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.
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.
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.