Two-Door Jeep Gladiator by Quadratec Off-Roads With the Best and Is Cleaner Than the Rest

The great outdoors is an awesome place that offers unlimited potential for adventure and countless opportunities to take in the beauty that is our chaotic existence. Unfortunately, the world around us is just as delicate as it is spectacular. If we want to continue to enjoy the land, it’s our duty to take care of it. 

That’s something the Jeep experts at Quadratec have taken to heart. Two years ago, Quadratec’s director of content Eric Ammerman assumed the responsibility as project and concept manager of the “50 for 50” initiative. He and his team embarked on a nationwide trail stewardship project. Its name comes from the fact that the sole effort is to complete 50 tasks, one for each of the states. To raise awareness for this endeavor, and because the folks on this campaign needed an actual work truck, a machine was built. 

Jeep Gladiator JTe Quadratec 50 for 50 review

The vehicle is a two-door JTe Gladiator Ammerman and builder Greg Henderson at Unofficial Use Only put their heads together to create. It first appeared at SEMA in 2022 and since then, it’s made its way around the country, tackling various jobs on trails in multiple states. It’s no mall crawler. It’s a serious piece of equipment. 

It’s incredibly impressive from appearances alone. The build is done so well that it’s hard to believe that Jeep hasn’t replicated what Quadratec and Unofficial Use Only came up with. And though looks may only be a part of the story, spending a weekend with it confirms that it really is the complete package that more people should get the chance to experience. 

2022 Jeep Gladiator JTe Custom Specs
Base Model2022 Jeep Wrangler JLe 
Powertrain2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder plug-in hybrid | 8-speed automatic transmission | four-wheel drive
Horsepower375
Torque470 lb-ft
Suspension2.5-inch Lynx lift
Wheels and Tires37-inch Nitto Recon Grappler tires | 17-inch Lynx Trail Gunner wheels 
Seating Capacity2
Bed Size 5 feet
BumpersCarnivore HD Steel Front and Rear 
Quick TakeAn over-the-top package that hits the mark in every respect. 
Score9/10
Jeep Gladiator JTe Quadratec 50 for 50 review

Far From Factory

What we’re looking at is a Jeep Wrangler JLe that’s been converted into a two-door Gladiator. A four-door Wrangler was the prime choice, as the room was there to chop the cabin and splice in a bed without altering the wheelbase. Had a Gladiator been used as the starting point, the process would have involved shortening the frame, creating a ton more work. 

That’s not to say that a ton of customization wasn’t involved. The passenger compartment was shortened at the B-pillar, where the rear section of a Gladiator cabin was added. The workmanship here is absolutely astounding. I spent a good amount of time trying to find any signs of the splice in the sheet metal, and there simply weren’t any. It looks like it rolled out of the factory this way. 

Jeep Gladiator JTe Quadratec 50 for 50 review

The custom bodywork doesn’t end there, either. According to the team, tucking the rear bumper to the bed in a way that looked equally as natural took some serious effort, but the results there are so clean that it’s hard to believe any massaging was done.

The color is also a totally custom deal that the builder had crafted for this project. Firstly, it’s green which happens to be Mother Nature’s favorite color and, believe it or not, ground-up bottles were used to create the glimmer. That’s right, it’s not a metal flake—it’s recycled glass. 

Jeep Gladiator JTe Quadratec 50 for 50 review

Other than the shortened cabin and a bed grafted onto it, this is, for all intents and purposes, a 2022 Jeep Wrangler JLe. It’s equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine outfitted with a custom AWE exhaust and backed by an eight-speed automatic transmission. Yes, it’s the plug-in hybrid, and the factory battery location was retained in the custom fabrication process. 

Of course, it’s been heavily modified for off-road use. It’s sitting on a Lynx 2.5-inch suspension lift that allows the fitment of 37-inch Nitto Recon Grapplers mated to 17-inch Lynx TrailGunner wheels. At the front and rear are heavy-duty steel bumpers from Carnivore outfitted with Res-Q synthetic-rope winches for those extra-dicey moments. It’s also equipped with Quadratech’s 50-inch Stealth interior light bar that’s tucked neatly to the top of the windshield so you can harness the power of the sun, should you be caught on the trail after it calls it quits. 

