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Is Jeep Really Going To Offer A V8 Wrangler, Or Is It Simply Stirring The Pot? We Have Theories

Jeep Wrangler 392 Hemi Gladiator Hercules

“Not so fast,” said Jeep, to Ford. On Monday the most anticipated vehicle reveal of the year will finally happen, after multiple delays and cancelations that left off-road enthusiasts left feeling cold and unsatisfied. We’re talking about the 2021 Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport, of course. But not to let Ford hog the spotlight, FCA had to remind everybody who’s in charge of the segment, and teased a Jeep Wrangler 392 Hemi V8. Or perhaps it’s a Gladiator with a 392 Hemi. Or, perhaps both. The streak of a teaser image is all we have to go off of, and it’s impossible to tell the difference between a Gladiator and a Wrangler from the illustration. Either way, it could be a 470 horsepower in an iconic SUV. Because America.

The image features a prominent hood scoop, similar to that found on the 2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave, as well as a ‘392’ badge on the sides of it. So far, the only way to satisfy one’s Hemi kink in a Jeep Wrangler or Gladiator is through the aftermarket. Up to this point, engineers have claimed to anybody that would ask that the 6.4L Apache V8 engine (the 392) would not properly fit in the engine bay of these vehicles due to crash safety concerns. That the front end would require more engineering work than it would arguably be worth, and FCA isn’t exactly one to blow its budget when it comes to stuff like this. Nevertheless, the rhetoric could have all been a ruse. At least, that’s one theory.

2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave
Photo copyright

Another theory is that this Jeep Wrangler 392 Hemi (or Gladiator) teased is another one-off machine that would have been used for the canceled Jeep Easter Safari that would have taken place in Moab, Utah earlier this spring. And Jeep could just be using this image to stir the pot, and keep Ford on its toes. A 2.7L EcoBoost V6 is confirmed for the 2021 Ford Bronco, which packs a lot more power than the atmospheric 3.6L Pentastar V6 in the Wrangler and Gladiator. But would Ford be able to match a Hemi V8? Whether it’s for jokes or not, the Blue Team may have just flinched a bit.

All that said, this could be more evidence that FCA is indeed working on a Hemi-powered Jeep. Some of you may recall the rumors of a 329 Hemi-powered Gladiator in development, codenamed ‘Hercules.’ Hercules was never a gladiator in Greek mythos, but his heroic strength and capabilities certainly makes the project name appropriate. FCA has yet to trademark the Hercules name, however. A Gladiator, with its longer wheelbase, would also handle the power of the 6.4L V8 more smoothly, and makes it the more ideal candidate for the upgrade. That said, Jeep has wedged the Apache V8 in the engine bay of the Wrangler before, such as the Sandstorm concept, pictured below. We hope to know more soon. Watch this space.

Jeep Wrangler 392 Hemi V8 Sandstorm Concept
Jeep Wrangler Sandstorm Concept. Photo Copyright Muscle Cars & Trucks.

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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