Measured by any yardstick the Jeep Commando is a special machine. From its genesis as a military-come-civilian implement, to its genuine go-anywhere capability, to its brutally extroverted attitude, the Commando goes well beyond the norm.
The civilian Commando was inspired by Hendrick Dynamics’ tactical Commando and is as close as one will get to the combat-ready article without running afoul of the Department of Defense. When Transamerican Manufacturing Group and Dealer Services International (DSI) came together with Hendrick Dynamics to create this animal they did so with a commitment to product authenticity and an abiding pledge to supporting veterans. The first unit was auctioned at Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach in April 2016. The entire $225,000 winning bid went to the Patriot Foundation, a veteran’s charity.
The Commando begins with a Wrangler JK Unlimited, and just about every component receives attention. It gets a highly engineered lift using heavy-duty upper and lower control arms with adjustable front uppers and adjustable rear arms to ensure proper axle placement. It compensates for the sharper front driveline angle with a stout double-cardan driveshaft and the oil pan is protected by a Rubicon Express skidplate. This Commando retains the Rubicon’s 3.73 gearing and selectable Tru-Lok Dana differentials. It sits on exclusive 17” Pro Comp wheels in Pro Comp Extreme MT2 Mud Terrain tires. It mounts enough LEDs to illuminate a runway, includes Smittybilt interior upgrades aplenty, and its Smittybilt Gen II front bumper houses a 9,500lb XRC winch behind an aluminum fairlead. You could make this a trailer queen, but that would be sacrilege.
The tan 3/16″ cold rolled powder-coated steel rock rails and 1/8” cold rolled steel fender armoring look great but are not there to simply ward off desert and forest striping. If you are ever in an unfortunate bind and need to stop a typical handgun round, you have a fighting chance. Yes, one can feel the weight penalty behind the wheel, but who cares? This over-engineered monster maintains excellent on-road behavior and is more than two-tons of fun to operate. So if the driver behind you doesn’t appreciate your forward progress you can use the 107 pound Smittybilt Gen II Rear Bumper as a battering ram, back over the aggressor on your over-sized Pro Comp rubber, or just shrug off incoming fire from your rolling panic room.
But anger is not what you will encounter when driving this beast. After piloting Italian exotics, luxury icons, and pristine classics I have rarely encountered a vehicle that attracts so much attention. And eye-catching modified Jeeps are downright common on southern California roads. Nonetheless, I was stopped in parking lots, in traffic, and during the photo shoot by curious and occasionally assertive admirers. Countless others snapped photos on the move.
Commando is available exclusively at select Jeep dealers across the United States and Canada. And acquiring one is a no-compromise proposition because Commando comes with a factory matched three-year 36,000-mile warranty, and factory matched Powertrain protection. Spec it in authentic military tan or black. Either way, in a world of modified Jeeps the Commando is a special cure for the common Wrangler.