There have been many great models over the long 71 years of Jeep® brand vehicle history. Of these, the Wrangler, with its iconic style, is the model that is most instantly recognizable around the world. While all Wrangler models have enjoyed success, the TJ stands out as one of the most popular and successful models. The TJ Wrangler began production in 1997 and lasted until 2006 and its nine-year reign saw many improvements to the model that made a significant impact on the Jeep brand.
The TJ was an almost completely new design from its predecessor, the also-popular YJ, which lasted from 1987 to 1996. Huge changes to the chassis, suspension, and axle greatly improved the Wrangler’s off-roading ability. The TJ rocked on successfully for several years until 2003, when the most capable Jeep Wrangler to date was developed: the Jeep TJ Wrangler Rubicon.
If anything, the TJ model is most noteworthy for the introduction of the Wrangler Rubicon in 2003. At the time, the Rubicon was the most capable off-roading vehicle available from the factory. That tradition continues today with the all-new 2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. To carry the title of most capable, the Rubicon comes standard with hard-core off-roading equipment and numerous options, such as heavy duty drive-shafts, electronic locking front and rear axles with Dana 44 front and rear differentials, electronic sway bar disconnects, and factory installed rocker rails. Standard 31-inch tires, a factory lift, and many other off-roading features round out a vehicle that is trail-ready immediately after driving off the showroom floor.
Other standard models during the TJ era were the SE, Sport, X, and Sahara. Plus, several specialty editions were introduced during that time, including the 2003 Rubicon Tomb Raider Edition, 2004 Willys Edition, 2004 Columbia Edition, 2006 Golden Eagle Edition, and the 2006 65th Anniversary Edition (of which only about 1600 were made). Another contribution to the TJ era is the Wrangler Unlimited (LJ). This model was 15 inches longer, giving the TJ plenty of extra cargo room. The 2006 LJ Wrangler Unlimited was the last two-door version of the longer TJ Wrangler to be made.
In 2007, the TJ was finally succeeded by the JK Wrangler with a completely new engine, frame, and body design. But during its reign, the TJ was highly successfully and wildly popular, and thanks to Jeep brand’s sturdy design, you will still see the TJ Wrangler on the road for years to come. There is no doubt that the TJ’s popularity, coupled with the introduction of the Rubicon and all the other great editions, makes this vehicle a valuable part of the Jeep brand’s rich history.
Tell us about your TJ Wrangler! Do you own a TJ specialty edition?