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I’m So Excited for the Return of the Convertible Pickup Truck

Dear Oversteerage, I’m happy to report that the convertible pickup truck is making a return. Like many of you, I’ve known for months now that Jeep was planning to make a pickup version of the Wrangler, since you can’t exactly disguise test mules of a Wrangler pickup truck as something else. But I never really considered the true implications of this: the Wrangler is a convertible. The new Jeep Gladiator is a pickup truck. Put them together and you have a convertible pickup truck.

This excites me immensely because the convertible pickup truck is, frankly, an untapped market segment that needs to be revived. In my lifetime, there have been two convertible pickup trucks. The first was a convertible version of the Dodge Dakota, which was often described as the least-structrually-rigid vehicle in existence. The drop-top Dakota sold in truly abysmal numbers and it didn’t last long, though I saw one driving around a few weeks ago here in San Diego with the roof down.

The other, more recent convertible pickup truck was the Chevrolet SSR, which really stretches the definition of “pickup truck” since it had a very small bed that had a trunk cover on it. But it was a truck, and it was a convertible, and it, too, sold in poor numbers. Chevrolet eventually gave it a massive 6.0-liter V8 engine after starting off with a 5.3-liter V8, but that didn’t boost sales, and it was canceled.

But now the drop-top pickup truck is back. This became clear to me at the Los Angeles Auto Show when I walked up to the Jeep Gladiator, and I saw it in all its glory: a 4-door pickup truck with a nice truck bed and the roof off. And the doors removed. This gives us, the people, an opportunity to experience something we haven’t done in years: driving around with a bunch of stuff in the back of a work truck, while simultaneously enjoying a nice breeze.

Unlike the last two convertible trucks, however, this time I think it will actually sell.

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  1. Agreed, I think it’s awesome.  I recall thinking that the 4-door Jeep Wrangler “looked weird”.  Now after owning two of them I think the regular 2-door looks strange.  I think this new Jeep truck will do incredibly well.  Wranglers sell well, trucks sell well, bingo.  I’m amazed it took them this long, sort of like why I’m surprised it’s taken this long to get a 3-row Grand Cherokee to market! 

  2. I experienced a Wrangler before and it was quite a treat in the open air.

    I think it’s a natural choice for Jeep and pickup sales are hot right now.
    I’m still shocked the Hummer H3T sold so poorly, It was a neat looking truck, The Gladiator kinda follows the same general idea and styling cues.
  3. During the whole lead up to this truck I was under impressed.  People were trying to figure out what it would look like(really you couldn’t figure it out.)  I imagined a AEV Brute and thought was not overly impressed.  

    I like Doug was thrilled when I actually saw it.  I hadn’t considered the idea of it being a convertible and having removable doors like the Wrangler.  Seeing it has actually made me excited about it.  I like the idea of a mid-size pickup that also covers the convertible and doorless boundaries(ironic wording) of the Wrangler.  I’ve long wanted a truck and a Wrangler for different reasons for weekend fun and this idea of both in one vehicle is awesome.

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Doug Demuro
Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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