails may also take drivers through deserts, mountains, and streams that allow them to challenge both their vehicles and themselves. Jeep drivers don't have to travel with a crowd when taking their Jeep for a spin, as there are many individuals who travel and enjoy the terrain by themselves or with a small group of friends. Additional popular activities include not only off-roading but also racing, dune riding, and rock-climbing. Jeep adventures are also held in countries outside of the U.S., although drivers will typically need to rent a vehicle if they are overseas and unable to bring their own.

Because they can travel where cars can't Jeeps are the ideal vehicle to customize and gear up. Online communities can help you get advice about modifications and necessary car parts as well as events you might want to attend, making them useful gathering points for Wrangler enthusiasts.

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