Have you ever wanted to combine the go-anywhere capabilities of a Jeep with the practicality of a pickup truck? Now you can. Mopar, the parts and service arm for Jeep and parent company Chrysler, has released the JK-8 kit, which transforms the four-door Jeep Wrangler Unlimited into an off-road-ready two-door pickup.
Available for order through Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge dealers, Chrysler says dealership technicians or "skilled do-it-yourselfers" can install the $5,499 kit. The kit includes a steel pickup bed, inner and outer bedsides, a fiberglass hardtop and other parts necessary to transform the Wrangler into a workday pickup.
"Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited are some of our most accessorized vehicles," said Pietro Gorlier, Mopar's president and chief executive. "New Jeep Wrangler owners typically spend more than $500 on Mopar accessories. For Jeep Wrangler Unlimited owners, our new Mopar JK-8 kit answers the call for even more radical customization."
Although Chrysler says the kit can be installed at home, we'd recommend having a dealership do the work. In addition to a host of heavy-duty welding, the difficult conversion process involves drilling through spot welds, removing doors, interior carpeting, seats and even the SUV's B-pillar. Because the kit comes unpainted, installation even requires the bulkhead - a fixed piece separating the interior from the bed - to be painted the Wrangler's original body color. Most importantly, Jeep says the JK-8 kit's three-year, 36,000-mile warranty only covers the kit's workmanship if it's installed by dealership technicians.
Meant to evoke memories of the 1980s Jeep Scrambler, essentially a Wrangler with a pickup truck bed, the JK-8 kit was first shown at this year's Moab Jeep Safari, an annual off-road event coordinated by Chrysler. The automaker says the kit is already available to order from its dealerships.