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Driven: Jeep celebrates 75 years with four specials

Khakis in a bowl: Jeep’s four 75th Anniversary specials are right at home in Australia’s dust and dirt and nod to the original military-inspired Willys of 1941.

75th Anniversary Jeep line-up harks back to its military past with limited editions

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Jeep logo26 Aug 2016

JEEP is celebrating 75 years of building go-anywhere SUVs with a range of strictly limited-edition vehicles that hark back to their military origins, joining the Renegade, Wrangler, Cherokee and Grand Cherokee ranges.

The four 75th Anniversary versions are on offer in a range of colours including an optional green that is unique to each model for an extra $400, as well as the standard enhancements that include unique wheels, exterior touches, interior enhancement and capped off with ‘1941 seventy five years’ badging.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Australia marketing and product strategy director Zac Loo said the 75th birthday of the iconic brand was a good opportunity to revisit Jeep’s beginnings.

“There’s only one brand like Jeep, with such a strong and proud heritage which we like to reiterateall the time, and the 75th is a representation of that proud heritage instilled into our cohesive line-up,” he said.

“It’s about going back to the roots of what Jeep is since 1941 and the idea of what Jeep meant in its creation.”

Unlike almost all other mainstream brands, Jeep has exclusively made all-terrain vehicles and claims to have invented the SUV with the 1941 Willys, and Mr Loo said its loyal followers appreciate the company’s adherence to a long-standing principle.

“There are genuine enthusiasts who know just as much if not more about the brand than anyone else and they know it’s 75 years (old). For a lot of people its a process of discovery. 75 years is just highlighting the heritage.”

But Mr Loo explained that the celebration had also enlightened a number of Jeep fans who were perhaps not quite as well versed in the company’s history.

“We’ve seen a lot of engagement with our customers and potential customers who really value the richness of that story that they potentially didn’t know before. Not a lot of automotive brands have been around for as long as that.”

Jeep’s baby of the range opens the birthday bidding with the Renegade 75th Anniversary, which uses the 2WD Longitude as its basis, priced from $33,500 before on-road costs.

The extra $1500 over the standard Longitude brings 18-inch alloy wheels in the trademark bronze finish to match the roof rails, grille throats, fog and tail-light surrounds, rear fascia trim and badging, while orange highlights to the Jeep and Renegade badges complete the exterior look.

In the case of the Renegade, its hero colour is the brightest of the four and dubbed Jungle Green or customers can opt for the Alpine White or black, which are included in the price.

Inside, the 75th Anniversary Renegade gets black cloth seats with ‘ombre’ mesh inserts for a sportier and functional look held together with two-tone Tangerine and Pearl stitching. Morrocan Sun bronze trims continue the exterior theme.

Customers also get bragging rights for owning an example of just 180 of the special editions allocated for Australia.

For the 100 Cherokee versions, the 75th Anniversary version shares the typical bronze exterior touches including its 18-inch five-spoke wheels, but adds blacked-out window surrounds to the Longitude level 3.2-litre V6 4x4 variant for $45,000 – a $3000 premium.

Its unique green is dubbed Recon and is the darkest and most subtle of the range, but customers wanting a less military feel can opt for the no-cost Brilliant Black or Bright White.

The Cherokee cabin gets the a top-spec Alpine stereo system with 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen and navigation.

Interior trim matches the Renegade with Morocco Black cloth and ‘ombre’ mesh inserts and the Tangerine and Pearl stitching that extends to the centre console and arm rests, as well as the dusting of bronze throughout.

Jeep’s venerable Wrangler is also invited to the 75th Anniversary party with its own set of celebratory customisations priced from $51,000 for the 3.6-litre V6 two-door or $55,000 for the Unlimited four-door.

The shorter wheelbase version of the pair is the most exclusive of the 75th editions with just 15 being offered on red dirt and 75 of the more popular Unlimited long-wheelbase Wrangler.

Unlike the Cherokee and Renegade, the Wrangler gets some functional upgrades in addition to the aesthetic treats, including a more aggressive bonnet with power-bulge and vents, Jeep Command-Trac 4x4 transfer case with 3.73 ratio, Dana 30 front axle and Dana 44 rear axle, Rubicon rock rails and a reversing camera.

The trademark bronze grille throats are housed in a body colour grille, bronze wheels measure 17 inches and match the Jeep, 75th Anniversary and Trail Rated badging.

The exterior treatment is complemented by the optional Sarge Green paint or alternative black, Rhino, Mojave Sand, Bright White, Billet Silver or Granite Crystal.

Wrangler interiors get a combination of mesh, real and synthetic leather upholstery, stitched with the two-tone thread and debossed 75th logos, as well as the customary bronze trim treatments. A 6.5-inch touchscreen with navigation is also standard fare.

In the case of the Wrangler, the limited editions are based on the Overland variants and cost $1500 more than the less exclusive versions.

The Grand Cherokee completes the celebratory quartet with a number of similar embellishments priced from $64,500 but adds to the deal with a number of technical updates that preview a forthcoming range refresh for the entire large SUV line-up in the final quarter of this year. See GoAuto’s separate story for the full details.

When the special editions were announced in January in the United States, Jeep offered two further options in the 75th range with the Patriot and Compass also included, but with the pair getting close to retirement age, the pair are not being offered Down Under.

2016 Jeep 75th Anniversary edition pricing*
Renegade 1.4T (a)$33,500
Cherokee 3.2L (a)$45,000
Wrangler 3.6L (a)$51,000
Wrangler 3.6L Unlimited (a)$55,000
Grand Cherokee 3.6L (a)$64,500
Grand Cherokee 3.0d (a)$71,500
*Excludes on-road costs

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