470-hp Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 — Oh hell yes!

Jeep’s Hemi-powered Wrangler Rubicon 392 is a shaggy commando of power and presence

A front view of the The 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Launch Edition

The 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Launch Edition has a starting price of $74,995, including the $1,495 freight charge from Toledo, Ohio. (All photos courtesy of Jeep)

Table of Contents

Overview
Pricing
Features
Interior
Options
Why buy the Rubicon 392?
Specifications

BY MARK MAYNARD

The 470-horsepower Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 is a shaggy commando of tire-frying, trail-crawling confidence. It roams the wilds and street as the lone wolf or the bull buffalo keeping watch over the herd. Its rumbling 6.4-liter V-8 engine is the call of the wild.

Jeepers have been shoehorning V-8s into Wranglers for years. But this Hemi honcho will get drivers out of trouble faster than they can get into it. The 392-cubic-inch pushrod V-8 can accelerate to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, Jeep says, and pass the quarter-mile in 13 seconds. That’s a thundering accomplishment for it 5,103-pound curb weight.

With the eight-speed automatic transmission, the 6.4-liter has fuel-economy ratings of 13 mpg city, 17 highway and 14 mpg combined on the required premium fuel. The 21.6-gallon fuel tank should allow around 300 miles of driving.

The driver area of the 2021 Jeep® Wrangler Rubicon 392 interior

Interior features include heated leather seats with bronze Rubicon 392 stitching, an Alpine audio system, and a GPS navigation system.

2021 Jeep Wrangler Overview

The Rubicon 392 is plenty potent, but it’s not the torque monster of the Wrangler lineup. Instead, that honor goes to the new 4xe hybrid Wranglers with a combined engine and motor peak torque of 470 foot-pounds at 3,000 rpm.

There are a dizzying 14 trim levels of Jeep Wrangler in two- and four-door body styles with five choices for a powertrain.

Engine choices include a 270-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The 285-hp 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 has mild-hybrid e-Torque technology. And the 260-hp 3.0-liter EcoDiesel churns up peak torque of 442 lb.-ft. from 1,400-2,800 rpm.

Cutting new trails are the 4xe hybrid Wranglers (and Grand Cherokee 4xe).

The Jeep Wrangler Sahara 4xe and the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe Launch Editions have starting prices of $49,490 and $53,190, including the freight charge. Pricing does not include the available $7,500 federal tax credit or other eligible state and local credits.

The Wrangler 4xe powertrain is a 375-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with a combined torque rating of 470 lb.-ft. at 3,000 rpm. That’s a lot of launch power, and it’s still capable of an estimated 50 MPGe, Jeep claims, with an electric driving range of 25 miles.

The hemi v-8 in the Rubicon 392.

The 470-hp 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 can launch the Rubicon 392 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds.

Rubicon 392 Pricing

The production version of the Wrangler Rubicon 392 Launch Edition went on sale this spring. Pricing starts at $74,995, including the $1,495 freight charge from Toledo, Ohio. But finding one can be disheartening. Pricing for those typically starts at around $90,000.

My Firecracker Red tester had a sticker of $78,545 with such extras as the tow package ($350) and trail-rail system ($195). The biggest add-on was the $2,000 Sky One-Touch Power-Top. The clear-coat paint is $245.

The Rubicon 392 is the most capable Wrangler ever, Jeep says. It is off-road ready with the Selec-Trac two-speed transfer case, full-time four-wheel drive, and 10.3 inches of ground clearance. Its heavy-duty wide track Dana 44 axles have Tru-Lock electronic locking differentials and electronic front sway-bar disconnect.

Shop all Jeep models here.

The underside of the Rubicon 392

Chassis upgrades include a 2-inch lift and FOX high-performance shocks.

