The $50K solution to the Wrangler pickup problem
Everybody seems to want a Jeep pickup…except for Jeep. The company keeps telling us they’re going to build it...next year…next year…next year. Well, if you’ve just gotta have one now, you can. All you need is a four-door JK Unlimited, Mopar’s new JK-8 pickup conversion kit, a competent install facility, and an underwear drawer full of money.
The JK-8 pickup conversion kit debuted at last year’s Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah. Think of the JK-8 as more of a modern-day CJ-8 Scrambler than a pickup (the bed is not separate from the cab). The JK-8 conversion kit is available from your local Jeep dealership, or parts houses such as Quadratec, for $5,499, and includes all the pieces you need to convert an ’07-up Wrangler Unlimited into a JK-8.
We absolutely don’t have the coin to pull off a stunt like this, but when Four Wheeler magazine Tech Editor Sean P. Holman (no relation to Roscoe P. Coltrane) heard our local enthusiast-friendly dealership, Don-A-Vee Chrysler Jeep in Placentia, California, would be building one of the very first dealership-commissioned JK-8 conversions in the country, he was there with camera in hand to document the drama faster than you can say “bearded story ninja.” Don-A-Vee stole one of its own ’12 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicons from the lot and sent it over to Hi-Tech Collision and Glass Centers in Anaheim Hills, California.
Is it an easy conversion? Oh, hell no. It’s not the sort of thing you do with your buddy, Chubsy, and a twelver over a long weekend. You needz to have some skillz because of how involved the kit is. Expect to pay about $5,000 to $6,000 in labor for the completed conversion. When you factor the cost of the JK-8 kit and labor in with the $40,800 sticker of the new Rubicon used in this story, you’re looking at a $53,000 Jeep pickup. That’s about the same as a new Cummins-powered Ram 2500. However, you could conceivably do it for less than $30,000 if you start with a slightly used $18,000 Wrangler…which is about the same as a slightly used Cummins-powered Ram 2500. In other words, the JK-8 will set you back about as much as a comparable Cummins-powered Dodge pickup. Does it make sense? Well, considering Mopar has sold all the JK-8 kits it’s made and is sitting on orders for lots more, we’d say many Jeep owners certainly think it does. Read on to see what’s involved.
How It Works
Overall, the JK-8 kit is comprehensive and well thought out, although at this price point, we would have liked to see the parts included to trim out the interior for a more complete OE feel. One of our surprises was the leaky windows, although we found an easy fix for the problem. If it were our personal rig, we’d ditch the supplied hardtop and its funky proportions and go with half-doors and a full soft top—maybe even keeping the rear bench for the ultimate modern CJ-8. For those of you who are curious, our JK-8 conversion weighed in at 4,240 pounds, a savings of about 300 pounds.
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