The all-new 2017 Jeep Wrangler has got to be the most hotly-anticipated SUV debut of the current era. The Wrangler is already one of Fiat-Chrysler's most wildly successful vehicles, and with a pickup truck version finally happening in 2017, Jeep is finally offering the variant fans have been clamoring for.
We still haven't seen what the next-generation Wrangler looks like. But might have just given us a look at the 2017 Wrangler's hood, after a perplexing transaction with a parts recycler.
that it started with a search for a 2014 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon "Hard Rock" hood from a Detroit-area scrap yard. The hood looked fine in photos, but upon installation showed itself to be something unusual.
"[T]he hood I bought is almost 2 inches longer than my stock hood," . "There are no VIN stickers or Mopar stamped part numbers on this hood (which is not the norm for Jeep/Mopar)."
So, a Jeep hood in the general shape of what's currently used on the Wrangler, with a Mopar-looking "Rubicon" decal and factory-style hood scoop and windshield rests, but that's two inches longer than it should be. What gives?
RedRockJK explains that the recycler that sold the piece is located near , a Chrysler testing facility. When ed about the mix-up, RedRockJK says an employee of the recycler said they often part-out test vehicles received from Chelsea. Later, RedRockJK updated the post to say that the recycler asked for the hood back, and that it seemingly will be sent back to FCA.
It's feasible that this is nothing more than a poorly-made knockoff of a Jeep part. The shape of the hood, especially at the front where it interfaces with the grille, is almost identical to the current JK Wrangler. It's possible, if exceedingly unlikely, that this freaky hood is the product of a factory gone berserk.
But it's also likely that this is a part off a 2017 Wrangler prototype. It would seem to indicate that the next generation of the beloved 4x4 will have front-end styling very similar to the current model, even though a 300-hp turbo four cylinder might lurk underneath, and the hood might be aluminum to save weight. (RedRockJK did not indicate what this hood was made of.)
Supposing it is a 2017 prototype hood, what do we learn? That Jeep is sticking close to the wildly successful styling of the current JK Wrangler, though maybe with some additional hood length for crash and/or pedestrian safety. That the next-gen Wrangler will keep its external hood latches, and the resting pads for the fold-down windshield.
We'll only know for sure next year.