 Features

  • The functional hood scoop connects to a tri-level Hydro-Guide air intake. The system feeds the V-8 with cooler outside air, and a one-way drain in the air-box separates up to 15 gallons of water a minute. The Rubicon 392 can ford water up to 32.5 inches deep — even if a bow wake washes over the hood.
  • Active dual-mode exhaust engages automatically to open valves in the exhaust system. Under higher engine loads, the open exhaust reduces back pressure. The driver can also activate the system manually.
  • Chassis changes include heavy-duty brakes, a 2-inch factory lift, upgraded frame rails, and specially calibrated suspension geometry with FOX high-performance shocks.
  • Low-speed descents use engine braking, a revised torque converter lockup control, and a 48:1 crawl ratio. The system allows the driver to manage vehicle speed without using the brake pedal.
  • Four-wheel-disc braking has 12.9-inch vented front rotors with two twin-piston floating calipers. Rear brakes have 14-inch vented rotors with two single-piston floating calipers.
The off-road tires on the Jeep Rubicon 392

Standard 33-inch tires on 17-inch beadlock-capable wheelsRubicon 392

 Interior

Inside the Rubicon 392, the interior includes leather-trimmed upholstery with bronze Rubicon 392 stitching. The leather-wrapped, performance steering wheel includes paddle shifters, a first for the Jeep Wrangler.

The Uconnect system projects on a standard 8.4-inch screen. The system includes Jeep Off-road Pages that allow owners to monitor such elements as pitch, roll, altitude, GPS coordinates, and drivetrain power distribution.

Other features include:

  • Body-color hardtop and fender flares;
  • HD electrical switch bank;
  • Steel bumper package;
  • Cold weather package;
  • LED lighting package;
  • Remote proximity entry
  • Safety Group and Advanced Safety Group
The hood of the Rubicon 392

The 392-cubic-inch pushrod V-8 has peak torque of 470 lb.-ft. at 4,300 rpm.

Rubicon 392 Options

Dual Door Group $4,395

Dual Top Group $1,300

Integrated Off-road Camera $595

Tire upgrades $195: 285/70R17C BF Goodrich KO2 All-Terrain Outline White Letter or 285/70R17C Falken Wildpeak M/T tires

Why buy the Rubicon 392?

A big Hemi V-8 might not be necessary in an off-roading Wrangler. But the more relevant question from Jeep and Mopar disciples might be why not? The V-6 can feel underpowered on the daily commute. The EcoDiesel engine can level mountains off-road, but it can be snoozy for quick power around town.

The Hemi bloodline runs deep among the Stellantis brand’s loyal owners. And placing this engine in a Wrangler teases the question of when will the Gladiator pickup get one.

For every hybrid Jeep 4xe sold, there will be one more gallon of gas for the Rubicon 392.

Pricing is the great separator. How many $90K Jeeps can be sold? Be prepared if you take a test drive. The Rubicon 392 is a charmer, and the devil on your right shoulder will want you to bring it home. The handwringing angel on your left will remind of your social responsibility and how much more rational it would be to own a Wrangler 4xe.

If you listen to that angel, you will spend the rest of your driving days remembering what you could have been.

Just wait, Jeep will make more and you won’t have to pay a hefty price premium.

A rear-end view of the Rubicon 392

The Rubicon 392 is the most capable Wrangler ever, Jeep says.2

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Specifications

Body style: 5-seat, 4-door sport-utility vehicle with full-time 4WD, ladder frame and steel and aluminum body

Engine: 470-hp, 392-cubic-inch, 16-valve 6.4-liter pushrod V-8; 470 lb.-ft. torque at 4,300 rpm

Transmission: 8-speed automatic; full-time 4WD with 4WD Auto, 4WD High, Neutral and 4WD Low

Axles: Dana 44 front and rear with 3.73 ratios with Tru-Lock electronic locking

Fuel economy: 13/17/14 mpg city/hwy/combined; premium fuel required

Max tow capacity: 3,500 lbs.

BY THE NUMBERS

Suspension: Solid axle, coil springs, stabilizer bar front and rear; electronic sway-bar disconnect system; high-pressure gas-charged FOX monotube shock absorbers with hydraulic rebound stop front; rear high-pressure gas-charged FOX aluminum monotube shock

Brakes: 4-wheel ventilated discs; 12.9-inch rotors front with twin-piston floating calipers; 13.6-inch rotors rear with single-piston floating calipers

Water fording: 32.5 inches

Fuel tank: 21.5 gallons

Length/wheelbase: 188.4*/118.4 in. *including spare tire

Curb weight: 5,103 lbs.

