Quadratec's one-off YJL is a square-eyed tribute to the original Jeep Wrangler

Ronan Glon
·3 min read

Quadratec, the world's largest independent retailer of Jeep parts and accessories, built a one-of-a-kind Wrangler inspired by the original YJ model to celebrate its 30th birthday. Called YJL, the SUV gains square headlights that appeal to your 1990s nostalgia, comprehensive off-road upgrades, and more technology in the cabin.

Jeep introduced the Wrangler nameplate in 1986 to replace the long-running CJ series. Launched for the 1987 model year, and made famous in "Jurassic Park," the YJ model remains the only Wrangler ever fitted with rectangular headlights. Jeep brought back the round lights when it released the TJ model for 1997. Many didn't like the square lights three decades ago, but the YJ is aging gracefully as it settles into the classic car market.

It's this controversial styling cue that the YJL puts a modern spin on. Based on a current-generation JL model, its front end ditches the round lights for custom rectangular units that overlap with the grille's outer slots. Adding a retro touch to the rear end was easier said than done, but Quadratec pulled it off with a pair of bumperettes shaped like the ones worn by the YJ. Sahara decals on both fenders, right above the Jeep logo, create an additional visual link between the YJL and the 1989 Sahara model owned by company founder Ted Wentz II.

"It's very fulfilling to see a modern version of my father's Jeep, but with the spirit of the original. We shared so many great times in that YJ, and I even learned to drive in it. Back then, I could never have imagined we could create something today that not only takes me back to my youth, but showcases what we, and our valued partners, can do for our customers," explained Ted Wentz III, the company's CEO, in a statement.

Not content with simply redesigning the Wrangler's front end, Quadratec used the best accessories in its catalog to turn the YJL into a force to reckon with on the trail. The off-roader gains a 3.5-inch suspension lift that clears enough space in the wheel arches to install a set of 37-inch Mickey Thompson Baja Boss tires wrapped around body-colored 17-inch wheels. Rock rails, tubular doors, and redesigned fender flares are part of the build, too.

Connectivity is important, even in a retro-inspired Wrangler, so Quadratec added a nine-inch Alpine touchscreen that lets users connect their smartphone. It also features a built-in off-road mode that displays the tire pressure, an inclinometer, and several pre-loaded trail maps, among other information. Corbeau front seats with seatback bags add a finishing touch to the look, while all-weather floor liners make cleaning the cabin a breeze.

The one-off Wrangler will soon join Quadratec's collection, hopefully after tackling a trail or two, and it will remain a one-off model. While most of the parts used to build it come from the company's inventory, a representative told Autoblog that the YJ-esque grille was created specifically for this project and it will not be sold to the public.

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