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Mike Gabriel, of Jeep Rubicon fame, passes

by Bill Cawthon on

Michael Gabriel passed away Sunday, February 13, 2011. He was 65. He was preceded in death by his wife, Patricia. Survivors include his children, Danielle and Matthew. A mass was held for him yesterday morning at St. John Neuman Catholic Church in Canton, Michigan.

Mike Gabriel began his 41-year career with Chrysler in 1969 but he is best known to Jeep fans as one of the driving forces behind the creation of the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. For the story of the genesis of the Rubicon, see The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Story – Nearly Cancelled at JP Magazine

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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