Turning circle: 39.4 ft.

Tires and wheels: 17-inch BF Goodrich KO2 All-Terrain tires (LT285/70R17C, on/off-road); bead-lock capable, high-gloss painted cast-aluminum wheels

PRICING

Base price: $74,994, including $1,495 freight charge; price as tested $78,545
Options on test vehicle: Firecracker Red clear coat paint $245; Preferred package 27X, $350, includes trailer-tow package and class II hitch with 7- and 4-pin wiring harness; Cargo group with trail-rail system, $195, includes cargo area floor mat; Mopar all-weather floor mats $165; Sky one-touch power top $2,000; integrated off-road camera $595

Where assembled: Toledo, Ohio

Warranty: 3-years/36,000-miles basic bumper to bumper; 5-years/60,000-miles powertrain

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Mopar-upfitted 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon Review

Punk’n Metallic Jeep Gladiator Rubicon test vehicle is a showcase of $12,400 in Jeep-Mopar accessories. Final price? $58,955

A Jeep Gladiator pickup in Punk'n Orange paint.
Starting at $45,370, the Jeep Gladiator Rubicon is the pinnacle of Trail Rated features for adventuring. (Photography by Mark Maynard)

BY MARK MAYNARD

Starting at $45,370, the Jeep Gladiator Rubicon is the pinnacle of Trail Rated features for adventuring. But the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of a new vehicle is as vague as a stoplight in Boston — a suggestion, at best.

To spark some red mist for the buyer — while ratcheting up the cost — manufacturers have aggressively pursued their catalogs of personalization and performance accessories. If you can imagine it, it’s probably offered or will be.

A 2-inch lift kit, $1,495, to add bigger tires and wheels.
A 2-inch lift kit, $1,495, to add bigger tires and wheels.

Jeep and Mopar have been masterful at providing factory-sanctioned upgrades that can be ordered with their new Jeep. And the upgrades are covered by the same new vehicle warranty protections.

Most new luxury cars or SUVs are bought with $10,000 in options or packages. And sometimes a package alone is $10,000, or more.

Fox 2.0 performance shocks are standard equipment on the Rubicon.
Fox 2.0 performance shocks are standard equipment on the Rubicon.

From unique paint colors to better leather, bigger wheels, lower-profile tires, crests, badges, colored seat belts, more gratuitous performance, LED lighting, and techno-marvelous infotainment systems to extended warranties, what the customer wants, the customer gets … for a price.

Jeep has long been a champion of choice with several versions of four-wheel-drive systems, soft and hard tops, street tires or adventure treads, audio and style perks.

And then there’s the Mopar catalog with more than 200 accessories. Mopar (MOtor PARts) is the parts, service, and primary accessory seller for Stellantis brands under the Mopar brand. 

Katzkin leather seats, $1,750
Katzkin leather seats, $1,750. 

Jeep Performance Parts

Jeeps are basically a canvas and Jeep Performance Parts are the buyer’s paints for personalization. So far, there are 200 Mopar products available for the Gladiator.

I’ve just tested a Jeep Gladiator Rubicon, the top-line off-roader, that had $12,400 in Jeep/Mopar performance parts.

Jeep Gladiator Rearview camera and front-facing trail cam
Rearview camera and front-facing trail cam, $595.

At $45,370 the Gladiator Rubicon is the pinnacle of Trail Rated features, including the 4:1 Rock-Trac heavy-duty four-wheel-drive system (with an Off-Road Plus mode), locking front and rear axles, disconnecting front stabilizer bar, steel rock rails, and an appetite for adventuring.

For those serious about getting there and back in demanding off-road adventures, this is the rig to consider. But access doesn’t come cheaply.

Decked truck-bed storage system, $1,295.
Tri-fold hard tonneau cover, $950, and spray-on bedliner, $495.

With the Jeep Performance upgrades, by Chrysler FCA’s Mopar performance division, the tester had a sticker of $58,955, including the striking Punk’n Metallic paint ($245).

But there is a reprieve when buying new. The performance parts have the same basic, limited warranty as the vehicle — 3-years or 36,000-miles — and they can be rolled into the financing (with the cost of labor for parts installation).

