SUVs have come a long way since their utilitarian beginnings. They have morphed from uncomfortable off-roaders and workhorses into some of the most popular vehicles available today. They can haul kids and groceries in comfort without sacrificing any amenities, but a vintage Willys Jeep shows that you don’t need a lot of modern technology to tackle challenging terrain like rock crawling.
The short clip from the Big Willy YouTube channel captures the vintage Jeep easily traversing steep, rocky cliffs. It bounces, tilts, and precariously leans over, its wheels lifting into the air as it crawls up the rocks, but it’s not completely easy going. The thin tires struggle for grip at one point, sliding the Jeep to one side before the driver has to reassess and try again.
The Jeep’s engine revs and revs, and the Jeep slowly ascends the rocks, getting enough traction to reach the trail at the top. The video shows off the off-roader’s suspension articulation, which has little trouble keeping the Jeep planted, though a few tires struggled to touch the ground throughout the endeavor.
The Jeep isn’t in pristine condition, with visible patina covering it, but it runs just fine and can clearly perform as it did decades ago. They are simple machines first built for the military, which stripped out any comforts for its war duty. The simplified design also made it easy to maintain them.
Today, the Jeep Wrangler continues to dominate off-road trails around the world. It’s having that dominance challenged by the new Ford Bronco that is putting all its off-road cards onto the table. Other automakers have ventured into creating more rugged SUVs and crossovers, but they don’t perform like this Willys Jeep. You don’t need the latest and greatest to enjoy off-roading, and you wouldn’t want to scratch your new car anyway.