Skip to main content

The iconic Jeep Wrangler might follow in the Willys’ footsteps and enlist in the army

jeep wrangler gmv news specs capacities 2013 rubicon 10th anniversary edition
Hendrick Dynamics, a defense contractor based in North Carolina, has developed a heavily-modified Jeep Wrangler that’s ready to follow the path blazed by the Willys, the original Jeep, and report for duty on even the most remote battlefields in the world. Hendrick is one of a few contractors in the running to provide the United States Army with a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) off-roader.

The Ground Mobility Vehicle (GMV) prototype started life as a diesel-powered Wrangler Rubicon (pictured), a model that’s assembled in Toledo, Ohio, but that’s not offered to buyers in the United States. Developed largely for Europe, the oil-burning off-roader uses a 2.8-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel engine that sends 197 horsepower and a stout 339 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels. Hendrick has upgraded the electrical system from 12 to 24 volts, and it has fitted a beefier suspension setup as well as bigger brakes on both axles.

The U.S. Army is looking for a cheap and light unarmored vehicle capable of carrying troops and their gear from A to B, so Hendrick has tossed out the Wrangler’s top, doors, and body, and has added a full roll cage for the sake of safety. The two passengers riding in the front get seats, while the remaining six passengers have to settle for benches. Finally, the contractor has made a host of modifications to the Wrangler’s body to facilitate the task of transporting it in a plane’s cargo hold, and to allow soldiers to quickly install accessories, including guns, if needed.

All told, the Jeep Wrangler GMV prototype costs about $75,000 to build, a sum that represents about $40,000 more than a base-model Rubicon. That sounds like a lot for a Wrangler, but Hendrick explains the off-roader is relatively affordable because it shares a handful of components with a mass-produced model. Additionally, company officials stress that running costs are low because Wrangler parts are readily available most anywhere in the world.

The Army hasn’t started testing prototypes yet, though it’s expected to release a request for proposals by the end of the year.

Editors' Recommendations

Ronan Glon
Ronan Glon is an American automotive and tech journalist based in southern France. As a long-time contributor to Digital…
Here is the turbocharged, high-performance Jeep Wrangler of your dreams
Jeep Wrangler with Supra power

When you think of a Jeep Wrangler, odds are you imagine taking the top off and driving far off the beaten path. Maybe even crossing a river, or taking a trip down to Moab for the annual Jeep Safari. One enthusiast in Los Angeles looked at a TJ-generation Wrangler and immediately thought about performance. Better yet, he built his dream rig, and how he's selling it.

This is no ordinary 1997 TJ-generation Wrangler. The stock engine has been replaced by a straight-six borrowed from a Toyota Supra. A large turbo that sticks out of the hood like a groundhog popping out of its burrow helps the six-cylinder make 350 horsepower. The stock five-speed manual transmission sends power to the rear wheels only.

Read more
Taller, more rugged Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Recon coming to a trail near you
2017 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Recon

With Jeep poised to introduce the next-generation Wrangler before the end of the year, the company is sending off the current model with new version named Recon that's designed to make short work of rugged terrain.

The Recon is based on the Wrangler Rubicon, a variant that stands out as one of the most capable off-roaders on the market. Jeep has added a beefier front axle with strengthened tubes and heavy-duty end forgings, more durable differential covers on both ends, a half-inch suspension lift, and rock rails shortened to fit up to 35-inch tires.

Read more
Jeep wants to dominate every SUV segment, and it might do just that
interview with jeep ceo mike manley jeepinterview press 09

Note: this interview took place before FCA was accused of applying emissions-cheating devices to its 3.0 liter Diesel engine. Mike Manley made no mention of this topic to Digital Trends.
Jeep is on the cusp of its largest expansion in years.
After a 12 percent increase in sales this past year, FCA announced a billion-dollar investment in its Warren, Michigan and Toledo, Ohio plants – where Jeep plans to build at least three new models. An all-new Compass and Wrangler will go on sale this year, plus the Hellcat-powered Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. The American automaker has become competitive in the majority of SUV segments, and looks poised to enter all remaining ones in the near future.

Digital Trends caught up with Jeep CEO Mike Manley during this month’s Detroit Auto Show to get a clearer picture of Jeep’s product and brand vision.

Read more