• A Michigan Jeep Dealer Turned the Gladiator Into a CJ-8 Scrambler and It’s Awesome

Hire the genius behind this in your design team, Jeep

The last time we heard of the Jeep Scrambler was at this year’s Easter Jeep Safari when the automaker brought it along with other Gladiator-based concepts. Now, a Michigan dealer has paid tribute to the iconic model by turning a 2020 Gladiator into a CJ-8 Scrambler. The truck comes with the famous orange stripes and decals running across the body. It’s also priced a little high considering the changes made, but who are we to complain if we get to see this beauty on the roads?

The Punk’N Metallic Orange and Nacho Stripes Are Back!

This Gladiator has been customized tastefully to make it look like the original Scrambler. The truck comes with orange and red-ish stripes on the sides. The side of the hood features a bold ‘SCRAMBLER’ decal in the same shade. A similar graphic has been placed on the hood, between the vents. Jeep calls it "the Punk’N Metallic Orange and Nacho body-side stripes." The 17-inch bronze-painted alloys match with the overall scheme of the JT Scrambler.

The tailgate is slapped with huge ‘Jeep’ and ‘Scrambler’ lettering. This pickup truck is based on the 2020 Gladiator Sport S trim.

Other than the stuff mentioned, it features the roll hoop from the ’80s that comes with KC Daylighters. The wheels have been swapped with white trailer-style ones wrapped in all-terrain Dick Cepek tires. These look so much better than the ones Jeep features on the JT Scrambler concept.

No Changes Under The Hood

A Michigan Jeep Dealer Turned the Gladiator Into a CJ-8 Scrambler and It's Awesome
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On the inside, the Gladiator ‘Scrambler’ Sport S comes with stuff like power windows, power locking for the tailgate and doors, heated mirrors, and a seven-inch touchscreen UConnect system that supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It does not feature any changes mechanically, so the same 3.6-liter, V-6 Pentastar engine can be found under the hood. This engine finds its place in many Jeep products in different states of tunes. In here, it packs 285 ponies and 260 pound-feet of twist. The engine is paired to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Even the towing and payload capacities are rated the same as the standard Sport S trim - 7,650 and 1,600 pounds, respectively.

Since this was done at the dealership, we have no qualms even if there are no changes here.

But, in a perfect world scenario, we’d prefer a manual transmission to ring in all the more nostalgia.

Jeep Gladiator - U.S. specifications
Type and Description 60-degree, V-type, liquid-cooled
Displacement (cu. in. / cc) 220 cu. in. (3,604 cu. cm)
Bore x Stroke 3.78 x 3.27 (96 x 83)
Valve System Chain-driven DOHC, 24 valves and hydraulic end-pivot roller rockers
Fuel Injection Sequential, multiport, electronic, returnless
Construction Aluminum deep-skirt block, aluminum alloy heads
Compression Ratio 11.3:1
Power 285 HP @ 6,400 RPM
Torque 260 LB-FT @ 4,400 RPM

The original CJ-8 Scramblers were not road-rippers but possessed plenty of off-roading prowess. They were offered with two engine options – one of them was the Pontiac 151 mill, also known as the Iron Duke, that made 110 horses and 135 pound-feet of torque. The other one was a 4.2-liter, six-cylinder AMC 250 mill that made 115 horses and 210 pound-feet of torque. It featured a part-time four-wheel-drive system that came equipped with a Dana 30 axle at the front and an AMC 20 at the rear. Rear-wheel drive was engaged permanently, whereas the front could be engaged manually in off-road conditions. It also came with a 2.62:1 transfer case and a three-speed automatic gearbox.

It Is Quite Different From The Jeep Gladiator JT Scrambler Concept

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When compared to the JT Scrambler that Jeep brought to the 2019 Easter Jeep Safari, this dealership-level customized Scrambler feels more authentic and closer to the older pickup truck. Jeep’s rendition of the Scrambler came with Mopar’s cold-air intake present under the hood, along with a cat-back exhaust. It also featured a two-inch lift kit, thus helping you maneuver over stones, rocks, boulders, mountains, and anywhere you would want to take it. But because of the full-fledged rear bumper and fairly long rear overhang, the departure angle is not that great despite the two-inch lift kit.

However, Jeep was able to fit the JT Scrambler with 37-inch rubber wrapped around 17-inch bronze-painted wheels.

This design was nowhere as close as the one the Michigan dealer has fitted on the Gladiator.

The Emphasis Was On The Gladiator At The 2019 Easter Jeep Safari

The Gladiator has been in the news constantly ever since it was launched. Jeep brought six concepts of the Gladiator to the Easter Jeep Safari, stealing all the limelight from the Wrangler, which did not even make the cut this year. While one of the concepts was the Gladiator JT Scrambler, the others were Gladiator Gravity, Gladiator J6, Gladiator Flatbill, Gladiator Wayout, and the Gladiator M-715 Five-Quarter. Even FiftyTen, a German company that makes camping gears, showcased foldable camping gear and based it on the 2020 Gladiator.

The Gladiator Could Be Seen In Military Uniform As Well

Jeep's Return to Military Service Could Go Through The Gladiator Pickup
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Recently, Jeep is also in contention to win an important contract from the U.S. Military. It has partnered with AM General to build the Jeep Gladiator Extreme-Military Grade Truck. The name gives away that the truck is based on the Gladiator. AM General is known for the Humvee military vehicle. So, not a bad choice to pick a partner. The two companies showcased the vehicle at the Annual Meeting and Exposition of the Association of the U.S. Army. The truck rides on BFGoodrich tires and has two four-wheel-drive systems, locking differentials, and some big-ass skid plates that offer extra protection when approaching obstacles.

Final Thoughts

A Michigan Jeep Dealer Turned the Gladiator Into a CJ-8 Scrambler and It's Awesome
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The Michigan Dealer is demanding $51,220 for this Scrambler reincarnate.

Since it is based on the Sport S trim, which costs $36,745, it seems a little too much for just aesthetic changes. A $15,000 package elsewhere can get you a buttload of features. Even if you choose some from the Mopar range, you can get lots of stuff for that amount. I wonder why Jeep hasn’t introduced a similar package officially. It sure teased us by rolling out the JT Scrambler concept, but that’s obviously not available for sale.

Jeep has a long history with pickup trucks and owners would definitely like to have bits of history if they were offered a chance. The $15,000 premium for the Scrambler makeover has the potential to draw many buyers. If it does, Jeep should take notes and consider introducing such packages. If the folks at Jeep are reading this, you could call the series ‘Blast from the Past’. No, you don’t have to give us credit if you use this name. Well, you could actually. It sounds pretty cool.

Anyway, what are your thoughts on this makeover? Is it worth the extra moolah? Share your opinion with us in the comments section below.

Further reading

2020 Jeep Gladiator
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Read our full speculative review on the 2020 Jeep Gladiator.

2019 Jeep Gladiator JT Scrambler Concept
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Read our full review on the 2019 Jeep Gladiator JT Scrambler Concept.

Source: The Drive

Sidd Dhimaan
Sidd Dhimaan
Senior Editor, Truck Expert, EV Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. Fast forward to today, and he is currently serving as a senior editor, pickup truck expert, and EV expert.  Read full bio
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