Jeep-logo hood latches
Jeep-logo hood latches, $60.

The Jeep Gladiator Rubicon tester is a formidable pickup that includes city features. Commuters will value the adaptive cruise control with idle stop-and-go function in traffic and full-speed collision warning.

And this wide rig with a 44.8-foot turning circle benefited from the Jeep Active Safety Group, $895. The package adds blind-spot and cross-path detection and ParkSense rear park-assist system, which alerts to the nearness of an object.

Set of two 7-inch LED off-road lights, 8,000 lumens each
Set of two 7-inch LED off-road lights, 8,000 lumens each, $725.
Set of two 5-inch LED off-road lights, 4,800 lumens each
Set of two 5-inch LED off-road lights, 4,800 lumens each, $475.

The 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment touch screen is an upright and visible display for the rearview camera, with guidance lines. But it’s even better for the front-facing trail cam, $595.

JPP accessories

The tester also included $12,400 JPP accessories for:

  • A 2-inch lift kit lift, $1,495. Created by Jeep engineers and Fox shocks so owners can add bigger tires and wheels.
  • Military-grade 7-inch off-road LED lights, $725 two-light set. The lights have an 8,000-lumens output, each. Mounting brackets, $65
Cat-back exhaust upgrade with dual tips,
Cat-back exhaust upgrade with dual tips, $1,250.
  • Military-grade 5-inch LED, $475 two-light set. Add 4,800 lumens each. A-pillar mounting brackets, $145
  • 2-inch grille/winch guard, $249
  • Cold air intake, $445. Fresh air is drawn in through the hood cut-out to increase engine performance
  • Cat-back exhaust, $1,250. Adds a loud tone and dual chrome tips
  • Jeep logo valve stem caps, $60 for four
Off road slotted wheels and tires
Off-road slotted wheels, 17-by-8.5 inches; $1,140 for four. Add five 35-inch BFG tires for around $1,250. 
Special Jeep logo valve-stem caps
Logo valve stems $19. 
  • Jeep logo hood latches, $60 a pair
  • Door sill guards, 4-piece set $75. Composite and stainless-steel door sill guards feature the Gladiator logo.
  • Beadlock-capable five-spoke wheels, $1,140 for four. Aluminum 17-inch wheels have five-spoke “gear” or five-spoke “slot” designs.

Metal-trimmed pedals and heavy duty floor matsPedal kit, $105. All-weather (slush) floor mats, $165.

Trail protection

  • Tires. Mopar/FCA dealers have a “TireWorks program” that gives access to different tire brands. The dealer can source whatever brand, model, and size (up to 35 inches) the customer prefers depending on their intended use — whether on-road, off-road or a combination.
  • Black satin grille, $325
  • Heavy-duty rock rails, $950. To help slide across objects with high-centering potential. The heavy-gauge steel rock rails are thicker and wider than stock in a non-slip powder-coat finish.
  • Tri-fold tonneau system, $950.
  • Bed storage system, $1,295. A heavy-duty pair of lockable, sliding drawers (200-pound capacity) to secure gear, supplies and tools.
Seatback storage bags in the Gladiator Rubicon
Seatback Molle design storage bags, $145 set of three.
  • Katzkin leather seats, $1,750. Embroidered with Jeep grille logo in Tungsten stitching.
  • Mopar grab handles, $39 each for first and second rows. hard-secured for increased grip.
  • Molle design storage bags, $145 set of three.
  • Jeep logo all-weather (slush) floor mats, $165. Raised edges for added water and dirt retention.
  • Metal ATX pedal covers, $105.
  • Spray-on bedliner, $495.
A Jeep Gladiator satin-black grille
Satin-black grille, $325.

Check the site for Jeep Performance Parts.

And read my first review of the Gladiator, “the mudder of midsize pickups” (July 14, 2019) here.

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2019 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon review

The redesigned Jeep Wrangler JL is tougher and softer in all the right ways making it the best performing Wrangler since the 1986-1995 YJ

The redesigned Jeep Wrangler windshield still folds and the doors can still be removed. (Photos courtesy of Jeep)

 

BY MARK MAYNARD

T the Jeep Wrangler has long been forgiven for everything that made it a charming pain in the rough. But now, the redesigned 2018 Wrangler is a charmer, off-road or on main street. And the top-line Wrangler Rubicon is a standard-bearer of advanced technologies with its first use of a 48-volt mild-hybrid electrical system.

