I had the honor of meeting and spending a nice day with Anthony Carvallo; one of the 5 Product Planning Managers who followed the development of the new Wrangler for Jeep.
Pictures and text by Paolo Baraldi
If I look at what happened to me in California, I could say that it is true that America is the land of opportunity. After having the pleasure of testing the new JL Rubicon, I had the honor of meeting and spending a nice day with Anthony Carvallo; one of the 5 Product Planning Managers who followed the development of the new Wrangler for Jeep. Here you can read the interview that I did to him.
- Anthony, when did your passion for off-road start?
I could say from always. I remember that at the age of ten I was devouring offroad magazines and cutting out the articles or photos I liked to hang them in my bedroom. Over the years my passion has grown more and more until I could drive and I realized that my life was offroad. At the same time I fell in love with Jeep and I grew the dream of making one.
- What did you do to make this your wish come true?
Well, first of all I studied and I became an engineer. Once I graduated I had the opportunity to be hired in Jeep.
- Can you tell us about your career in Jeep?
It started in 1999 as a Durability Engineer where I did the tests on the cars and then moved on to be Service Parts Engineer. Later as Offroad Performance Engineer I collaborated in the creation and development for Mopar of some truly unique examples such as: Mopar Immortal, Mopar XJ Stoker, Mopar General. Mopar JK8, Mopar Sandtrooper and Mopar Blue Crush. I spent my last 4 years in Jeep as Wrangler Product Planning Manager where with 4 other engineers we developed the new Jeep Wrangler JL.
- Now you work for Dynatrac, why?
Yes, it's true. In 2017, finished the JL project I was looking for new experience. After having crowned my dream of making a Jeep, I set a new goal: to modify and prepare Jeep in according to my desire. Dynatrac gave me this chance and the first job I followed for them was the Code 1 that fully reflects my soul as a rock crawler and traveler.
- We return speack about Jeep and new Wrangler. I am very curious to know how the development of the JL was.
I think the best thing was the fact that both I and the other 4 Product Planning Managers were all offroad fans. We have had the opportunity to transfer our experience as an offroader in the development of the new Wrangler and this, besides being an honor, I believe we can see in many small details of the final result.
- How did you work to design the JL?
Obviously we started from JK. We analyzed it and first we worked to optimize all those aspects that did not work or did not like. In the design phase, the off-road appearance has always been very important. Fortunately all five of us were offroaders and the whole thing was much simpler.
- Can you talk about some news introduced in the JL and that maybe in the official presentations are not described?
The new Wrangler JL presents many new aspects; some of which are emphasized in the presentations and others that will perhaps never be officially described. Among the things that I consider most important for offroad are the new generation of Dana axles, the new fixing system of shock absorbers designed to be easily replaced with aftermarket versions and also positioned, like the rear ones, to be more performing. In fact, at the rear axle the shock absorbers fixed externally to the frame allow a better mobility of the axle. The side air vents, in addition to being beautiful, are functional to eliminate the vibration of the bonnet present on the JK. The door fastening system has been improved to facilitate removal and assembly, and the windscreen is also fixed in a different way and can be removed completely and with less effort. Finally, the soft top is better fixed with simpler and faster fixing point.
- Any gem you've hidden in JL?
Yes, there is something! For example, if you look at the bonnet closing hooks you will see a flare created to pass the winch control cable to the driver so that during the winching operations it does not go on the wheels. You know, when we are outdoors we like to always have something to drink, coffee, or beer, but when you open the back door to take something you never know where to put the can ... here it is the upper flaring made for our can. The interior space between the bonnet and the engine is also designed to accommodate aluminum containers to heat the food.
- Next year a new Jeep pickup should arrive ... what can you tell us?
(Tony smiles) Unfortunately nothing, I'm sorry but when I left Jeep I had to sign a lot of confidential documents and I can not talk about that.