2022 Polaris General XP 1000 Trip vs. 1948 Jeep Willys CJ-2A

We pit an ancient Jeep against a modern side-by-side.

2022 Polaris General XP 1000 Trailhead Edition and a 1948 Jeep Willys CJ-2A at Windrock Park in Oliver Springs, Tennessee.Camden Thrasher; @CamdenThrasher

We went on a trip with two generations of off-road machines joined together to get some perspective. The CJ-2A is the machine that started it all for American off-roaders nearly 80 years ago. On the opposite side of the timeline we’ve got a brand-new 2022 Polaris General XP 1000 Trailhead Edition. Each machine has flaws and virtues in equal measure. The General is certainly a vastly more comfortable and capable machine. But does that make one better than the other?

Sitting next to each other, these two machines would appear to be polar opposites at first glance.Camden Thrasher; @CamdenThrasher
The Willys name stamped into the hood of the Jeep.Camden Thrasher; @CamdenThrasher
The General name applied to the bed of the Polaris.Camden Thrasher; @CamdenThrasher
A military spec tire on a World War II Jeep.Camden Thrasher; @CamdenThrasher
A consumer-grade off-road tire applied to a modern-day General.Camden Thrasher; @CamdenThrasher
Analog gauges illuminated by an overhead halogen bulb.Camden Thrasher; @CamdenThrasher
A 7-inch glove-compatible touchscreen infotainment center that displays vehicle parameters, audio controls, GPS, and ride-sharing features in the Polaris General XP 1000.Camden Thrasher; @CamdenThrasher
The open-air Jeep CJ-2A tackling a downhill trail section.Camden Thrasher; @CamdenThrasher
The group paused momentarily to reattach the Jeep’s steering shaft to the modified Ford Ranger steering box.Camden Thrasher; @CamdenThrasher
A 1966 Jeep Commando Dauntless odd-fire V-6 engine was grafted into the CJ-2A for more power and better range.Camden Thrasher; @CamdenThrasher
Ice filled every mudhole as the day started near 10 degrees Fahrenheit.Camden Thrasher; @CamdenThrasher
The Jeep didn’t seem to mind playing in the ice.Camden Thrasher; @CamdenThrasher
Trail pace in the CJ-2A is slow but entertaining. You won’t make it very far in a day but you’ll have a blast either way.Camden Thrasher; @CamdenThrasher
Forgetting to turn the auxiliary radiator fan on resulted in a dramatic cloud of steam while the Jeep took a moment to cool down.Camden Thrasher; @CamdenThrasher
Four shifters require attention and understanding. The Jeep can sometimes be more of a tractor than an off-road vehicle.Camden Thrasher; @CamdenThrasher
Neither vehicle has seen war times but both are direct descendants. The CJ-2A comes from the Ford GPW and Willys MB military vehicles. The General was born out of Polaris government MRZR contracts.Camden Thrasher; @CamdenThrasher
Jeep visibility is plentiful. It’s more like riding an ATV than driving a UTV at times.Camden Thrasher; @CamdenThrasher
A bog was ultimately what stopped the little Jeep.Camden Thrasher; @CamdenThrasher
And then a failed winch on the General meant we had to find the tow rope.Camden Thrasher; @CamdenThrasher
An open carburetor filter resulted in fear that we’d sucked some Windrock down the intake. The group called for an all stop to assess the situation.Camden Thrasher; @CamdenThrasher
Spark plugs were pulled and examined. Nothing terrifying was found. Yet the Jeep wouldn’t turn over.Camden Thrasher; @CamdenThrasher
Hours were spent trying to isolate the problem. Should we attempt to fix and keep going or turn back and spare the old machine?Camden Thrasher; @CamdenThrasher
A quick investigation into what lay at the bottom of the oil pan sealed the day’s fate. We were heading home.Camden Thrasher; @CamdenThrasher
The team securely attached the Jeep CJ-2A to the Polaris General and readied it for the hourlong tow back to civilization.Camden Thrasher; @CamdenThrasher
The General never faltered pulling the load in 4WD low. It averaged around 4 mph but everyone made it out.Camden Thrasher; @CamdenThrasher

We ultimately learned that the starter had fully caked its internals with mud, which meant the day was well and truly done. All fluids were changed. The carburetor was rebuilt. The distributor was cleaned out. New spark plugs were installed. The Jeep is perfectly happy to make the trip back when we’re ready. The General never wanted to leave.

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