The 2018 redesign steered this symbol of “Don’t tread on me” from the endangered specie’s list, threatened by ever-increasing clean-air standards for engines and new safety regulations.

It is tougher and softer, in all the right ways making it the best performing Wrangler since the 1986-1995 YJ model with square headlights. The windshield still folds (with greater simplicity), the doors can still be removed and there’s still a manual hand-brake lever on the shifter console. But as with all new cars, it is the electronics technologies that are almost the bigger story of the redesign.

There are new engines, including a turbocharged four-cylinder with mild hybrid technology and an upcoming four-cylinder diesel in 2020. And the carryover V-6 is still the base engine.

A side view of the Wrangler on a trail ride.

The redesigned Wrangler still waves the flag of ‘Don’t tread on me.’

The JL Wrangler

Experienced Jeepers will know this new Wrangler, codenamed JL, from the first slam of the door. That’s when they will realize the doors don’t need to be slammed. And more soundproofing allows occupants to have a conversation without shouting — and that’s with the top up. There is still a mild maelstrom at highway speeds in the soft-top cabin, but it’s about a hundred decibels more tolerable.

The cockpit and driver area were completely reconfigured for a somewhat ergonomic arrangement. There are several stash areas and device-charging ports.

An over-shoulder view of the back seats.

Even the two-door’s ride quality has been tamed.

Even the two-door’s ride quality is not a fearsome bucking bronco. The wider track lets the short-wheelbase model seem more free-wheeling and stable. And there is a much tighter turning circle now. Tighter turning is an asset off-road, but it is just one more engineering feat that makes the Wrangler ideal for the city, too.

The new boxed frame is much stiffer, which helps for stability when teetering among boulders or slogging through a highway commute. For anyone who knew a previous-generation Wrangler, refinement is not a word associated with any part of it.

Drafty, noisy, and rough riding were accepted parts of the lifestyle, but now we see that those qualities are not intrinsic to the concept.

The driver area of the new WranglerRubicon equipment includes remote locking, push-button ignition, rearview camera, and an 8-speaker Pioneer audio system.

Jeep Wrangler Pricing

There are three garden-variety levels of Wrangler in two- and four-door Unlimited models plus the trail-agility-champion Rubicon, and all have various levels of four-wheel drive.

Starting prices range from $29,440 for the entry two-door Sport to $39,790 for the four-door Sahara Unlimited. The top-line Rubicon starts at $39,440 and $42,940 two-door or four-door. Pricing includes the freight charge from Toledo, Ohio.

Find current Jeep pricing here.

Big disc brakes on the Wrangler test vehicle.

Braking is considerable from the large four-wheel discs.

Heavy-duty hardware

The two-door Rubicon tester was $49,555. That’s big money for a two-door Wrangler, but this one was the pinnacle of the line. It included  Jeep’s most capable four-wheel-drive system with stability and rollover-mitigation controls.

The Jeep Wangler tester also was equipped with heavy-duty, third-gen Dana 44 solid axles front and rear with Tru-Lock electronic locking. The high- and low-range Rock-Trac transfer case has a manual shift lever at the console and a 4.10 gear ratio. Hill-start assist is beneficial for controlled trail ascents or descents.

Braking is considerable from four-wheel vented discs. The front rotors are 12.9 inches with twin-piston calipers. The 13.4-inch rear discs have a single-piston caliper.

The Wrangler tester had heavy-duty Dana 44 solid axles

There are heavy-duty Dana 44 solid axles front and rear with Tru-Lock electronic locking.

Front and rear sway bars disconnect for more wheel travel. Gas-charged, multi-valve monotube shock absorbers help manage its husky 4,175-pound curb weight.

But being a Jeep means there is much heavy steel in the frame, differentials, and suspension. There are four steel skid plates to shield vulnerable elements such as the fuel tank, four-wheel-drive transfer case, and transmission). And tubular steel rock rails at the frame edge are a trail-riding essential. 

