Archive for the ‘hardtop’ Tag

How We’d Spec It: Yes, Basic Jeep Wranglers Still Exist in 2015

In light of Jeep’s recent forays into crossover-dom—see the Renegade and Cherokee, please—we’ve been hit hard with nostalgia for the brand’s good ol’ days. You know, the ones filled with solid axles, real four-wheel drive with low-range gearing, and manly stick-shift transmissions. So we moseyed over to Jeep’s online configurator to start building out a Wrangler, only to remember that, holy crap, the things are expensive. (Oh, and they’re huge.) That’s okay, our ideal Wrangler isn’t some gussied-up, $40,000 toy—it’s a beastly, featureless stripper model, and thanks to Jeep’s addition of a sweet new off-road tire option to the base Sport for 2015, that fantasy can once again be had for relatively little money. This is how we’d spec a Wrangler:

MODEL:

Jeep Sport Two-Door Manual 4×4 (base price: $23,790)

There are no fewer than 9 different Wrangler trim levels, two body styles, and—on most models—the choice of a manual or an automatic transmission. With the top-level, four-door Unlimited Rubicon Hard Rock pushing $40,990, and even milder versions like the sweet-looking Willys Wheeler running between $27,790 and $31,590, we needed to stay toward the bottom of the pile to satiate our base-model fetish. It doesn’t get more basic than the Sport, which starts at $23,790 and comes with steel wheels, crank windows, manual door locks, manual door mirrors, manual seats, a heater, Dana axles, four-wheel drive, four-wheel disc brakes, a six-speed manual transmission, fog lights, and a folding soft top.

Air conditioning is optional, as is Bluetooth, a hardtop, and satellite radio. The interior is washable—there are drain plugs in the floor for evacuating water—and although there are wisps of decadence in the standard cruise control, steering-wheel audio controls, eight-speaker audio system, and the 284-hp Pentastar V-6, this is as stripped as Jeeps come.

OPTIONS:

Sunset Orange Pearl paint ($0)

Air conditioning bypass ($0)

Half metal doors with manual locks ($0)

Black Steel and 31-inch Dueler Tire Package ($995) (regular rims get 225/75R16 on/off road; black package brings 245/75R16)

Connectivity Group ($570)

As you might have noticed, our first three selected options are all no-cost. Free stuff is always good, but in the case of our dream Wrangler, it’s less a case of free stuff and more of a case of not paying money for things. For example, the paint is free, so we picked the brightest color we could find: Sunset Orange Pearl. Next, we chose not to add air conditioning for $1295; gotta love Jeep, the company actually has an option box for “air conditioning bypass,” which is really just a fancy way of saying “summer’s gonna be hot.” (Take off the roof and cruise, we say!) Finally, we shelled out zero smackers for half-metal doors with removable plastic side windows (not pictured above), which replace the standard full-metal doors and make top-down excursions feel even more open and more fun.

Now for the stuff we actually had to pay for. We’re fans of steel wheels, but the Wrangler’s standard steel-wheel/tire combo is a bit weak-looking. The tires are street-oriented and skinny, while the steelies are a boring shade of silver. Thankfully, Jeep introduced the $995 Black Steel and 31-inch Dueler Tire Package for 2015, which includes meatier, 31-inch Bridgestone Dueler white-letter tires and the base Wrangler’s same steel wheels—only they’re painted black. Sweet. Vanity and enhanced off-road capability taken care of, the only option left (to us—Jeep offers many more, including different axle ratios, hardtops, a towing package, and even an automatic transmission) was the $570 Connectivity Group that brings functional upgrades such as a tire-pressure-monitor display, Uconnect voice recognition, Bluetooth, and what Jeep calls an “electronic vehicle information center.”

Would we consider $25,550 “cheap?” Not exactly, but in today’s Jeep Wrangler landscape, it’s a steal. And besides, to most folks, a Jeep looks like, well, a Jeep—no matter if it is a back-to-basics Luddite like our Wrangler Sport or a fully loaded Rubicon. We almost don’t want a nice Wrangler, because then we’d have reservations about scratching its body-color fender flares on brush or soiling its leather interior with mud or snow. A Sport, on the other hand, is ready to be grabbed by the scruff of its neck—or its padded roll bar—and tossed down the nearest off-road trail without stress. Yep, basic Jeeps still exist, but they’re getting harder to find; we hope Jeep can keep some of that stripper spirit alive in the next Wrangler coming out in 2017.

As read on: http://blog.caranddriver.com/how-wed-spec-it-yes-basic-jeep-wranglers-still-exist-in-2015/

1950 Dodge Coronet Diplomat

In 1949-50, a hot new fad was sweeping through the auto industry: the hardtop convertible. Here’s Dodge’s contribution to the styling trend, the 1950 Coronet Diplomat.

When first you hear it, the term “hardtop convertible” sounds like an oxymoron—like “constant variable” or “jumbo shrimp.” Hold on, and we’ll make some sense of it. In the late ’40s, industry product planners discovered that many new car buyers, especially young people, purchased convertibles but then seldom if ever took down the tops. Perplexed by this curious fact—convertibles were significantly more expensive than sedans—they investigated further.

Through interviews, they learned that many owners simply preferred the convertible’s sporty styling and its lower, sleeker roof. Buyers also appreciated the lack of a fixed pillar between the front and rear side glasses. With both windows rolled down, the long, open expanse created the fresh-air feel of a convertible without the exposure to sun and wind that resulted when the top was folded down.

Armed with this knowledge, the automakers quickly responded with a new body style called the hardtop convertible: It had a low roofline and roll-down windows with no center post, but with a fixed steel roof replacing the folding fabric top. This new two-door body type offered both a price savings for customers and a tidy profit for carmakers. The public quickly shortened the awkward term “hardtop convertible” to simply “hardtop,” and a popular Detroit body style took root.

Dodge’s version of the hardtop, the handsome 1950 Coronet Diplomat, matched the traditional soft-top convertible in sales in its very first year. The hardtop model was renamed Sport in 1954, then rebadged again in 1955 as the Lancer. While they no longer refer strictly to hardtop body styles, the Diplomat, Sport and Lancer nameplates have appeared and reappeared on various Dodge models throughout the brand’s history. The most recent Lancer and Diplomat models were offered in 1989.

 

As read on: http://blog.dodge.com/heritage/1950-dodge-coronet-diplomat/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=Facebook&utm_campaign=KM9.12.13Facebook1&ism=KM9.12.13Facebook1