For the 2011 Easter Jeep Safari, Jeep and Mopar introduced a number of Jeeps and Dodge Ram trucks utilizing Mopar’s performance parts. Of the new vehicles and kits, one of the most eye-catching is the new Wrangler JK-8 Independence Kits. This kit, which will be available July 4th to coincide with Independence Day, allows owners of newer four-door Wranglers to update their vehicle to a truck-like Jeep with an open truck bed.
The concept was partially born out of a vehicle the Mopar Underground team built for last year’s EJS event as an updated version of the Kaiser called the Nukizer 715.
“For years there has been a lot of talk and requests for an open-air, pick-up-box-style Scrambler-type Jeep and whether Mopar would offer something like that,” said Jim Sassorossi, Head of Sale and Marketing for Mopar. “And then last year, when we brought out the new Kaiser, our team got really excited seeing the enthusiasm for that and knowing that a product decision was yet to be made. So we looked at that and thought, ‘What can we do?’ We’re about personalizing and adding performance and fabricating bodies so we challenged our team and said can we do it? With the hit that’s been in the marketplace can we actually make it a reality that someone can take a current Jeep and go out there and do it?”
The answer to that question is a resounding yes, and Mopar unveiled the new kit (shown above, with the parts packaged and ready for install) at a media event today in Moab, Utah.
“Our team really spent a lot of time looking at what we have already with our J-8 Jeep Military vehicle and taking a good, hard look at how we can take a four-door Wrangler and then convert it into it. They really did some amazing work, and it really was fun watching the process come together.”
The JK-8 Independence Kit, as its name implies, allows Wrangler owners the freedom to modify their vehicle to this unique design. The kit modifies the rear seat to make a smaller enclosed cabin that will then open up the rear of the Wrangler for an open bed. The bed floor piece will extend the new “truck bed” to 50 inches, while the bulkhead will provide 44 inches of space between the wheel wells. The inner and outer side body panels will cover the second-row entrance of the Jeep.
Along with the body modification pieces mentioned above, the JK-8 Independence Kit will also include: a Mopar/Dynatrac ProRock 44 front axle and stock Dana 44 rear axle with 4.88 gear; 4.5-inch long-arm suspension kit; 37-inch BFGoodrich Mud Terrain KM2 tires; Mopar off-road bumpers; Mopar fuel door; Mopar Slush Mats; Mopar black hood wrap with Mopar logo.
Although pricing is not yet set on the kit, Mopar tells us we should have word soon. The kit is designed for either serious garage mechanics to install or to arrange installation with your local dealership. More details will be available before too long, but here’s a peek for now.