Quadratec, the world’s largest independent retailer of Jeep parts and accessories, built a unique Wrangler inspired by the original YJ model to celebrate its 30th anniversary. Called YJL, the SUV gets square headlights that appeal to your ’90s nostalgia, extensive off-road upgrades and more tech in the interior.
Jeep introduced the Wrangler nameplate in 1986 to replace the long-running CJ series. Launched for the 1987 model year, and made famous in “Jurassic Park,” the YJ model remains the only Wrangler to ever feature rectangular headlights. Jeep brought back the round lights when it released the TJ model for 1997. Many didn’t like the square lights three decades ago, but the YJ ages gracefully as it settles into the classic car market.
It’s this controversial style cue that the YJL puts a modern spin on. Based on a current generation JL model, the front end round lights cut off for custom rectangular units that overlap with the grille’s outer slots. Adding a retro touch to the rear was easier said than done, but Quadratec managed to do it with a pair of bumperettes in the form of the ones worn by the YJ. Sahara badges on both fenders, directly above the Jeep logo, provide an additional visual link between the YJL and the 1989 Sahara model, owned by founder Ted Wentz II.
“It’s really satisfying to see a modern version of my dad’s jeep, but with the spirit of the original. We shared so many great moments in that YJ and I even learned to drive it. never imagined that today we could create something that not only takes me back to my childhood, but shows what we, and our valued partners, can do for our customers, ”said Ted Wentz III, the company’s CEO in a statement.
Not content with simply redesigning the front end of the Wrangler, Quadratec used the best accessories in its catalog to make the YJL a force to be reckoned with on the trail. The off-roader gets a 3.5-inch suspension lift that frees up enough space in the wheel arches to install a set of 37-inch Mickey Thompson Baja Boss tires around body-colored 17-inch wheels. Rock rails, tubular doors and redesigned fender extensions are also part of the build.
Connectivity is important even in a retro-inspired Wrangler, which is why Quadratec has added a 9-inch Alpine touchscreen that allows users to connect their smartphone. It also features a built-in off-road mode that displays tire pressure, an inclinometer and several pre-loaded route maps among other information. Corbeau front seats with back pockets complete the look, while weather-resistant carpeting makes cabin cleaning a breeze.
The one-off Wrangler will be added to Quadratec’s collection soon, hopefully after tackling a few tracks, and it remains a one-off model. While most of the parts used to build it come from the company’s inventory, a representative told Autoblog that the YJ-style grille was made specifically for this project and will not be sold to the public.