Home / Car News / The Jeep ’41 Concept: The Perfect Four-Door Wrangler Exposes The Production Jeep’s #1 Flaw

The Jeep ’41 Concept: The Perfect Four-Door Wrangler Exposes The Production Jeep’s #1 Flaw

Jeep Ru31 Con

The Moab Easter Jeep Safari is nearly upon us, and — as has become annual tradition — Jeep is showing off a new set of EJS concept vehicles. Easily the best of this year’s lot is the “Jeep ’41 Concept,” a simple, World War II Jeep-themed Wrangler that is so perfect, it highlights the production Wrangler’s biggest shortcoming.

Probably one of the coolest things the Jeep brand does is create a bunch of cool concept cars just before each year’s Easter Jeep Safari annual off-road-fest in Moab, Utah. It’s something I’ve always appreciated, because this seems like an easy budget item to slash; I imagine it’s sometimes tough to justify the expense of this bit of design/fabrication fun, even though I realize there’s some marketing benefit.

Anyway, Jeep says this year’s concepts represent the “most impressive lineup of Easter Jeep Safari concepts ever,” and while that’s just hyperbole (previous years’ concepts have been much cooler) I do have to give props to whoever is behind the ’41 Concept, because it’s a damn masterpiece.

Jeep '41 Concept rear three-quarter view

As technologically advanced as the Jeep Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid is (well, for a Wrangler), it’s clear that the vehicle still looks best when its styling is kept simple. Matte olive drab paint, olive drab steel-looking wheels (they’re actually aluminum, it turns out), black bumpers, half doors, a tan top, a little two-inch lift and some aggressive 35-inch mud-terrain tires — that’s all a four-door Wrangler needs to look fantastic.

Jeep '41 Concept wheel

The cool Willys-era four-wheel drive stencil on the right rear corner, the graphics on the hood, the winch bumper, the rock rails — it all just works. Would I prefer a two-door for more WWII authenticity? Would I like a simpler front bumper design? Do I think basic incandescent lights would look more appropriate here? Do I like a stick shift? The answer to all of these is “sure,” but I’m a diehard wierdo, and the ’41 Concept looks great as it sits. Aesthetically, it’s basically the perfect four-door JL.

Inside, the seats are tan (“canvas-covered,” per Jeep), the floor has been Rhino-lined in olive drab, there’s a custom cap on the shifter, and the inserts on the dash match the exterior paint scheme. Here’s a look at the ’41 Concept off-roading out in Moab:

Oh yeah, look at that flex:

The Jeep '41 concept crawling some rocks

Anyway, I have to point out something that’s been bothering me for a while. I’ve been so close to buying a new Jeep Wrangler JL; having been on the engineering team, I feel an emotional appeal to ordering one brand new from the factory.

Here’s how I want to spec it out: base Sport in Sarge Green, half doors, tan top, tan seats, air conditioning, zero other options. As the ’41 Concept shows, green with a tan top just works, as do those half-doors. They’re glorious.

Jeep '41 Concept front three-quarter view

But there are some problems; first, the tan top isn’t available on the base Sport, so I’d have to go to the Sport S. I can deal with that. Here comes the biggest issue: You cannot order a tan-top with half doors unless you’re willing to deal with this Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup-esque monstrosity:

[Ed note: I suggested to David that maybe a black-and-tan might be a better analogy than a Reese’s Cup because it’s very literally black and tan. David had never heard of one. Possibly one of the most common things you can order at a bar, half-Guinness, half-Bass or whatever. How do you hit 30 and have never seen a black-and-tan? Oh, and I just found out the Irish find the name offensive and call it a Half and Half, so maybe I have some growing up to do, too — JT]

 

That’s right. There are no tan uppers for those half-doors, just black ones. And that’s a shame, because this just looks fantastic:

So the Jeep ’41 Concept is great — I love the green-on-tan, but notice how there are no door uppers in any of the photos. Now you know why. And — even though I know there’s zero financial case to make for offering tan uppers, given how few folks want both half doors and a tan top — it’s just a damn shame, I say.

All images: Jeep

 

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70 Responses

  1. Tan top and black wheels looks weird. Does Bestop make aftermarket uppers in tan?

    Cool story: I had half-doors on my TJ with the vinyl zipper windows. It was a very cold, windy, and snowy morning in Philadelphia when I pulled up to the drive thru window to get my coffee. Unzipped the window, folded it down, and… SNAP. The drive to Home Depot for some clear tape was very uncomfortable. I ordered some uppers with sliding windows later that day.

