One of the most exiting things we saw at this year's Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show was this Jeep pickup based on an '03 Wrangler Rubicon chassis, and built by American Expedition Vehicles.
It's called the Brute and was designed for niche markets that require a highly mobile utility vehicle for extreme use. It fills the gap between heavy-duty 1-ton pickups that lack serious off-road capability and light-duty vehicles that would be operating far outside their intended use. The most common quote we heard from others at SEMA was "I'd buy one." Yeah, so would we.
The Brute sits on a 117-inch wheelbase and is 39 inches longer than a Wrangler. The bed, tailgate, and hardtop are completely unique and custom-built, while the frame was stretched 24 inches in the middle and 15 inches in the rear. It features a 6-foot-long bed and has a spot for a 35-inch spare tire underneath, and its fuel tank is a way-trick, L-shaped, mid-ship 20-gallon unit. The third brake light is the standard TJ unit moved to the hardtop, and an ARB bumper houses a Warn 9500ti with IPF HID lights. It has been lifted 4 1/2 inches, and the rear is suspended with an airbag system from Off-Road Only.
The conversion should be available from AEV in eight weeks, but we suspect that if AEV and DaimlerChrysler get enough positive response from the Brute, we could eventually see them on the Jeep sales floor.
For more info go to www.aev-conversions.com or call 406/251-2100. Be sure to send Brute fan mail to American Expedition Vehicles, Build the Brute, P.O. Box 621, Missoula, MT 59806, or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Axles: Front and rear Dana 44s with Tru-Loc differentials
Transfer case: NVG 241OR with 4:1 low range
Accessories: ARB Bullbar and snorkel, and IPF 900 HID lights
Winch: Warn 9500ti
Rear air suspension: Off-Road Only
Flame Red Paint: House of Kolor
Tires: 315-75R16 Goodyear MT/R