It’s America’s Independence Day – the day we celebrate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, which ratified that the United States of America was no longer part of the British Empire. I know Brexit jokes are getting a bit old, but America did it before it was cool.
The Fourth of July is also a day for fireworks, parades, barbecues, fairs, picnics, and family reunions. For most of us, it’s also a long weekend spent on the road. We love to travel as much as any of you out there and this is why I put together a short list of cars we wish we could drive on Independence Day. And it’s not about supercars I can’t afford, but iconic vehicles I cannot buy because they don’t make them anymore.
I’m sure some of you would enjoy spending the Independence Day weekend in at least one of the cars in the list below as much as I would, so go ahead and have a closer look at the vehicles that should be revived in the modern era. Also, feel free to add your own cars to the list via the comments box at the bottom. Have a great Fourth of July, drive safe, and in case you had a beer or two, make sure you leave the driving to those that didn’t.
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Jeep Confirms Wagoneer, Grand Wagoneer & Pickup Truck
FCA Boss Sergio Marchionne has officially confirmed the long-rumored Jeep Wagoneer, Grand Wagoneer, and Wrangler Pickup at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show. The news serves as confirmation that Jeep will indeed seek to compete against big-name luxury brands like Range Rover, while expanding its Wrangler lineup to appeal to SUV and truck-leaning market trends. What’s more, news reports from the auto show floor say Marchionne confirmed both the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will ride on ladder-frame chassis.
This news is the cherry on top of FCA’s recent shake-up regarding its North American assembly plants and its committed investment into U.S. manufacturing and job creation.
Both the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will be built at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant in Michigan. Currently the Ram 1500 pickup is assembled here, but will move to the near-by Sterling Heights Assembly Plant, which is now free after FCA ended production of the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 sedans. FCA also announced Warren will also build the Ram Heavy Duty pickups, which are moving from Saltillo, Mexico. FCA did not mention whether the decision to relocate the Ram HD’s assembly to Michigan has anything to do with president-elect Donald Trump’s negative stance on the NAFTA trade deal.
The next-generation Jeep Wrangler will continue rolling off the same Toledo Assembly line in Ohio. The Wrangler Pickup will join the Wrangler here, as well. FCA says all of these moves will be completed by 2020.
This game of musical chairs isn’t coming cheap. FCA has committed to invest nearly $1 billion to revamp both the Warren Truck Assembly Plant and the Toledo Assembly Complex. Another $700 million will be invested retooling the Sterling Heights plant and another $350 million will be invested to retool the Belvidere Assembly Plant in Illinois to produce the Jeep Cherokee, which is moving from the Toledo plant to free space for the Wrangler Pickup.
FCA’s monetary investments will also create jobs – at least 4,000 new jobs, in fact.
Neither FCA nor Jeep made any indication as to what model year the Wagoneer, Grand Wagoneer, and Wrangler Pickup would fall under. The next-generation Wrangler SUV is expected for the 2018 model year.
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2019 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Reveals Its Face
Jeep has a bright future ahead as it prepares to launch several new models, including the 2018 Wrangler and this, the 2019 Grand Wagoneer. This dark photo was taken by cell phone of a poster presented at a recent Jeep dealership meeting. The grainy shots show the Grand Wagoneer’s front and rear angles, giving us the first glimpse at Jeep’s upcoming range-topping model.
The front of the Grand Wagoneer carries a similar appearance to the current Grand Cherokee, but with a more chiseled face. The short yet wide grille is flanked by headlights with seven lighting elements, likely LED. That matches the iconic seven-slot grille for count. There appears to be an opening in the bumper just above the lower chrome fascia and tow hooks, likely to keep its powertrain’s temperatures in check. The fog lights carry a similar LED theme as the headlights.
Out back, the dual exhaust outlets match the tow hooks’ styling up front. The taillights also feature seven lighting elements. A large chrome piece encompasses the license plate area and flows beneath the taillights.
This is the first time we’ve seen any physical evidence of the Grand Wagoneer. Not even a test mule has been spotted. Jeep will likely debut the Grand Wagoneer for the 2019 model year and target customers buying Range Rovers. FCA boss Sergio Marchionne and Jeep boss Mike Manley have both made comments about the Grand Wagoneer costing somewhere around $130,000. This would certainly make it the most expensive Jeep ever built. By logic, it will also be the most luxurious. Expect it to come with the latest FCA has to offer in active safety and autonomous driving technology, along with a respectable pedigree for off-roading. Like the Range Rover, we expect this Jeep will have a full-time 4WD system.
