The instant Jeep unveiled the 2022 Grand Wagoneer SUV concept, the world looked around with collective confusion: Where is the fake woodgrain siding? Stick-on wood-look decals did a lot of the heavy lifting in making the original 1984 Grand Wagoneer iconic. Ralph Gilles, head of design for Jeep parent company Fiat Chrysler, insists that imitation wood stickers would have cheapened the 2022 Grand Wagoneer—and he’s probably right, but then why does it feel so wrong that the chintzy flourish is missing?
These renderings of what the new Grand Wagoneer might look like with old-school woodgrain siding won’t help. Designer Abimelec Arellano put them together and, well, they look incredible. The illustrations generated so much buzz, in fact, that Ralph Gilles himself even weighed in on them on his Instagram account, tantalizingly noting that even though FCA isn’t “putting a fake wood wrap on the #Wagoneer anytime soon . . . let’s just say we left a little room on the canvas.”
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OMG…That didn’t take long… figured our wonderful after market community would take care of this for us… We aren’t putting putting a fake wood wrap on the #Wagoneer anytime soon… but let’s just say we left a little room on the canvas ????
Look, we get there are a host of good reasons why Jeep felt skipping the old Wagoneer’s kitschy woody accents would be good for its new luxury flagship. But you have to admit Abimelec’s renderings reveal just how distinguished such siding would be. Combined with the new Wagoneer’s aggressively restrained styling, the woodgrain lends it an upscale, uniquely American elegance without looking corny. You would never see anything like it on, say, a Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class, Range Rover, or even the Lincoln Navigator. None of them could pull it off, anyway.
The 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer certainly can, and should, but (sadly) it won’t—at least not from the factory. As Mr. Gilles points out, however, there’s plenty of room on the Jeep’s flanks . . . and we’re sure the aftermarket will step in with a solution for Wagoneer owners keen on bringing Abimelec’s fantasy to life.
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