There have been plenty of historic years in our past, but 1987 was one of the biggest. It saw the sale of the Jeep® brand to Chrysler by American Motor Company, and it also saw the debut of the now world-famous Wrangler. The Wrangler was envisioned as a more civil version of the wildly-popular CJ lineage, and despite having a very similar body design, the Wrangler had much more in common with the Cherokee than the old CJs. The Wrangler YJ had less ground clearance and a much longer footprint than its predecessor, which prompted some CJ enthusiasts to refer to the YJ as a “Yuppie Jeep” when it first debuted.
It didn’t take long for even the staunchest critics to change their tune, though. The YJ was still a Jeep 4×4 through and through, and a massive aftermarket community soon blossomed to support the 630,000 YJ units that were eventually sold.
We’re dusting off our archives as part of our 70th anniversary celebration, so stay tuned for more of our history.