Jeep is likely to offer multiple powertrain choices here, including the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6, the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, and hopefully the 6.2-liter Hellcat V-8. The ZF eight-speed automatic will probably still be FCA’s transmission of mass choice in 2019, so there’s that.
We expect to hear more in the coming year, so stay tuned to TopSpeed for more information.
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Jeep’s Mike Manley Spills News on Compass, Patriot Replacement
Jeep Brand CEO Mike Manley recently divulged details regarding several of Jeep’s upcoming models, including the long-overdue replacement for the Compass and Patriot compact SUVs, known internally within Jeep as the C-SUV.
Speaking with Automotive News, Manley said the yet-unnamed crossover will debut in late September in Brazil, followed by a U.S. launch in November at the LA Auto Show. The small crossover will retain either the Compass or Patriot names and arrive in showrooms early within 2017. The Brazil debut was chosen to help celebrate FCA’s new Pernambuco assembly plant. The facility will also build the Renegade for Latin American counties.
Manley then divulged engineering news regarding the C-SUV’s structure. He says the new crossover will share the Renegade’s chassis, its FWD-based drivetrain, and the disconnecting rear axle on 4WD units. Engine choices are still unknown. Manley also revealed U.S.-spec versions will be built in Toluca, Mexico. This is a departure from the Compass’ current birthplace in Belvidere, Illinois – perhaps allowing Jeep to build the upcoming Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer SUVs.
Speaking of those, Manley mentioned the pair shouldn’t be thought of as separate vehicles, but rather a trim levels. This is counter to many reports suggesting the Grand Wagoneer would be lager than its less-luxurious brother.
The iconic Wrangler was also mentioned, with Manley saying, “To be honest with you, I’m delighted in the way it’s turning out, not just from a styling point of view, but from an overall point of what Wrangler stands for, I’m very pleased.” Manley admitted large changes are coming to the Wrangler in terms of fuel economy, weight, and aerodynamics. Thankfully he reassured Wrangler loyalists, saying, “…at the end of the day, it needs to be recognized as Wrangler.”
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“Dirt Every Day” Rescues a 1972 Jeep Wagoneer For Snow-covered Road Trip
The “Dirt Every Day” show, part of Motor Trend’s YouTube channel, is rescuing yet another abandoned 4WD from the clutches of time and neglect. This time, it’s a one-owner, all-original 1972 Jeep Wagoneer complete with documentation, rat’s nets, and Michelin tires from 1978. Thankfully, this pristine SUV isn’t too far gone.
Fred Williams, DED’s host, along with his friend, go to work getting new fuel, new spark plugs, new plug wires, and new fluids in the engine. The old AMC 360 V-8 proves simple enough for two guys to resurrect in a two-day timeframe, before mounting a set a BF Goodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM2 tires to replace the decades-old Michelins.
I won’t spoil all the fun, but the video is a fantastic example of how to get an old vehicle running after years of neglect. Washington State covered in fresh powder. It’s totally worth the watch, so click it in HD, crank the volume, and enjoy.
We’re growing ever more fond of Sergio Marchionne’s style of news dissemination. The Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO’s recent “realignment” of the automaker’s five-year plans is making massive waves, thanks to details on a renewed focus on trucks and SUVs, while killing off slow-selling sedans. However, Marchionne’s latest confession has us more excited than before.
In an interview with Automotive News, Marchionne made the statement, “I think it’s important for us to have found a home for the Grand Wagoneer family – both the Grand Wagoneer and the Wagoneer – in whatever shape they come, and that we find that space without creating additional production capacity.”
Did you catch that? This is the first mention of a Jeep Wagoneer from FCA. We’ve known about the Grand Wagoneer project for some time now, and it’s task to compete with the Range Rover in the high-end luxury SUV segment. But what’s the Wagoneer? Sadly, there were no further details or slips to come from Marchionne’s interview, or subsequent calls to Fiat Chrysler.
The addition of the Wagoneer aligns well with FCA’s plans of concentrating on SUVs and trucks. What’s more, Marchionne has said in the past how Ram has room to make a SUV based on the Ram 1500 pickup. Such a body-on-frame SUV would compete with the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, their GMC counterparts, and the Ford Expedition. Perhaps the Wagoneer is the Jeep-branded version of this Ram vehicle.
Whatever the Jeep Wagoneer turns out to be, it’s definitely exciting times to be a jeep fan and truck enthusiast. We will certainly keep you informed of any further information slipping from FCA.
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