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2021 Jeep Wrangler pricing and specs detailed: Retro-inspired Willys special edition for Ford Bronco rival

The Jeep Wrangler Umlimited Willys.

It may still be a relatively new model but Jeep is turning back the clock on the Wrangler - all the way back to the iconic Willys Overland original.

Jeep Australia has announced a limited run of just 130 special edition Wrangler Unlimited Willys, which pay tribute to the vehicle considered by many as the genesis of the recreational off-roader - the Willys Overland CJ-3A. That vehicle was the production version of the ‘Jeep’ built for the military during the Second World War - CJ stands for ‘Civilian Jeep’ - that became popular for adventure-seekers and spawned the Jeep brand as we know it today.

Due to arrive in local dealerships in April, the special edition gets a range of upgrades both cosmetic and mechanical.

The big ticket items are a Dana M220 rear axle, the same used on the high-spec Rubicon model, which is paired to an anti-spin rear differential for better off-road capability.

On the surface the Wrangler Unlimited Willys gets gloss black 17-inch alloy wheels, a blacked out front grille and a “military-styled” stencil that says ‘Willys’ on the bonnet. At the rear there’s a ‘4x4’ decal on the tailgate to celebrate the brand’s 80 years of building off-roaders.

There are changes inside too, with silver-platinum finish on the instrument panel and all-weather slush mats.

“The Jeep Willys Overland CJ-3A is an off-road icon and we’re excited to offer a modern model to the market that features an array of 4x4 upgrades and unique styling that honours the Jeep heritage,” said Guillaume Drelon, Jeep Australia’s director of brand and product strategy.

“Jeep owners have been able to experience the adventure, open-air freedom and off-road capability that the Willys has had to offer since 1948, and this is no different in 2021.”

The Wrangler Unlimited Willys is powered by the 209kW 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine and paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. 

It will be priced from $61,941 (plus on-road costs), slotting it just above the Unlimited Night Eagle it’s based on, which starts at $60,950.

It will be available in four colours - Bright White, Sting Grey, Sarge Green and Black - with premium paint adding $745 to the cost.