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The First Jeep Wrangler Unlimited: Just a Little Longer

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author photo by Doug DeMuro January 2017

If you know anything about Jeeps, you probably know all about the Wrangler Unlimited: a 4-door version of the standard Wrangler, which was, for ages, only offered with two doors. Since going on sale in 2007, the Wrangler Unlimited has accounted for approximately 99.99994 percent of all Wrangler sales, at least according to the Jeeps I see driving around.

Except the Wrangler Unlimited didn't go on sale in 2007 -- and it hasn't always offered four doors.

You see, although the current Jeep Wrangler debuted in 2007 and was the first model to offer a 4-door body style, the outgoing Wrangler -- known as the TJ and sold from 1997 to 2006 -- offered a long-wheelbase version, sort of like a stretched, family-friendly Wrangler. It came out in the middle of the 2004 model year and only lasted until 2006, and it's fairly disguised compared to a standard short-wheelbase Wrangler. But it's there: the original Wrangler Unlimited.

Not surprisingly (based on trends we now know well), the original long-wheelbase Wrangler Unlimited proved popular -- so popular that Jeep added a Rubicon model for 2005 and then decided to go full-on 4-door when the Wrangler was redesigned in 2007 to become the current JK model.

So just how rare are these early Wrangler Unlimited models? Although there are 2,800 different pre-2007 Wrangler models listed on Autotrader right now, just 63 are listed as Unlimited models -- and of course, some are listed incorrectly. The average asking price of one of these pre-2007 Wrangler Unlimited models is around $18,500, which is an enormous figure, especially when you consider that the base price a decade ago was $25,300 with shipping.

It would be nice to have a car that retains that kind of value. Apparently, Wrangler shoppers also think it would be nice to have some extra legroom.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
The First Jeep Wrangler Unlimited: Just a Little Longer - Autotrader