What is a Jeep YJ?

What is a Jeep YJ? It’s the 3000lb, steel framed, rectangular headlight housed, beast that started it all, of course! And by “all” we mean the iconic Jeep Wrangler legacy that’s been alive and well for nearly 30 years with no signs of quitting. The very first Wrangler was introduced for the 1987 model year and their production continues even today. The first generation, of the first Wranglers, is affectionately known as the YJ and its sales spanned the first 8 years of the Wrangler's lifespan after being introduced to replace the Jeep CJ. That’s right! The CJ was never actually named a Wrangler though it's common for them to be referred to as such considering they have nearly identical styling. This is part of the reason why these trucks are so easily recognizable, it’s because their roots can be traced back to the Willys Jeeps that helped our troops in World War II. In fact, in 1992 the production of the YJ was moved to Ohio, to the exact same plant that manufactured the Jeeps used during WWII! The YJ spanned from 1987 all the way until 1995 which was replaced by the model the TJ.
Jeep Wrangler YJ
There was, obviously, some departure from the traditional CJ, widely considered an off roading powerhouse and a dependable workhorse. Some of these changes in the new Jeep Wrangler drew the scorn of many Jeep traditionalists, the “square” headlights being the most obvious change. HOW DARE they take our round headlights? Though purely a cosmetic change, this simple divergent from Jeeps bloodline genuinely upset a large portion of Jeep enthusiasts, claiming the new headlights were for the city slickers and the young yuppie crowd. YJ even became known as “Yuppie Jeep” or “Young Jeep”. In actuality, this is exactly what Jeep wanted, to appeal to the younger buyer, the user who mainly wanted a fun vehicle for everyday use. The off road capabilities were just a bonus to the target consumer. Even the ground clearance was lower than the Wranglers predecessor, which of course only drew more doubt of the off road capabilities of the YJ. The barrage of criticism the YJ faced was often silenced abruptly , once these nay-sayers actually got these trucks onto a trail. Yes, the Wrangler YJ proceeded to shut the mouth of even the most hardcore skeptic by flexing, crawling, climbing, and essentially dominating everything in its path. And when there wasn’t a path at all, it forged one over any terrain. Trail after trail, obstacle after obstacle the YJ effectively ended all criticism by doing what it was built to do, being absolutely bad-ass. So the next time you see a Wrangler with rectangular headlights, you'll know you’re looking at the beginning of it all, the YJ!
Grey Jeep Wrangler YJ