Jeep Gladiator JTe Quadratec 50 for 50 review

If you look hard enough inside the cabin, you will find some signs that this was once a four-door Wrangler, namely in the control panel. The rear window operation switches in the dash are a dead giveaway. That’s about it, though. The cabin really does look and feel like that of a two-door truck should, complete with custom-embroidered bucket seats and a center console. Some folks might deduct points for the inherently cramped nature and lack of additional seating, but this is a custom build that’s simply not meant to appeal to them anyway. 

It’s not a totally barebones configuration inside, but it’s not exactly loaded to the gills either. It’s equipped with a custom Alpine i509-WRA-JL 9-inch multimedia system and dual-zone climate control, which is pretty awesome for something purpose-built as this is. Any additional bells and whistles are limited to auxiliary equipment like a light bar, differential lock and sway-bar disconnect controls, and CB radio that better help this vehicle serve its purpose. It’s not a lot by modern standards, but it’s everything it needs to be and is worlds apart from Jeep’s last two-door pickup, the Comanche, which I did have the opportunity to do a side-by-side comparison with. 

Jeep Gladiator JTe Quadratec 50 for 50 review

Driving Impressions 

I’m not going to sell you on this Jeep being something it’s not. It’s loud. It’s cumbersome. It’s everything you’d expect a custom off-road rig to be. However, the quality of the workmanship and thought that went into each step taken in the build process really do shine through time and time again. 

Those elements made themselves immediately known when I jumped on the turnpike. I was surprised to find myself in a highway trance as I barreled down the asphalt at 80 mph. The Jeep didn’t struggle to maintain those speeds under normal conditions. Despite being so big and so radical, it hums right along. It’s civilized enough that it’s easy to forget you’re rolling around in a lifted Jeep on 37s. 

Jeep Gladiator JTe Quadratec 50 for 50 review

I should point out that I’m pretty much accustomed to loud and uncomfortable driving experiences, but this really isn’t bad at all. The light bar placement did make things feel kind of cramped at my height, but this is a custom vehicle built for someone else, after all. Besides, the absolute absurdity of this build and everything good about it easily outweighs those complaints anyway. 

The PHEV creeps through town easily with the little turbocharged four-banger and eight-speed transmission. There’s no issue getting up to speed with traffic or slowing with it. Obviously, turns can feel a bit sketchy if you’re driving like an idiot, but that’s a rare issue. It does sit high, but it doesn’t feel like toppling over is as much of a risk as you’d think. Before leaving the shop, Ammerman told me about how the added weight of that battery, its location way low, and the offset of the engine likely benefited the driving experience. After a few days of tearing it up on the windy back roads of Northeastern Pennsylvania, I have to say he was right. 

Absolute Overkill 

I opted out of totally beating the life out of this thing. Even when Ammerman turned to me and said “Do whatever you want,” as he handed over the keys, I knew the last thing I should do is head over to Rausch Creek with a buddy to turn this thing on its head. 

Instead, I toured around some local dams and headed into spots I knew to be an issue for the work trucks I’m used to driving around. Areas that I would otherwise get out and walk to so as not to get stuck.

Jeep Gladiator JTe Quadratec 50 for 50 review

It’s no surprise that this thing is absolutely overkill for anything I could get into. Granted, the worst of it was only a muddy grassy riverbank. However, even down in the muck, this thing had no issue crawling around. I didn’t even have to think about turning on four-wheel drive. I’d expect nothing less from something this insane. I may not have given it the workout I could have, but I’m really not sure you need much more than a simple lift kit and some oversized tires to have an awesome time on the trails of PA. Though, the winch and spare tire are definitely a killer line of insurance to have on hand. 

That said, it was a blast banging around the bunny trails I explored over the weekend. Whenever I could do something “difficult,” I did. Though I didn’t stop to take any mandatory flex pictures, I did feel the Jeep bro in me slowly start to rear his head. 

The lighting was equally as addicting once the sun went down. The roads in my neck of the woods are tight and poorly lit. With the whitetail population being as big as it is, you really have to tread with care so as not to wind up in serious trouble. That mighty light bar, however, is mighty enough to expose deer and other critters scattering and hiding in the brushes seemingly miles away. 

