Back when I first launched Mopar Connection Magazine in 2014, it was a goal to be inclusive towards all makes and models of Mopars over the brand’s century-plus of automaking. While certainly, very early Dodges and Plymouths weren’t likely to get much exposure (as very few people with Dodge Brothers’ coaches gravitate towards digital magazines like ours) we did try to be as welcoming to late model performance as we were to classic 1960’s and 70’s Detroit steel. After all, how can you complain about 9-second Challengers and Chargers that run 204mph at Nurburgring?
Within that early conversation came inquires regarding off-road. My nephew, Kyle Cunliffe is a pretty experienced rock crawler, competing in King of The Hammers more than a dozen times (some of you may recall articles documenting his exploits) in a heavily-modified wall scaling Jeep Wrangler TJ. The coverage was certainly exciting and it was great to welcome a bit of family to the magazine’s roster. Unfortunately, the coverage met a tepid response and more importantly, Kyle’s family began to grow and with that his work responsibilities. So with that, our short-lived Off-Road Editor position dried up.
Simultaneously, our then staff-editor Gavin Wollenburg began to find joy in taking to the wooded trails and muddy fields of Central Ohio in a four-door ’13 Wrangler four-door. As work progressed the then-named “Project Trail N’ Thrash” Jeep, Gavin also took the reins as Mopar Connection Magazine’s Editor. Among our usual fare of classic Mopar muscle technical content and features, Gavin keep the influx of Jeep content coming. While our advertisers loved it the readership numbers were less than encouraging. Gavin and I mused, maybe you guys just don’t care for Jeep stuff? and maybe the Jeep guys don’t want to go to a Mopar magazine for Jeep content?
Yeah, I know. It kinda sounds like a no-brainer, right? Well, not really. Many of you reading this own Jeeps. Some of you daily drive your Jeeps. You even go off-roading. And if it’s not a Jeep it’s likely a Ram 4×4. The numbers didn’t lie. Mopar guys owned Jeeps, so we kept on jeepin’. So much so, Gavin opened up his own Jeep shop – Rain Rock Offroad in Newark, Ohio. Gavin burned the candle at both ends, putting in full days building customers’ Jeeps and working evenings for Mopar Connection. As a business owner myself with several irons continually in the fire at all times, I could tell something was going to break. After all, no man can serve two masters…
By fall of 2023, Gavin stepped down as Editor of Mopar Connection Magazine. Before his resignation, most of the updates on “Trail N’ Thrash” had dwindled to the occasional update. But that wasn’t to say we were done force-feeding Jeep stuff down people’s throats (LOL!). I had picked up a really solid 2006 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon with some very mild mods, namely a 1-inch lift with Bilstein 5100 shocks; new adjustable lower control arms (front & rear) to set the driveline angles correctly; and a new Bestop Trektop.
I joined some fellow Jeep owners (short of joining the Sumner County Jeep Crew for regular excursions) for a few jaunts into the wooded trails of Tennessee and Kentucky and put out some really fun videos that frankly, I’m pretty proud of. But alas, nobody gave a darn about them. They’re still some of the least-watched videos we’ve produced on the YouTube channel. It’s crazy to me. In fact, the most viewed video I’ve done on the Jeep is troubleshooting the miserable heating system these Jeeps came with. So with that, I put the Wrangler up for sale. I love the little guy, but I’ve got too many other projects going to keep cramming Jeep content into everyone’s faces who don’t want it.
That’s not to say we’ll never publish Jeep content ever again on Mopar Connection Magazine – in fact, I’d love to keep doing it – but not at the cost of developing and publishing articles that you guys really want to see. Obviously, car features are what most people come for. They’re the “centerfolds” that bring people to magazines, after all. So expect plenty of those each and every month. But what drives all of us here is technical articles. The how-to’s are the good stuff, in my opinion, and that’s where I’m going to spend the lion’s share of our efforts.
It’s our goal to help each and everyone of you to get the best know-how content to get your Mopar up and running and out on the road as quickly as possible. And whether that’s OE-level restoration tech or modern hop-ups and hot rodding tutorials, that’s where we’re going to center our focus. If there’s something we’re missing, please leave a comment or drop us a note. We’re all ears. And if there is a newfound interest in Jeeps, we’ll jump right back in. But for now, I might keep my eyes open for a pre-’77 Ramcharger to scratch that off-road itch.