  2. So I just went over to the Jeep configurator for the hell of it. And it appears that here in the United States of Driving on the Correct Side of the Road, I can order a Sport RHD, which as you’d expect stands for Right Hand Drive? WTF?

          1. I don’t know! That’s why I’m asking. It just seems weird that it’s even offered. To have them built as a special order by USPS or as fleet sales is one thing, but to make it part of your online configurator where any Tom, Dick, or David Tracy could order a RHD drive car in the USA is bizarre to me!

  3. Holy shit is that a nice looking Jeep. Right now I have a 2012 Unlimited Sport soft top. Black everything. My dream combo is the “chief blue” with a white soft top (do they make those). Fuck leather. And yeah I like mall crawlers, sue me. But my 2012 only has a 112,000 miles, and a new car isn’t in the finances. If and when the time comes for a new wrangler, I think it will be the 4xE. I love the car, but I just can’t justify the shitty mileage in this day and age. Also, hopefully they’ll get the 4xE up to 35 or 40 miles on electric by the time I buy. 23 miles (or whatever the figure is) is just outside my daily range. And also figure out something to do with the side vents. Their functionality is great (hood flutter above 70 mph sucks), but the look sucks.

    Side note, loving the website. It’s already part of my morning routine. One technical issue though: signing in from Chrome browser typically doesn’t work for me. Initially it’s fine. I sign-in and it takes me to my profile page. However, when I click on the link for the story where I want to comment, I’m logged out. I haven’t been able to find a fix….and signing in from Microsoft Edge browser works fine. Not a huge deal to switch browsers, but basically my whole work life is on Chrome…and I wonder if any other readers are having the same issue?

        1. It will happen again: if you return to the page where you clicked Reply (after logging in), this page only will be displayed from your browser’s cache, saved when you were still logged out. You don’t have to clear the cache though, you can also just reload the page via the button in your browser, that does it for me (Safari, iPhone)

  4. I’ve long been a champion of half doors. That is what my TJ has. It’s glorious in the summer to have all that open space. I hated that Jeep wasn’t offering them for a while. It really sucks that they only offer it now in limited black form, but I highly suspect that Bestop will have the tan door tops. It is crummy to need to buy on a brand new car, I’ll concur. But that’s a jeep thing!

  5. I love the steel wheels and obviously the color.

    Kinda related, I will be fostering TJ Wrangler this summer. My friend lives in nashville and it’s her second vehicle. Her apartment complex charges $300 a month for parking. She will be moving out of that shit show at the end of the summer. So I get a soft top wrangler all summer in north alabama! Don’t know the exact year. I know it’s a 6cyl with a 6 spd manual. Has a small lift and some 33″ all terrains.

    1. Enjoy the TJ life. I hope I never have to get rid of mine. I drive it maybe 1-2 times a month in winter if snow is bad but I drive it as much as I can in the summer. Doors off and top down is a great feeling. I think the TJ is a great combination of modern(ish) engine and still very basic and old-school.

        1. Not only that but the TJ was also the last to use the 4.0 inline 6 the last AMC engine in a Jeep. So it was the literal last Jeep Jeep. The new ones have a place and the JL is a much improved rendition over the JK but the TJ/LJ will always be the one I long for.

      1. My dad had a YJ when I was a kid. I have a soft spot for those. It was a 1990 6Cyl 5spd, Navy Blue with tan interior. I loved the bikini top and no doors in the summer. Now a decent YJ is not under $5K so I don’t know if I will ever buy one.

        1. Get a 91 or later, the 4L with fuel injection is so worth it (and AX15). Find one from the Southwest, rust is disastrous for the YJ’s. Taking the hardtop off is a chore, but soft tops are just never right. Good luck!

  6. With open Jeeps, in my opinion, anything more than a flyscreen top is unnecessary. My preference is generally to use outerwear for the elements, like on a motorcycle. The flyscreen does help with the sun though.

  7. Does anyone know the best way to see these vehicles in Moab? Coincidentally, l will be there tomorrow and staying for about a month. Can one just walk somewhere that they are hanging out? I don’t have an off-road vehicle handy, just a minivan. It’s a Chrysler so at least I will blend in with the other Mopars.

  8. I think it’s almost perfect too, but for me the color isn’t a part of it. Personally owning an olive-drab vehicle and driving it as a civilian is just cringe levels of poserdom.

    Make mine Chief Blue with those steelies in white and a white hardtop.

  9. I fear I have even worse news, I just ran what would be your jeep through the builder on Dealerconnect, and when I select the Tan top, it automatically grays out the option for half-doors of any kind. Your only options would be take the full steel doors, or a black top and half doors.