Jeep Gladiator JTe Quadratec 50 for 50 review

All in all, there’s no way I could personally use up all of this Jeep’s potential unless I was intentionally trying to break it or get it stuck. The builders obviously aced the execution of building the vehicle to complete specific tasks, and that’s far more than enough for anything a hot-rodder like me could get into. 

 I did also sleep in this Jeep over the weekend. And no, it’s not because I landed myself in some hot water at home. Actually, it’s what led this Jeep to me in the first place. 

Jeep Gladiator JTe Quadratec 50 for 50 review

The idea was originally for me to test out the Lost Canyon bed tent and air mattress. But because it’s an application-specific deal for a Jeep Gladiator, one thing led to another, and I wound up with a totally custom purpose-built machine for the weekend. So, even if I didn’t blast through the desert, spending the night in its bed helped me get to know this rig better than most. 

The tent is awesome. It’s roomy and comfortable, super easy to set up and tear down, and sleeping in it took this whole experience to the next level. Something about waking up with the sun and heading out for a morning coffee with the Jeep you just camped in feels so right. That’s once you get past the height thing. A lift and 37s put that tailgate way off the ground. And though this isn’t a trendy rooftop tent, you sure feel like you’re falling out of one when you’re half asleep, hopping out of bed for a bathroom run. 

Jeep Gladiator JTe Quadratec 50 for 50 review

50-State Cleanup 

At the end of the day, this Jeep does absolutely everything it needs to. You can throw a ton more parts at it to make it a better rock crawler, a better mud truck, or better for blasting around the dunes. However, it is aptly set up to do a little bit of everything because that’s what it’s up against in its crusade to keep the trails off-roaders know and love clean and active for years to come. 

That’s what Tread Lightly!, an outdoor recreation education and stewardship non-profit, and Quadratec have come together to accomplish with the 50 for 50 project. Again, this is a nationwide trail cleanup project that involves helping shape up a trail in each state. 

Jeep Gladiator JTe Quadratec 50 for 50 review

“We’ve been a partner with [Tready Lightly!] for 31 years, and two years ago, we decided it’s time to step it up and kind of make a bigger push,” said Ammerman, who happens to be the project manager of both the 50 for 50 initiative and the JTe. “So we came up with the 50 for 50 project, which is one project in every one of the states over a 24-month period… The goal is to have some kind of project in every state. And we’re just over halfway now, so I think we’ve got up to 28 projects this weekend.” 

The jobs vary in size and are highly dependent on what the local authorities and organizations make available to the project. Mind you, everything is done legally, and that tends to make things more difficult for any kind of recreational off-roading in some places. Sometimes, it’s a full-on cleanup where they haul loads of trash out of a given area, or it can simply be adding or updating trail signs. Regardless, they work tirelessly to do something to rehabilitate trails for fellow off-roaders. When the project for any given state is completed, it’s tracked by the addition of a dedicated sticker added to the map on the tailgate of the truck. Any states you see colored in blue means a task was completed there. 

Jeep Gladiator JTe Quadratec 50 for 50 review

“We just want the public lands and outdoor recreation to be around for generations,” said Ammerman.  “One way we can do that is by educating and cleaning up and making sure we do it in every state so it’s accessible to everyone. Moab, Utah, California, a lot of the western states get a lot of attention with the public lands and people taking care of it, but your Alabamas and Mississippis aren’t getting that because it’s not as big a sport down there. So we’re trying to bring it to everybody so those people that are in Mississippi can kind of spread the word and share how to do it responsibly.” 

Far too often, motorsports enthusiasts get a bad rap. They’re often shown as a part of the issue on account of the few bad eggs who don’t do things ethically and pay no mind to the damage they’re causing. Many, however—such as those involved with this 50 for 50 program—are wholly aware of what negligence will lead to and they’re doing their part to stunt that progress. Whether or not you’re an off-roader or are even keen on this particular build, it’s hard not to walk away feeling inspired to do your part by enjoying the vehicles you love in the cleanest way to ensure the sport is around for future generations.

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