DRIVEN correspondent James Lamdin is fearless in his pursuit of adventure on four wheels. Read on for his latest unleaded excursion…

Not all Jeeps are created equal. Case in point: the AEV Brute.

The Jeep may be the single most recognizable American vehicle in the world, having transported Americans around the globe since the onset of World War II.

From the beaches of Normandy to the dunes of the Sahara and the islands of the Pacific, Jeeps have moved men and equipment through the most treacherous conditions on earth for the better part of a century.

And although they’ve gotten bigger, stronger and more capable since their introduction, nothing that has come off the assembly line has ever come close to this.


AEV (American Expedition Vehicles) is an outfit based out of Michigan that does only one thing—takes stock Jeeps and brings them to a whole new level of badassery.

Working in conjunction with the manufacturer directly, AEV takes Jeeps right off the final stages of the production line and modifies them to be the ultimate American 4×4.

Unlike the multitude of aftermarket bolt-on parts suppliers that permeate Jeep culture, AEV is a no-holds-barred manufacturer that has been modifying Jeeps for serious field use for over 15 years.

The latest model to get the treatment is the 4-Door Wrangler, which provides the foundation for the Brute Double Cab pickup model you see here.


Cut, stretched, lifted and enhanced, the Brute is arguably the most well-rounded modern vehicle for crossing glaciers, deserts and mountains, and general overlanding.

They come fully kitted with a full range of AEV equipment, including an impressive suspension upgrade, a lengthened and reinforced chassis, a stamped steel front bumper with integrated fog lamps, a composite bed, an optional V8 Hemi conversion, and even a rear bumper designed to hold seven gallons of emergency drinking water.

AEV not only manufactures a superior product for serious off-road use, but they do it with the highest levels of quality control and refinement in the market, which earned them a Chrysler Design Excellence award.


Furthermore, almost all of AEVs components are manufactured within a few hundred miles of Detroit, adding some serious “Made in America” credibility.

The Brute is incredibly well-designed and executed, and doesn’t sacrifice comfort for capability.

Already proven in the field, we also found that it is perfectly suited for an early-summer run to Red Hook’s delectable Brooklyn Crab, and made mince meat of the borough’s lousy street conditions.

It also didn’t have any trouble mounting the sidewalk for the photo op.

Which bodes well for a serious expedition truck…