Jeep is introducing a special edition Wrangler inspired by one of its earliest models to celebrate 80 years in business.

    The 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Willys pays homage to the Willys-Overland CJ-3A, introduced in 1949.

    It’s priced at $61,941 before on-road costs and arrives at local dealerships in April.

    Just 130 examples of the retro-inspired special edition are coming here.

    The Willys is based on the Wrangler Unlimited Night Eagle, but adds the Dana M220 rear axle from the more rugged Rubicon.

    That rear axle is standard only in the Unlimited Rubicon, though it’s optional in the two-door Wrangler Sport S along with the Willys’ anti-spin differential rear axle.

    Cosmetically, the Willys differs from the Sport S with a gloss black grille, 17-inch Moab black aluminium wheels and a silver-platinum instrument panel finish.

    There’s also the requisite hood decal, as well as all-weather mats.

    Premium paint is the only option at $745, with just two colours available: Sting Grey and Sarge Green.

    You can also choose one of two standard colours: Bright White and Black.

    The only engine on offer is a naturally-aspirated 3.6-litre V6 engine producing 209kW of power and 347Nm of torque. It’s mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

    That’s quite a bit more than the 45kW put out by the Willys-Overland CJ-3A’s 2.2-litre four-cylinder engine.

    In addition to a five-year, 100,000km warranty, Jeep offers five years of capped-price servicing. Each service costs $399.

    Despite the extra off-road equipment, it costs only $991 more than a Wrangler Unlimited Night Eagle.

    That puts it around $5500 less than the Rubicon, though it sticks with the Selec-Trac off-road system of all non-Rubicon Wranglers.

    The Rubicon upgrades to Rock-Trac with locking front and rear differentials and an electronic front stabiliser bar disconnect.

    For those unfamiliar with Jeep’s 80-year history, the Willys MB was the original Jeep deployed in World War II.

    It was developed by Willys-Overland Motors, and after the war ended it spawned the civilian Jeep CJ that is the spiritual ancestor of today’s Wrangler.

    Willys-Overland Motors was later bought by Kaiser in 1953, then by American Motors Corporation in 1970. Renault took a majority interest in AMC in 1979, then AMC was sold to Chrysler in 1987.


    • 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Willys: $61,941

    Price excludes on-road costs.

    MORE: Jeep Wrangler Unlimited news and reviews

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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