Old Jeeps Don’t Need Big Lifts, Powertrain Tricks To Conquer Tough Terrain

Today’s off-road vehicles wrap passengers in modern interiors that are packed with technology and comfort. Consumers no longer have to choose between having a lot of features or tough capabilities, with the automaker combining the two with models such as the Ford Bronco and Jeep Wrangler. Today’s off-road superstar is far from the segment’s humble beginnings in postwar America.

The jeeps that transported Allied troops around the world would become the basis for an entirely new segment of vehicles. The first civilian jeep, the CJ-2A, entered production in 1945, the same year World War 2 ended, with Willys-Overland advertising this utilitarian off-road vehicle to farmers and construction workers.

More than 70 years later, these early Jeep examples, both for civilian and military use, continue to tackle the off-road trail. A new video from Stan Fuller on YouTube captures the trio of them tackling the Double Sammy Sand Hollow State Park trail during the 2023 Winter 4×4 Jamboree in Utah.

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The Jeeps may be old and worn out, but they have no trouble overcoming various obstacles on the trail, crawling up steep rock faces, and clawing through the deep, soft sand with ease. Vehicles creak and clank as they wind their way down the trail, but they never complain, clearing the trail with just one minor glitch.

At one point during the adventure, a 1948 CJ-2A dropped a tire from a rocky patch, knocking the Jeep sideways and onto the soft sand. While the Jeep had no cage and was equipped with only lap belts, no one was injured, and the off-roader escaped without any damage. Now imagine giving yourself a nice, shiny new Bronco.

The jeep didn’t last long, with the winch pulling it upright. The exhaust spews out a bit of white smoke as the driver clears the vehicle, with the Jeep back on the trail in about 10 minutes, according to the video. This was a testament to his endurance and toughness, taking the punches non-stop. Vintage Jeeps lack heated seats, folding mirrors, and basic safety equipment, but that doesn’t hinder their seemingly endless off-road capabilities.

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