Are you one of the fans of the Brute, the American Expedition Vehicle (AEV) Jeep Wrangler pickup truck? If so, we’ve got some sad news for you. As of this year, it is no longer being made. But if you’re a collector of AEV Jeeps and have a small fortune to spend (around $100,000), you might want to look around for this particular custom-built open-bed vehicle.
AEV has a long and reputable history with Jeep since it first introduced an original long wheelbase TF Wrangler in 1997. These conversion vehicles gained a loyal following because Jeep had discontinued its own pickup truck back in 1992. In 2004, AEV introduced the TJ Brute, the first pickup conversion of its kind. The firm began building first a single and then a double cab compact pickup truck from the Jeep Wrangler platform. It even earned a Chrysler Design Excellence Award.
How is the Brute built? AEV received permission to build a factory-sanctioned upgrade/conversion using the original chassis of a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. They were known as the first-generation TJ-based Brutes. Their engineers remove the front of the rear axle and add 59 cm of metal to increase the wheelbase. Then they added an additional 49 cm behind the axle to enable room for the well-side body. This unique part measures 1530 x 1550 mm, featuring an injection molded liner, slip resistant coating, and multiple tie-down points.
From there, AEV added on such cool features as HD front and rear fenders, custom bumpers, skid plates, a 26L clean water tank, 17-inch wheels, spotlights, an upgraded water pump, 3.5-inch lift kit, and the all-important Warn Zeon winch up front.
Double Cab Version Introduced
Once the single-cab Brute was well established, AEV introduced the double-cab version in 2013. AEV saw an opening in the expanding overland travel market for this Brute Double Cab model. It’s an ideal vehicle for families that camp, especially since it seats five passengers and offers expanded cargo carrying capabilities.
The Brute’s cab is closed out with stamped steel, just like the original body panels, ensuring a perfect factory appearance. The unique hard top design retains the original Freedom Panels, which are removable for an open air driving experience.
Rather than a steel pickup box like the original single cab, AEV engineers used an injection molded, cored composite bed on the new Double Cab that is stronger than steel but weighs 140 pounds less than the steel bed and is non-corrosive. That’s especially important if you’re driving your Brute through a stream or river. The pickup bed is made with a composite of honeycomb core, strong fiberglass S-glass, aluminum parts, carbon pieces, and Kevlar, making it extremely durable. Drivers will appreciate its four integrated tie-down anchors to keep your cargo securely in place and its skid resistant coating that protects the bed’s interior.
To make the bed fit, AEV stretched a Wrangler Unlimited in much the same way that Jeep stretches the two-door to build the four-door JK. AEV’s engineers were able to add 23 inches to the 139-inch long wheelbase to make it longer, wider, and taller than the Wrangler Unlimited’s frame. Its flexible interior allows the driver to fold flat the rear seats for additional room. It also creates enough space to tuck a hidden under mount spare tire carrier beneath the 61-inch bed. If you need to access the spare tire, a hand-operated winch lets you easily lower and remove the spare tire. You’ll be pleased if you need to carry a few bikes, camping equipment, or add some special features. For example, some Brute owners have taken to adding a pop-top tent with interior sinks and bedding for camping outings.
The Brute double-cab package features a heat reduction hood, a new front bumper, DualSport SC Suspension, new mud-terrain tires, and a double cab hardtop. Its interior offers a comfortable ride for its passengers with supportive seats, giving them great visibility from its tall ride. Speaking of comfort, Brute passengers praise the vehicle for its DualSport suspension systems that make the vehicle extremely capable off-road, providing unparalleled performance and handling on the road.
Part of the Brute’s allure is its power. The Brute Double Cab comes standard with a Pentastar V6. It can also be equipped with a 5.7-liter V8, making 360 horsepower and 390 lbs-ft of torque. If you need even more power, you can opt for the massive 6.4-liter HEMI V8, outputting 470 horsepower and 465 lbs-ft of torque, but you’ll need more than $20,000 to get that type of special engine.
The Brute Double Cab also offers a fuel capacity of 22.5 gallons and a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 lbs.
Praise for the Brute
Over the years, the media and Brute owners have heaped praise on the Brute Double Cab vehicle. The prestigious Robb Report voted the AEV Double Cab Brute its Best of the Best 2013 Contemporary Off-Road Vehicle.
No matter where you plan to take your AEV Brute, you’ll have the confidence to know that it will take you through any type of terrain. It’s been built for those who like to go overlanding, a self-reliant adventure travel to remote destinations where the journey is the primary goal. Having the AEV Brute to get you there is essential. It will conquer various terrains and has plenty of room for all your passengers and gear.
If you’re a Jeep Wrangler aficionado with cash to burn, it’s time to seek out one of these customized AEV Jeep Brutes. Owners have praised AEV for being very serious about building only the highest quality components. That, combined with the amazing ability we already know Jeep Wranglers possess, make procuring a Brute Double Cab a worthwhile investment.
Remember to look for the exclusive AEV Branding Package. It’s your confirmation that your Brute is authentic and was hand built in AEV’s Michigan facility and tested by AEV’s team of expert technicians.