Jeep Wrangler Grilles Through The Years

Jeep Wrangler Grilles Through The Years

Last Updated July 21, 2021 | Andrew Boyle

Today we know the CJ’s legacy as the Wrangler. Despite bowing in the mid 1940s, the Wrangler’s shape has remained basically the same, but the truly loyal will tell you that one of the best ways to identify which year Wrangler is tearing up the trail is to check out the grille design. Here’s how to spot your Jeeps:

[click the infographic below]

Jeep Grilles HIstory Infographic

Jeep CJ

The granddaddy Jeep introduced an iconic grille that would shape children’s toys and t-shirts for years to come. With seven narrow vertical openings and round headlights mounted above a set of smaller driving lights, the CJ grille is instantly recognizable as a Jeep calling card even when depicted apart from its Tonka-truck body.

Jeep YJ

In 1987 the first new Jeep in more than 30 years hit the streets. Design cues largely resembled the CJ, but this model introduced square headlights and driving lights. There was also a slight angle to the new chrome grille at the beltline.

Jeep TJ

Considered the first “modern Jeep” because it introduced more luxury features, the upright stance from earlier Jeeps was replaced with a more ovoid form in this body style. Round headlights returned, air inlets got wider and received more rounded edges, and driving lights were no longer incorporated in the grille treatment.

Jeep JK

Now in the twilight of its years, the JK’s grille resembles the modern design of the TJ sticking its chin out. Round turn signals also join the party, but driving lights remain relegated to the bumper keeping the JK’s appearance clean.

Jeep JL

2017 marks the launch of the fifth-generation of the Wrangler family as a 2018 model. The JL is the most technologically advanced and capable Jeep we’ve ever seen, and could even be offered as a hybrid or electric model. It’s got a super clean retro-inspired grille that retains the iconic round headlights but restores some of the angular grit of the original CJ by incorporating more square edges.

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About the Author

Andrew is a Jeep TJ owner and car industry aficionado with over 150 articles under his belt. Read full bio →

Jeep Wrangler Grilles Through The Years

When it comes to Jeeps, the letters C and J have been synonymous with off-road dominance since Willys MB brought the civilian jeep to the public in the wake of World War II. Willys and later CJ-builder AMC are no longer relevant, but with the Jeep CJ they created an institution as red, white, and blue as apple pie.