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JEEP RECOGNIZES DEMAND FOR V8 GLADIATOR TRUCK

Putting A 392 V8 Into The Jeep Wrangler Could Be Just The Beginning

2021 Jeep Wrangler Gladiator Rubicon 392 Hemi V8

When the JT Jeep Gladiator came out in 2019 as a 2020 model year truck, one of the first things that some folks immediately did (besides pay over sticker) was to send them out to a performance shop for a major power upgrade, at the expense of their warranty. Prior to that, these shops would have already sold you a Hemi or even a Hellcat V8 swap for the Jeep Wrangler. And these packages aren’t exactly what you’d call cheap, either. Most of them will run customers back some $35,000 USD for the Hemi swap, while other shops will ask for around $60,000 USD to do something like a Hellcat swap, and an eye-watering $100,000 USD if you dare go for a 1,000 hp Hellephant swap in a Wrangler or Gladiator. In short, that’s money Stellantis is leaving on the table, suggesting that there could be a business case for a Jeep Gladiator 392 to be sold alongside the Jeep Wrangler 392 in showrooms.

“If you scour the forums, there are tons of people that I’m sure would love to buy a V8 Gladiator,” said Jeep Gladiator senior brand manager Brandon Grimus in an interview with MC&T.

2021 Jeep Wrangler Gladiator Rubicon 392 Hemi V8
Image via Jeep

Jeep Wrangler 392 Part Of “Checking All The Boxes”

The product cadence for what we see coming for the Jeep Wrangler could be the blueprint that the Jeep Gladiator eventually follows. According to Grimus, vehicles such as the Jeep Wrangler 392, Wrangler EcoDiesel, and Wrangler 4xe are largely based on customer demand.

“If you look at what we’ve done with Wrangler lately, it’s like we’ve gone through this wish list from every Jeep fan in America,” said Grimus “Whether it’s a diesel or V8, or a Jeep pickup, we’ve just been checking all of these boxes and finally delivering to these customers the products they’ve been asking for.”

Demand has been especially strong for the Jeep Wrangler 392: a 470 horsepower, 470 lb-ft macho machine that can go from 0-60 in just 4.5 seconds, and runs a 12-second quarter-mile out of the box. Both figures are just a few ticks behind the Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack, and Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack muscle cars with the same 6.4L Hemi V8 engine.

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Hemi V8
Image via Jeep

Crowd Has Gotten ‘Progressively Louder’ For V8 Jeeps

“The crowd requesting a V8 Wrangler, their voices have gotten progressively louder over the last 10 years,” said Grimus. “And just to give you an idea of how much demand there is for a V8, there were seven aftermarket companies across the country doing V8 upfits at a really, really high price with no factory warranty or engineering. Most of them have wait lists over a year-plus… we might as well take some of that business.”

“The crowd,” however, has to be willing to pay for it. At $73,500 USD plus destination, the Jeep Wrangler 392 base MSRP is more expensive than the starting price of the 707 horsepower Ram 1500 TRX, as well as other fun machines like the C8 Corvette, and the new 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor. This is partly because the big Hemi V8 is only available in the top-tier Rubicon trim level, and only as a four-door as opposed to the cheaper two-door. Originally, the Jeep Wrangler 392 was speculated to be a Gladiator before its official debut, as the longer wheelbase is sure to help keep all of that power under more control.

Ultimately, a V8 Jeep Gladiator 392, like the upcoming Gladiator 4xe version, makes for a no-brainer product at this point. Only question as far as we’re concerned is not if, but when.

Jeep Gladiator Wrangler SRT Hemi Rubicon 392 Apache V8 6.4L
Image via Jeep

Written by Manoli Katakis

Muscle Cars & Trucks was founded by Manoli Katakis - an automotive media veteran that has been covering the latest car news since 2009. His journalism has uncovered dozens of major product changes, updates, plans, and cancellations long before automakers were ready to make things official.

Some highlights over the years of his reporting include the uncovering of the Zora trademark before anybody else reported on the coming of a mid-engine Corvette, as well as the dead-accurate reporting of the coming of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, two years before it hit the market, and even before the debut of the concept vehicle. This type of reporting has immediately continued here, with reports of the original seventh-generation Camaro plans being shelved, as well as what's in store for the Chevrolet Silverado.

Some of his work can be found on massive automotive media outlets, such as Motor1. He also has been a guest on the 910AM Radio Station with Detroit News auto critic Henry Payne, as well as the enthusiast-oriented Camaro Show podcast.

Over the years, Manoli has interviewed various automotive industry titans, leaders, and people that make things happen otherwise. These include figureheads such as GM CEO Mary Barra, GM President Mark Reuss, automotive aftermarket icon Ken Lingenfelter, Dodge firebrand Tim Kuniskis, along with various chief engineers of vehicles such as the Ford F-150 & Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro & Corvette, and many more.

At MC&T, Manoli is taking his journalism expertise, deeply planted sources, driving abilities, and automotive industry knowledge to new levels, covering more vehicles and brands than ever before. This is the place where you will continue to read groundbreaking stories about American performance vehicles, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles. Here is where you’ll also read insights and quotes from various automotive subject matter experts on the latest relevant products, as well as some of the latest official news from their manufacturers.

Fun facts: he also once beat Corvette Racing driver Tommy Milner in an autocross with a Chevrolet Bolt EV. The biggest vehicle he’s ever driven is a John Deere mining truck. Besides a go-kart, the smallest vehicle he’s driven has been a Hyundai i10. He’s also spent time in the cockpit of various American performance vehicle icons, including the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Dodge Challenger Demon, and Ford Mustang GT350R. He has reviewed dozens of trucks, SUVs, and performance vehicles over the years.

One of his favorite new vehicles on the market today happens to be the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison. He is also a card carrying member of the Sports Car Club of America, and regularly participates in Detroit Region autocross events.

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