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Jeep Scrambler (Wrangler JT) pickups, and the AEV Brute

2019 Jeep Scrambler pickup

by David Zatz
updated 11-3-17

It’s finally coming: a new Jeep Wrangler pickup.

Most likely named Scrambler (after the 1981-85 CJ variant), the Wrangler pickup is slated to start production around a year after the 2018 Wrangler “JL” — which, taken literally, would mean November 2018. Code JT (“Jeep Truck”), the 2019 Scrambler will be made in the Toledo Supplier Park, while the old Toledo Cherokee plant pumps out Wrangler JLs.

Rumored for years, tested in concept after concept and event after event, the Scrambler only became possible when the Wrangler gained a large new plant. That relieves the production-time barrier, and makes other Wrangler variants possible; there has already been a rumor of a hard-roof version to replace the old XJ Cherokee.

At the same time the Wrangler JT or Scrambler became possible, small pickup sales started to come back after years of decline.

scrambler side

Allpar member “Ruptured Duck” drew this diagram of the “JT” — the forthcoming Wrangler-based pickup. His drawing had no removable roof, just panels that can be taken out, based on input from insiders.

scrambler pickup

Sources claim that the drawing is fairly accurate, particularly in the representation of the panels. The roof can’t be fully removable and maintain crash standards, or, for that matter, body integrity. Ironically, having permanent roof bars should mean lower weight since less body reinforcement is needed.

jeep scrambler lights

According to Allpar source Sean Rich, engine choices will start with the base Pentastar V6, just like the Wrangler; the optional V6 diesel supplied by VM comes right out of the Ram 1500, while a 250-270 horsepower Hurricane Four should easily beat the gasoline V6 engine’s torque ratings and fuel economy. The latter will be handy if fuel prices rise, given the Wrangler’s thirst for gasoline.

The Wrangler will have an eight speed automatic is given; we don’t know if the Scrambler will get a manual transmission, as the Wrangler does. Likewise, the four speed Hurricane engine and diesel might not be used on the pickups, with their lower volumes. The decision may even be left until after production starts, to see how sales go; engineering will have been done, but crash-testing and fuel-economy testing cost money.

tailgate

Former AMC/Jeep engineer Bob Sheaves presented his views on what the future Scrambler will look like and how it will be made.

This rendering was done in 2014, based on information garnered from Allpar sources.

Jeep Scrambler

Mopar JK-8 conversion kits

Early spy shots were somewhat clouded by the existence of the Mopar JK-8 Pickup Conversion Kit for the 2007-12 Jeep Wrangler. For $5,500 or so (plus labor), this conversion includes the steel bed and bed-sides, removable fiberglass hardtop, fiberglass bulkhead, and “half hard top” (the nicely done, body-colored extra panel with the half-window behind the front doors). Unwanted body panels don’t have to be cut — the spot welds are drilled out and they fall off. Many regarded this as a test case — if it had been a complete market failure, the Scrambler might not have been made.

scramblr pickup

The kit’s patent drawing told a story:

scrambler

AEV Conversions

based on an article by Glenn Paulina

AEV, which works with Jeep, created a Wrangler pickup even before the JK-8 kit, complete with a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 engine. AEV made many changes, including the hood, roof, front fenders, and a Rhino-lined truck bed with front and rear winches.

brute

AEV had reportedly discussed joint-venture manufacturing, using the Viper plant; with the Viper gone, this is still a possibility for the future, but there would not be much point in making Wrangler pickups there when buyers can just go to Toledo.

jeep pickup

The AEV Conversions vehicle shown above is the Brute, with a new hood and redesigned bed. Some silver pickups seen driving around were Wrangler TJs with raised front fenders, shorter hoods, and longer wheelbases. Quality Metalcraft (QMC) did the Brute conversions, which fit Wrangler TJs built from 1997 to 2006; AEV sold the kits.


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