For a company that started as a twinkle in Dave Harriton's eyes back in 1991 with the purchase of his new '91 Canyon Blue 4.0L Jeep Wrangler YJ, American Expedition Vehicles has come a long way. Officially established in 1997, AEV has been releasing new Jeep-specific products from the beginning, celebrating their 15th year in business in 2012. Producing industry leading products from the very beginning, such as the TJ 112-inch stretch kit, TJ and JK Brute pickup conversions, cutting-edge wheel designs, and JK Hemi swap conversions, to the full line of JK products from the 2007-to-present model years, AEV covers the full spectrum of TJ and JK models. Fast forward to 2012, and Dave and his crew are still developing products that fill the void.
Case in point is AEV's new JK tubeless front bumper and rear bumpers that made their first appearance with the unveiling of the Call of Duty MW3 edition '12 Jeep Wrangler, at the 2011 SEMA Show. This special edition JK was a head turner in Vegas and was available to a select few. Based on AEV's innovative front tubular bumper design that's been in their stable since 2007, the new tubeless front bumper design carries the factory-look theme to the next level. Moving toward the rear, AEV's integrated rear tire carrier bumper is a mix of form and function. Both ends round out the Jeep Wrangler to perfection.
To the casual observer, the AEV front tubeless bumper appears to be original equipment. But, when you take a closer look, with its 1/8-inch steel outer shell and 3/16-inch steel substructure, this bumper is built to take whatever Mother Nature can dish out. Not all full-width front bumpers are created equal. AEV's front tubeless bumper increases the side approach angles significantly and seamlessly blends in with the factory front fenders and bodylines. Again, AEV's bumper design takes fit and finish beyond factory-spec.
AEV's rear bumper and tire carrier system was initially released in 2009, but it has been continuously evolving over time. It's basically the Swiss Army knife of rear bumpers. Along with accommodating up to a 40-inch tire, there's no longer the need to cram your Hi-Lift Jack, Pull-Pal, 5-gallon water jug, multiple jerry cans, and shovel into the interior space of your JK.
New for the 2012 rear tire carrier is the 10.2-gallon fuel caddy, which pushes the range of off-road exploration to the outer reaches. Topped off, that's a full 34.2 gallons of fuel for the long haul, with a JK Unlimited. No other tire carrier on the market offers this kind of innovation or versatility. It frees up a massive amount of storage space inside your JK for multi-day camping trips.
The rear bumper tube design is strong yet lightweight and increases the departure angle over the factory bumper by more than 5 inches. Located in the corners are two 2.4-gallon bumper water tanks, which are located between the chassis-mounted tubular protection and body. With camping in mind, the plumbed water tanks are available with an optional hand pump. Provisioned into the water tanks are mounting holes for the new '12 AEV mudguards. We were amazed at how much abuse these mudguards took on slickrock drops and ledges at the 2012 Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah.
Follow along as we assemble AEV's latest masterpiece.