  10. Wow, Love the concept…just last week I was suggesting to my girlfriend that I wanted to raptor coat my keep in OD green and make it more like a military tribute…she said I shouldn’t…but said I should get another one and paint that on OD green…best GF ever!

    Does aftermarket offer uppers half doors in beige? I know you can still get them in spice (not beige) for the TJ…

  11. I know we entered WW2 in December 1941, but it conjures up movie images of a Jeep trying to avoid a strafing Japanese plane at Hickam Field. Maybe a ’44 or a ’45 Edition instead when we were doing much better with the war effort? Cool Jeep, though.

    1. Or, we show that it is totally within autopians best interest to grab a few sponsors and let DT finally drive to an EJS in something with a/c and heat that can go over 50 without splitting in half. David, have you tried calling some old contacts to see if you could custom order one to your exact specs?

  12. I do like it a lot, except for one thing that’s always bugged me about the JL’s. I’ve got a 2012 JK 2dr manual in what I think they call dozer orange. Replaced the top not too long ago, and I like riding around safari style (side windows out, back window rolled up.). Can’t say that I’ve ever really liked the back overhang that sticks out on the roof when all the other windows are out. Just looks…weird to me. Maybe it’s because I am so used to my JK.

    As for a next Jeep my wife wants the 4xe in white, matching white hard top with an auto and that one touch skyroof thing. Needless to say I’m not jumping to spend $60k anytime soon, even if I could find one in that spec.

  13. Such a refreshing upgrade of news-worthy, fun and applicable automotive stories from Jason and David’s previous employer. 5 minutes here and I already know where I’m headed every morning from now to get my industry fix. Well done gentlemen!

  14. This article’s really making me miss my TJ I sold a few years ago – ’98 Sahara, 5speed, green with a tan top and the beautiful green and tan interior.

    I’d go factory full doors and hardtop and then order whatever style/color soft top and half doors you want. Aftermarket soft tops are a lot less expensive than hardtops. You keep the hardtop and full doors tucked in your garage all summer and then swap them over for the long Michigan winter.

  15. For all of the excellent content on this site, I believe the “David Tracy doesn’t know what this is referencing” details might be my favorite little nuggets.

    Really lends the site a personal touch.

  16. I think those steel wheels are actually aluminum and just look like steels.

    The material thinness makes me think this
    Also, the splined lug nuts are also commonly used on aluminum aftermarket wheels so they fit in the recessed hole. As the mounting flange is so thick.

  17. Seems like any competent auto upholstery/converible top shop could make matching upper doors for you, no?

    A bigger fault in my opinion is the mirrors mounted to the doors rather than the cowl. You have to go without side mirrors if you want to go doorless. Or are the doors no longer easily removable? (That would be a fault, too.)

    1. For better or worse, the door mounted mirrors are a hallmark of the wrangler. There’s lot of aftermarket mirrors that easily mount on the body though for when you want to go door-less. The new Bronco’s mirrors are body mounted so you can go door-less without aftermarket mirrors which, even as a big Jeep fan (and owner), is pretty cool and convenient.

      Now that being said, the official word on the subject from Jeep is that body mounted mirrors are more susceptible to be torn off while off-roading…which is true. But since we all know that the majority of wranglers spend most (or all) of their time on streets and not trails, it seems like the better solution would be body-mounted mirrors that are easily removeable.

      1. You cannot get JL Core Doors from them either, unless they are secretly working on them. I was hoping someone here might know someone at Bestop and have an explanation why they only sell JK ones.

    1. If I ever buy a new car, it will be the JL, since I was on the development team. But Jeep is making it difficult for me; I can’t get half doors on the tan (Gobi) JL, I can’t get a tan top on the base Sport, if I do step up to a Sport S for the tan top, I can’t get half doors with tan uppers — it’s just a bit silly.

      Because really, all I want is either a tan JL with half doors and a black top or a green JL with half doors and a tan top. I want the contrast.

      1. No manufacturer ever makes a car with exactly the spec anyone wants. You always either have to pay for a bunch of crap you don’t want in order to get the one thing that you do (Maverick XL cruise control) or else the specific combination of features you want is unavailable for no obvious reason (Mazda3 Turbo MT + AWD). If you want perfection, you have to modify. I bet you could commission some tan tops from someone with suitable skills.

      2. I am 200% with you on the tan top/half door fiasco they have going on… like really, how expensive is it to have that part released? Even charge me a little more! The tan top/black half door is embarrassing.

        In a couple years I plan to buy one similar to your spec (though probably a Willys instead of a Sport, because it’s just cooler). After having a TJ with half doors and a JK with full, the half doors are way cooler on a weekend vehicle with the windows off and top down.

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