The classic look is back, but that may not be a good thing.
Jeep, once a manufacturer of hardcore off-roaders, is now selling a wide range of vehicles that cater to the entire spectrum of SUV-loving people. From the city-slicking Compass, all the way through to the hardcore Gladiator, Jeep is now targeting the high-end luxury SUV market with the Grand Wagoneer. With enough luxury and pomp to rival a Land Rover, this new luxury SUV is packed with tech, and Jeep has gone out of its way to focus on the finer details. But there's one critical and nostalgic element that was left out of the puzzle: the exterior woodgrain finishes of the original Wagoneer.
For most, woodgrain finishes are a thing of the past. Sure, some manufacturers still like to fill the cabins of luxury models with real wood, but wood finishes on the exterior? No thanks, boomer. The aftermarket is a demand-sensitive creature, however, and at the mere whisper of an idea, a product will pop up. This seems to be the case with the aftermarket woodgrain paneling now on offer by Wagonmaster, a Grand Wagoneer restoration shop in Texas. Wagonmaster already makes kits for the original car, so it was easy work to mock up the design and make it fit perfectly on the flowing lines of the new car. The company uses high-tech automotive-grade vinyl. The end result is... interesting. Due to the slightly slanted front and rear end of the Grand Wagoneer, the side panels look like they break the flow of the vehicle's side profile, but at least the rear hatch piece kind of works.
The interior of the new Grand Wagoneer looks stunning with tasteful woodgrain touches, but doing the exterior could be a step too far. According to Wagonmaster CEO Chip Miller, the contrary is true; these kits are flying off the shelves, and his company has even started supplying the kits to dealerships. Wagonmaster is also planning a less in-your-face Woody-inspired stripe. The kit consists of side-profile panels, and a rear hatch panel, and is priced at $1,750. People love a bit of nostalgia, even if it means plastering printed images of wood on the side of three-figure luxury SUVs.