AEV cel­e­brates 20 years with wild an­niver­sary JK.

4 x 4 Australia - - Contents -

WALK­ING the halls of the an­nual SEMA show in Las Ve­gas in 2016, there was no deny­ing that the JK Jeep Wran­gler is still the top choice for off-road ve­hi­cle cus­tomis­ers. That’s pretty amaz­ing when you con­sider that the JK is now more than 10 years old and is due to be su­per­seded in 2017.

The Wran­gler is ba­si­cally a Mec­cano set for adults, which makes it easy to trans­form. Ev­ery­thing un­bolts which makes it child’s play to mod­ify the 4x4 to suit your in­di­vid­ual re­quire­ments. At SEMA 2016, mod­ded Jeeps were to be found ev­ery­where, dis­play­ing all man­ner of mods – some func­tional, some purely for show, while oth­ers left you scratch­ing your head and won­der­ing what on earth they were thinking.

One ex­hibitor booth stood out in par­tic­u­lar, as the com­plete ve­hi­cle pack­age im­proves the base Jeep in ev­ery way. This was the 20th An­niver­sary JK350 from Amer­i­can Ex­pe­di­tion Ve­hi­cles (AEV), which we had the plea­sure of driv­ing out into the Ne­vada desert fol­low­ing the show.

The An­niver­sary mod­els mark AEV’S 20 years in busi­ness, and just 20 of the JK350 and RAM Prospec­tor XL mod­els will be built, sure to be snapped up by col­lec­tors. There’s no doubt that they’ve had the whole AEV cat­a­logue thrown at them with a 6.4-litre Hemi V8 con­ver­sion, 4.5-inch sus­pen­sion kit, 37-inch BF Goodrich tyres, all the in­te­rior and ex­te­rior body add-ons, and be­spoke 20th An­niver­sary ex­tras – it’s enough to triple the pur­chase price of your Wran­gler.

This cer­tainly isn’t just an­other mod­i­fied Jeep, an AEV Jeep is more like a fac­tory-made spe­cial. Years of pro­duc­ing show ve­hi­cles and spe­cial parts for the Jeep has given AEV a true feel for OE man­u­fac­tur­ing, and all of its parts and con­ver­sions are ei­ther built to fac­tory stan­dard or ex­ceed it.

Take the Hemi V8 en­gine con­ver­sion for ex­am­ple. The con­ver­sion is done us­ing as many

The Wran­gler is ba­si­cally a Mec­cano set for adults... which makes it child’s play to mod­ify the 4x4 to suit your in­di­vid­ual re­quire­ments

fac­tory com­po­nents as pos­si­ble, in­clud­ing the en­gine and trans­mis­sion con­trol units. This means they can be ser­viced and main­tained at any Jeep dealer. Any spe­cial parts needed are made in bulk by AEV in or­der to en­sure there are plenty of spares avail­able. In ad­di­tion, all AEV parts have a fac­tory look and fin­ish. Only the wiring har­ness is mod­i­fied, as AEV adapts the Wran­gler wiring to the Chrysler V8 and trans­mis­sion wiring, which in essence makes it a plug-and-play con­ver­sion. Be­ing an Amer­i­can com­pany, AEV en­gine con­ver­sions are made for left-hand drive Jeeps, but the Aus­tralian dis­trib­u­tors have adapted them for a few right-hand drive Jeeps that we know of. If this is some­thing that in­ter­ests you, it’s well worth in­vest­ing the time and money if you re­ally want that V8 roar and per­for­mance. Many Jeep own­ers will tell you about the death wob­bles they get from driv­ing on over­size tyres and raised sus­pen­sion. Not an AEV owner. This

Rock crawl­ing or desert brawl­ing, the AEV JK is set up to take on any­thing.

1 2 Cus­tom leather seats give the Jeep a premium feel in­side. 3 1. The sus­pen­sion uses Bil­stein damp­en­ers. 2. The Bo­rah al­loys are a new bead­lock wheel for the JK. 3. AEV diff cov­ers on Dy­na­trac rear end.

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