Since reports arose last year of Jeep’s intention to use the long-departed Scrambler name for the upcoming Wrangler-based pickup, the media has more or less run with this assumption, placing a faint asterisk next to the moniker. Would it bother you to learn this might not be the pickup’s name?
Probably not, once you learn the real name, which Fiat Chrysler apparently posted on its media site for a brief period of time. Images of swords and armored breastplates usually have that effect.
As posted by the now questionably named JeepScramblerForum.com, a screenshot of the page sent in by a “long-time trusted source” seems to indicate the Scrambler will actually appear as the Gladiator. The pickup, debuting at the L.A. Auto Show later this month, rides on a stretched version of the Wrangler Unlimited frame.
Built in Toledo on the former Wrangler JK assembly line, the Gladiator, if that’s what FCA’s calling it, launches as a 2020 model next year. FCA began retooling the JK line for the upcoming JT in April.
Ever since the departure of the Cherokee-based Comanche in the early 1990s, Jeep purists have begged and pleaded for a new pickup to rise in its wake. With American buyers now firmly allergic to passenger cars, and with the Jeep brand now valued higher than its parent company, the time is right for JT. All it needs is a name and a steep price tag, which the public is no doubt more than willing to pay.
Assuming the accuracy of the forum’s screengrab, it’s not surprising to see Jeep revert to the Gladiator name. While the CJ-8 Scrambler (1981-1986) would be fitting inspiration for a new truck name, given its Wrangler underpinnings, the Wagoneer-based Gladiator pickup (1963-1971) is, frankly, bigger and brawnier. It’s no wonder the automaker used this moniker for its 2005 Wrangler concept truck.
[Image: Brian Williams/Spiedbilde]