• Apr 7, 2009
Click above for a high-res image gallery of the AEV J8 MILSPEC

Still bummed Chrysler decided civilians in the U.S. weren't ready for the Jeep J8? Good news, then. American Expedition Vehicles – normally purveyors of American-made aftermarket off-road parts and equipment – has entered into an agreement with Chrysler that will allow AEV to sell fully assembled J8 kits right here in the United States, complete with leaf springs and military-spec tow hooks that are capable of lifting a helicopter. Yes, this machine is exactly as awesome as it sounds.

Each vehicle will be sold without a powertrain, which will allow AEV to bypass all kinds of sticky red tape with the federal government. As such, the J8 MILSPEC will be sold as an off-road vehicle only. Want one for street use? Better get real familiar with the laws governing such things in your particular state. The buyer will have a choice of either a VM 2.8-liter diesel engine rated at 174 hp and 339 lb-ft of torque or a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 from Chrysler rated at 330 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque. All that power will be sent through a five-speed automatic transmission on its way to a Dana 44 axle up front and a stout Dana 60 in the rear.

Options? A few, including air conditioning and your choice of either Desert Sand or Military Green paint, but the toughest part will be deciding between the five-door Unlimited body or the truck-like three-door model. AEV only has rights to sell 120 J8 MILSPEC vehicles per year, and they won't come cheap. Expect to dole out about $50K to bring one home. If that sounds like a lot for a vehicle that can't legally be driven on the street, keep in mind that it's probably well below what it would cost to otherwise replicate a machine with these kinds of capabilities. Click past the break for the official press release.




PRESS RELEASE:

The J8 is one of the toughest vehicles in the world and, until now, it was only sold to foreign militaries and governments. A very limited number of 2010 J8's will be made available to enthusiasts in the United States exclusively from American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) as the AEV J8 MILSPEC.

"Hardcore off-road enthusiasts have been asking for a vehicle like this for years, no frills and setup for a choice of diesel or V8 power and built with extra heavy-duty components," said Dave Harriton, CEO of American Expedition Vehicles. "It's certainly not for everyone, but that's all part of the appeal. Being able to offer even limited quantities to the American public is really a dream come true for AEV. First, it's a perfect match with our niche manufacturing and distribution channels, and second, the J8 is a unique part of history that we're proud to be part of."

The AEV J8 MILSPEC will be sold as a component rolling chassis. The vehicle is meant for off-road use, and as typical for component vehicles the engine and transmission will be installed by the buyer or at the buyer's direction by an independent contractor. Although AEV does not provide the powertrain, there are a number of independent AEV dealers that can supply and install either a 2.8-liter diesel engine or a 5.7-liter V-8 HEMI® engine and transmission package.

The J8 MILSPEC will be assembled in Detroit by AEV. The complete rolling chassis will be delivered painted, upholstered, fully instrumented and will include ABS brakes, heavy duty suspension and axles, exhaust, wheels and tires.

Designed for military use, the J8 was designed to pass one of the world's toughest durability cycles, which is three times more severe than what civilian applications must endure. The axles are both beefed up to a heavy duty Dana 44 front and a Dana 60 rear axle equipped with Dodge Ram brakes. The frame is built for severe use and the rear suspension uses leaf springs to facilitate more than a 2,500 lb. payload capacity and a 3,500 lb. tow rating. The J8 MILSPEC will accept two powertrain options, either a VM 2.8-liter diesel engine rated at 174 hp and 339 lb.-ft.of torque or a 5.7-liter V-8 HEMI rated at 330 hp and 375 lb.-ft. of torque. Both engine choices will use a 5 speed automatic transmission. The vehicles also have a number of military-specific components, including tow loops that are rated for helicopter use, an air filter capable of running as long as five hours in zero visibility dust storms and remote-mounted batteries. Don't look for satellite navigation or leather seats, options are limited to paint color (Desert Sand or Military Green), a choice of a three door or five door body styles and air conditioning.

The J8 MILSPEC will only be sold and warranted through AEV and its authorized network.

