A Look at Jeep Wrangler Models Through the Years - Part II

So, the last time we got together we went over some of the unique models in Jeep Wrangler YJ line. Now, let’s jump into the Jeep Wrangler TJ. The TJ model was produced from 1997 through 2006, and is still a favorite to off roaders everywhere.

Jeep Wrangler Jeep Wrangler courtesy of www.autoblog.com/buy/2001-Jeep-Wrangler/expert-review/

Just like last time, I just want to go over different models (trim packages) that were available during the 1997 to 2006 Wrangler run. There were no less then 14 ... Makes you wonder if every color combination had its own model.

First off, the X. Available from 2002-2006. Base. Sooo very base. Still came with the 4.0, but no Dana 44 offered. 4 speaker AM/FM cassette (later CD), and that was it. Great commuter for areas that can see some weather, but somewhat limited on its off road capabilities (in stock form).

Now, the Sport. Offered through the entire run of 1997-2006. Again 4.0 and the Dana 35 rear axle were standard, but the Dana 44 rear axle, 3.73 axle ratio, and 30" wheel and tire group are optional. The Dana 44 could also be upgraded with a Trac-Lok limited slip differential. The same AM/FM stereo with cassette player and four speakers set up was what you had for tunes.

The Sahara made it back, even if it wasn’t for the full run. 1997-2004. They came standard with the 4.0, wider body colored fender flares, body colored rocker sills, and the optional 30" wheel and tire group. The Sahara also features exclusive decals, seats and trim. The Dana 44 rear axle and 3.73 axle ratio were optional. Standard features included an AM/FM stereo with cassette player and four speakers (later, a CD player replaced the cassette player, and seven premium speakers with center console-mounted subwoofer became standard), premium cloth seats, and alloy wheels. From 1996–2002 production, the seats were finished in a unique camel/forest green color scheme.

2001 saw the 60th Anniversary Edition, a limited edition with only 4,067 built. It was a Sahara with different seats, decals and trim. It also came with the fog lamp and tow hook group, CD player with five-speaker sound system, air conditioning and unique 60th Anniversary Edition decals and floor mats. The only two options were speed control and dual tops. Only two colors were available: black or silverstone metallic.

2006 saw a 65th anniversary edition as well. Again, it came standard with all the options of a Sahara but without the rocker sills, seats, decals and trim. It also came with fog lamps, CD player with 7 speaker sound  and Sirius Satellite Radio, soft top, 30" tires and 15" Alcoa aluminum wheels, high pressure gas charged shocks, Dana 44 rear axle and exclusive 65th Anniversary Edition seats, trim, floor mats and decals. The available colors were light khaki, dark khaki, bright silver, black and Jeep green. Only about 1,600 were made.

2002-2003 had an Apex edition. Unique strobe hood graphic and chromed steel wheels set off the limited edition Jeep Wrangler Apex. Offered in new bright silver metallic, as well as patriot blue and black, this new model features cognac ultra-hide seats and a free stereo/CD combination with seven speakers. The seven speaker system includes two instrument panel tweeters, two dashboard speakers, two overhead Sport Bar speakers and a center console subwoofer.

2004 Columbia Edition. A one-year only model that came with a 4.0L I-6 engine, 15-inch graphite painted aluminum wheels, unique graphite fender flares, fog lamps, Columbia badging, dark slate interior, khaki two-tone seats with the Columbia logo, silver painted instrument panel accents and was available in black, bright silver, flame red, solar yellow and patriot blue.

2003 Freedom Edition. 4.0, full metal doors, fog lamp and tow hook group, body colored fender flares, exclusive decals, chrome wheels air conditioning, anti-theft system, and fold and tumble rear seat. It only came in four colors: red, silver, blue or black with either vinyl or cloth slate gray seats

2006 Golden Eagle (just like the old days). 4.0 liter, 30" wheel and tire group, Dana 44 rear axle, exclusive hood, interior trim, seats, fender and spare tire decals.