Compensating for some of the Jeep Wrangler’s curb weight are high-strength aluminum doors, hinges, hood, fenders, windshield frame, and a magnesium swing gate.

Jeep Wrangler Powertrains

Fuel economy has never been a selling point for the upright Wrangler shape. The 285-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 (with auto stop-start at idle) still can be ordered with a six-speed manual transmission. It has mileage ratings of 17 mpg city, 23 highway 19 mpg combined on 87 octane. Two-door models have an 18.5-gallon tank and four-door models have 21.5 gallons.

Upgrading to the 270-hp, turbocharged and direct-injection 2.0-liter four-cylinder and the eight-speed automatic is a $3,000 upgrade. But it brings fuel economy ratings of 23/15/24 mpg; premium fuel is recommended but not required. And while the fuel economy isn’t a huge incentive, the power and acceleration can be brisk.

A rear three-quarters view of the 2019 Wrangler

The two-door Jeep Wrangler Rubicon tester was $49,555 with many ‘on road’ conveniences.

eTorque technology

The new engine has Jeep’s so-called eTorque technology. The system applies hybrid functions of auto stop-start at idle, electric power assist, transmission shift management, intelligent battery charging, and regenerative braking. The engine and fuel flow can be turned off during stops, coasting, or when the engine is decelerating.

The electric motor gives a boost to the engine to get the rig moving and to smooth out shifts, Jeep says.

But inching forward for a foothold on a boulder might still require accelerator finesse to raise revs while awaiting the turbo to hit the peak 295 lb.-ft. torque at 3,000 rpm.

The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine (also with auto stop-start at idle) will be available in 2020 as an upgrade for four-door models. The engine has 260-hp but 442 foot-pounds of peak torque at a low 2,000 rpm and an eight-speed automatic.

Why buy the Jeep Wrangler?

The Wrangler is a cornerstone of Jeep heritage. The redesigned model is what happens when engineers and designers listen to owners and everybody works together.

SPECIFICATIONS

2019 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

Body style: 2-door, 4-seat small SUV

Engine: 270-hp, turbocharged and direct-injection 2.0-liter 4-cylinder; 295 lb.-ft. torque at 3,000 rpm

Transmission: 8-spd automatic w/Rock-Trac 4WD

Fuel economy:  23/25/24 mpg city/hwy/combined; premium recommended, not required

BY THE NUMBERS

Ground clearance: 10.8 in.

Fuel tank: 18.5 gal.

Cargo space: 31.7-72.4 cu. ft.

Front head/leg room: 42.6/41.2 in. 42.6 in w/hardtop

Rear head/leg room: 40.2/35.7 in.

Length/wheelbase: 166.8/96.8 in.

Curb weight: 4,175 lbs.

Turning circle: 34.5 ft.

Tow capacity: 2,000 lbs.

FEATURES

Standard equipment includes: remote locking, push-button ignition, rearview camera, 8-speaker Pioneer audio system, 17-inch alloy wheels with 33-inch off-road all-terrain tires, locking front and rear Dana 44 axles, electronic front sway bar disconnect, steel rock rails, and skid plates,

Safety features include: 4 air bags, roll mitigation, trailer-sway damping, heavy-duty 4-wheel disc brakes, traction and stability controls

PRICING

Base price: $39,440, including $1,495 freight charge; price as tested $49,555

Options on test vehicle: black soft top $595; leather-trimmed bucket seats and premium door-panel trim $1,495; Cold weather group, $895, includes heated front seats, steering wheel; trailer tow group, $795, includes auxiliary switches and class II receiver hitch with 7- and 4-pin wiring harness; LED lighting, $895, includes reflector headlights, taillights and running lights; Uconnect 4C nav system, $1,495, includes GPS navigation, Alpine audio system and satellite radio; Active safety group, $795 adds ParkSensor rear park assist, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alerts; 8-speed auto transmission $2,000; 2.0-liter engine $1,000; Premium black soft top $595

Where assembled: Toledo, Ohio

a 1945 CJ-2A and the new 2018 Wrangler

A 1945 CJ-2A and its modern re-creation.

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