Interested enthusiasts can contact American Expedition Vehicles to learn more or to place an order, www.aev-conversions.com / 248-926-0256. Owners should expect to invest approximately $50,000 for a complete running vehicle, chassis plus powertrain.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 27 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why is this not street-legal?
      • 5 Years Ago
      “Has entered into an agreement with Chrysler that will allow AEV to sell fully assembled J8 kits right here in the United States, complete with leaf springs and military-spec tow hooks that are capable of lifting a helicopter. Yes, this machine is exactly as awesome as it sounds.”

      I’d say it’s the other way around. The hooks are for being lifted by a helicopter rather than lifting one. I’ve lifted many hummers by the lift hooks in the army with a Chinook.

      Peace
      • 5 Years Ago
      Meant to be a reply to Patrick...
      • 5 Years Ago
      You cant "just drive it" as you need registration stickers and plates. These types of things come from being street legal and emissions compliant. I hope they do well but I dont see it happening.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The loop hole is to register the car as a kit car....
      • 5 Years Ago
      Dan wrote:"

      Chrysler would love to sell you a Jeep like this.

      Chrysler can't for the same reason AEV can't, because our federal behemoth won't let them.

      NHTSA doesn't want you to have a heavy duty frame, because one that collapses like an accordion is better suited to their measure of a car - safely crashing into brick walls."

      I really doubt that has much to do with it. I bet either could pass the test. However, most Wrangler buyers are likely to crash into a brick wall, or the moving equivalent thereof, long before they carry a few thousand pounds down the dusty and rocky trail.

      "EPA doesn't want you to have a diesel, or inefficient heavy duty running gear, because they're blind to the difference between a flyover country runabout and an LA smog basin daily commuter."

      They're just as blind to it as the beach roving poseurs.

      All that said, if Jeep sourced a diesel engine they could get certified (maybe from their pals at VW), and put it in a pickup body like that, it would sell. I'd be tempted.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I REALLY want Jeep to come out with the JT Concept pickup truck from several years back. Easily the coolest pickup truck I have ever seen.
      http://www.offroaders.com/tech/jeep/Jeep-JT.htm
      What do we need to do to get Jeep to build it???????
      • 5 Years Ago
      If this thing is not street-legal, then why does the "sand" colored one have a license plate?

      Sort of a contradiction there.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's a MFG or DST plate. Any DOT registered manufacturer or distributor can plate a vehicle and "test" it. I worked for a company that had a RHD GMC Blazer from Japan that we drove around in with MFG Michigan plates.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It has a MI "M" tag - a manufacturer's plate. They can use those on just about anything...
      • 5 Years Ago
      I would get one just to do donuts with it an Al Gore's yard.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'll bring the beer.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I would buy donuts with one... if the donut shop was in Dakar.
        • 5 Years Ago
        So would Al Gore.

      • 5 Years Ago
      "sell fully assembled J8 kits right here in the United States"

      "about $50K to bring one home"

      Way to build up my hopes and then immediately crush them to a fiberous pulp.
        • 5 Years Ago
        No kidding. Once you see the name AEV, you know it's going to be expensive. High quality, but expensive all the same.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Damn, it, Chrysler you should be selling these in the US! And you should be doing it for the price of a regular Jeep! How long has the Jeep community been asking for this Jeep and diesels, too? A long friggin' time, that's how long! It's no mystery to us that you and GM are in such dire straights.

      Hey here's a nifty idea: listen to the public that purchases your products, take down everything they say, point by point, and then manufacture something completely different. That's a sure recipe for success. Brilliant!

      Nothing short of retarded, these guys that run GM and Chrysler are.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Chrysler would love to sell you a Jeep like this.

        Chrysler can't for the same reason AEV can't, because our federal behemoth won't let them.

        NHTSA doesn't want you to have a heavy duty frame, because one that collapses like an accordion is better suited to their measure of a car - safely crashing into brick walls.

        EPA doesn't want you to have a diesel, or inefficient heavy duty running gear, because they're blind to the difference between a flyover country runabout and an LA smog basin daily commuter.
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