2003-2006 Rocky Mountain Edition. 4.0, Dana 44 rear axle, 30" wheel and tire group, fog lamp and tow hook group, exclusive decals, fender flares, seats and interior trim and diamond plate rocker guards. It only came in five colors: black, silver, red, yellow and blue. It also included seven premium speakers with subwoofer, and unique cloth seats.

2005 saw an updated Sahara - the Sahara Edition Unlimited Rubicon. Paramount released the movie Sahara, which featured a Jeep Wrangler. As a way to build on the success of the movie, Jeep released a limited production "Sahara Edition" Unlimited Rubicon. Only 1,000 were produced and each one is numbered. All of them are visually identical, but some were offered in a manual and others an automatic. Trim differences over the standard Rubicon include chrome grille, color matched flares, khaki hard top or soft top, as well as optional dual khaki tops, Graphite Moab wheels, a Sahara spare tire cover, upgraded two-tone premium seats, Sahara decals, taillight guards, and a numbered dash badge.

2003 Tomb Raider Edition. A limited run of 1,001 (not sure who the “1” was for) Wrangler Rubicon "Tomb Raider" models produced to promote the Tomb Raider sequel, Lara Croft. Along with the standard Rubicon fare, it also included exterior features such as 16-inch Alcoa aluminum wheels, Tomb Raider badging, and Mopar accessories including a light bar, riveted fender flares, tubular grille guard, diamond-plated bumper guard, etc. Interior features included dark slate fabric seats with red accent stitching down the center, silver surround instrument panel bezel, red seat belts, and a Tomb Raider badge with serial number. To match the vehicle in the film, it was offered in bright silver. Due to its classic styling, combined with numerous unique accessories, the 2003 "Tomb Raider" Limited Edition Wrangler Rubicon has become one of the most highly collectible Jeeps of all-time.

Willys courtesy of http://gtcarlot.com/data/Jeep/Wrangler/2004/9363255/Custom%20Wheels.html

2004–2005 model years came standard with the 4.0, fog lamp and tow hook group, exclusive "WILLYS" decals, CD player with 7 speaker sound system, body-color fender flares, green diamond plate rocker guards, camouflage seats, dark green soft top and full-size spare tire with matching wheel. It was only available in moss green. Only about 1,000 were produced in 2004. A variation of the edition known as the 35X package, included everything except the military logos and optional moss green fog light covers and tail light guards.

2002-2006 Rubicon. The Wrangler Rubicon (named for the famed Rubicon Trail in the Sierra Nevada Mountains) was introduced in the summer of 2002. It featured front and rear air actuated locking Dana 44 axles with the Rock-Trac NV241 4:1 ratio transfer case, diamond plate rocker panels, 16-inch alloy wheels, and Goodyear MTR P245/75-R16 tires. From 2003 and 2004 featured a standard New Venture Gear NV3550 five-speed manual transmission, which changed in 2004 (2005 model) to the NSG370, a Mercedes-sourced six-speed. The optional 42RLE four-speed automatic transmission was available from 2003 to 2006.

And finally, the 2004 ½ Wrangler Unlimited (unofficially dubbed "LJ") with a 10-inch longer wheelbase (LWB), a Dana 44 rear axle with a 3.73 gear ratio and the Command-Trac NV231 transfer case. In late 2004, Jeep released the Rubicon Unlimited, which has the wheelbase of the Unlimited and the off-road features of the Rubicon such as front and rear Dana 44 axles with the Rock-Trac NV241 four-wheel-drive system, diamond plate rocker guards, 245/75R16 Goodyear MT/R tires, a six-speed manual transmission and other comfort and convenience options not offered on other Wranglers. This model of the Jeep Wrangler nearly doubled the towing capacity of its shorter wheelbase sibling, partly due to the increased wheelbase. (3500 lbs LJ vs 2000 lbs TJ).

So, if this helps in any way, I would be surprised! So many models, so few differences. The main thing to remember here is, check the hardware. Dana 44’s air lockers, etc. Pick the color/decal options that make you happy, and get out in the sun! Next time we will dive into the JK’s. Until then, Go Get Dirty!

Leave a Reply

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.