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Make no bones about it; the Jeep is an American icon. It has been ever since the first Jeep rolled off the Willys-Overland production line back in 1941.
When it comes to off-road vehicles, the only sensible choice for the hardcore offroader is either the Jeep Wrangler or the Land Rover Defender.
Thing is, they are not exactly renowned for their levels of luxury, so here’s the big question: can the Jeep Wrangler be transformed from a rugged no-frills “rock crawler” to a sophisticated urbanite? Let’s find out, shall we?
From the front, the Kahn Jeep Wrangler means business. The four-slot grille puts a snarl on its “face”, while the wide front wheel arches give the car a hunched stance, as if it’s ready to pounce.
The details on the bonnet, such as the handle and the catches accentuate the utilitarian feel. This one, from the front at least, is all function over form. No flash, no fancy little trivialities. All meat and potatoes stuff.
Heading towards the driver’s door, you can see this car has maintained its no-frills character. The design is purely functional, the hinges are visible on all the doors, including the rear door. There’s nothing fancy about the filler cap.
No attempt made to hide it. You may be frowning at this, thinking all these things are bad things, that this car has no style or finesse. If you are thinking that, you really are missing the point of this type of vehicle.
The Jeep Wrangler is all about function over form and that maxim has been maintained. Hiding the hinges and catches would mean that this wouldn’t be a Jeep Wrangler anymore. The style and finesse are there in the functional design, the attention to detail and the quality of the build.
That’s the outside... what about the inside?
The whole “purely utilitarian” feel screeches to a grinding halt as soon as you open the door. Climbing into the driving seat takes you into a level of luxury and comfort that is a real contrast to the stark functionality of the exterior.
The commanding feel of the driving position feels right, considering the cocoon you’ve slid into. A surprisingly spacious cocoon with excellent all-round visibility and some impressive fixtures and fittings!
Looking around, the interior of the car is exactly what you’d expect from a Kahn conversion. The quilted and perforated leather of the seats fits like a glove.
The shelf leading to the internal door handle is padded with the same quilted and perforated leather as the seats, providing somewhere nice and comfortable to put your elbow while you’re driving.
Looking around the dash, it’s been fitted with a top class entertainment system, including DVD player, full climate control, steering wheel fully loaded with all the controls you’ll need, exclusive speedo and rev counter (which, as a colour combination, works surprisingly well, to be honest) and Kahn and Chelsea Truck branding throughout.
This conversion doesn’t skimp on the storage space, either. In addition to the glove compartment, between the front seats is a generous two-tiered storage box, topped again with the same quilted and perforated leather as the seats.
Rounding off, you’re probably wanting to ask “Is the Kahn Jeep Wrangler still the American icon we know and love?” They answer is a definite “yes”, but with the characteristic pitch-perfect dash of British know-how and style Kahn is so good at supplying. Nice. Very nice.