In the last few years, there’s been a lot of talk about Jeep making a Wrangler pickup. I know this because every time I go on my favorite car news websites, there’s always some story entitled "Jeep Confirms Wrangler Pickup," "Jeep Denies Confirming Wrangler Pickup," "Jeep Confirms Denial of Confirmation of Wrangler Pickup" or "Jeep to Build Wrangler Pickup on the Moon."
But whenever I hear these stories, I chuckle, for one very simple reason: You can already buy a Jeep Wrangler Pickup! You just have to have $100,000. And if you don’t, what are you? A peasant?
For several years now, a company called American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) has been converting Jeep Wranglers into single- and quad-cab pickup trucks. It calls the resultant truck the AEV Brute — and if you’re into SUVs, trucks and off-roaders, it’s probably the coolest thing you can buy. It’s also $100,000.
Yes, you heard that right. A base-level Brute conversion starts at $41,665, plus the cost of the Wrangler, which starts at $25,000. But you wouldn’t want to create a Brute from a boring base model, would you? Select a $40,000 Wrangler, select a $42,000 conversion, add a few options (AEV’s list is mouthwatering), and you’re quickly over $100,000.
Or you can buy one used. There are currently two Brutes listed on Autotrader: a 2006 single-cab version for $52,990 and a 2014 quad-cab for $85,000. I also ran across this site, which has a series of Brutes for sale, priced anywhere from $80,000 to $140,000.
"Wait a second!," you might be thinking. "How do you get to $140,000 if the base price is around $80,000?!"
Remember when I said that AEV offers a mouthwatering list of options? Here’s the most mouthwatering on the list: If you want, AEV will install a 5.7- or 6.4-liter Hemi V8. You can even get this engine with a manual transmission. Opt for the 6.4-liter V8 and the stick shift, and you’ve added $36,900 to the cost of your Brute with just one option. And then there’s the rest of the list, which includes things like leather upholstery ($1,737), heated front seats ($518) and a long-sleeve AEV shirt ($27).
Of course, I joke about the pricing for these things, but if I won the lottery today, I would go out tomorrow and buy an AEV Brute quad-cab with every fixin’, including that big 6.4-liter Hemi V8. And then, in about a year, I would get really mad when Jeep comes out with a factory Wrangler Pickup that costs less than my optional engine.
As of the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, we now know there will be a new Jeep truck called the Jeep Gladiator. Thankfully, it’s much less than $100,000.