The Jeep Wrangler (TJ) is the second generation of the Jeep Wrangler off-road and sport utility vehicle. Introduced in 1996 as a 1997 model, the TJ reintroduced the circular headlights the classic Jeep models had been known for.
In 1990, development of a successor to the YJ began in Chrysler's "Jeep-Truck Engineering Pre-Program" department under Bob Sheaves and TJ program director, Craig Winn. Mules based on the YJ were built from 1990 to 1993, when formal approval was given for the TJ development program at a $260 million budget.
From 1991 to 1992 designers worked at the new Chrysler Technical Center, building on various design proposals. In late 1992, Michael Santoro's TJ proposal was chosen by Tom Gale, Lee Iacocca, and executive management. In May 1993, now with engineering and supplier input, Santoro's final Wrangler production design was frozen at 32 months ahead of initial assembly. Verification prototypes using production bodies were built from early 1994 and tested through late 1995. As YJ production ceased in December 1995, the last pre-production TJ examples were assembled, with start of series of production in January 1996.
Unveiled on January 2, 1996, at the 1996 Detroit Auto Show as an early 1997 model year introduction (1996 model year skipped), the TJ was an evolutionary update. It later arrived in Jeep showrooms in April 1996, after 6 years of overall investment and 36 month production development phase.
Instead of leaf springs, this updated Wrangler featured a modern coil-spring suspension, front and rear, based on that of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, for better ride and handling, and a return to the classic CJ's round headlamps. The engine is the same 4.0 L AMC 242 Straight-6 used in the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee. A 2.5 L AMC 150 Inline-4 engine was available on entry-level models until 2002. The 2.4 L DOHC 4-cylinder engine previously used on the Chrysler PT Cruiser replaced it for 2003.
WRANGLER UNLIMITED (LJ)
In April 2004 – after a hiatus of 18 years – Jeep reintroduced a 10-inch (250 mm) longer wheelbase (LWB) version, virtually identical to the 103.5 in wheelbase of its Jeep CJ-6 and CJ-8 Scrambler predecessors, and called it the Wrangler Unlimited. The 2004½ Wrangler Unlimited (or LJ) was the first introduction of the Jeep Unlimited name. The longer frame has one extra crossmember and overall, the Unlimited is some 15 inches longer than a standard TJ, offering 2 inches more rear-seat legroom, and 13 inches more cargo space length. The TJ Unlimited has nearly double the towing capacity of its shorter wheelbase sibling, partly due to the increased wheelbase (3500 lbs LJ vs 2000 lbs TJ). Standard for the LJ was a Dana 44 rear axle with a 3.73 gear ratio and the Command-Trac NV231 transfer case.
For the 2005 model year , Jeep released the Rubicon Unlimited, combining the same wheelbase of the standard Unlimited, however sharing the drivetrain of its shorter Rubicon sibling including such features as front and rear Dana 44 axles with the Rock-Trac NV241 four-wheel-drive system, diamond plate rocker guards, 245/75R16 Goodyear MT/R tires, a six-speed manual or the optional 4 speed automatic transmission, as well as some minor comfort and convenience features not available on other Wrangler models.
*All TJs shown are members of Legendary 1941: The Off-Road Collective and own the rights to each of their pics. Source wikipedia.