I'm a bright color kinda guy, so anything that falls on the greyscale spectrum isn't going to be terribly interesting to me, with occasional exceptions (I once saw a really sharp white YJ, and although I don't much like YJs or white the combination was pretty sweet).
Sting Gray, for some...
CV joints, which the full-time 4wd system uses, are considered more failure-prone for serious off-roading. I think the boots can be torn to allow dirt inside, but I’ve already said more than I can back up with any actual knowledge.
There’s a good chance someone will, if they haven’t already, release a relocation kit to make the stick longer to compensate for body lifts. You might look for one.
I bought this one recently for my LJ: https://ruggedridge.com/manual-tran-shift-lever-relocation-bracket-kit-18303-20.html
I think you’re mixing two different epochal changes.
Ford (reportedly Henry Ford himself) designed the 9-slot stamped grille because the early Willys grille was too complex and couldn’t be stamped. So most WWII Jeeps from either manufacturer had 9.
When Willys entered the civilian market...
They’ve done as few as 5 (DJ) and as many as 10 (early Comanche and XJ Cherokee).
Update: Heh, I don’t think I ever counted before, but the classic Rhino grille for Gladiators and Willys Wagons had 12 slots.
The problem is the rest of my Jeep friends are unlikely to get a ham license any time soon.
I have my license, but I never use it, because chatting with random strangers isn’t particularly interesting to me. I need to talk to my convoy.
I’ve had luck with the GMRS / FRS combination as well, but I still keep a CB too.’
Unfortunately there seems to be a significant trend to use unlicensed ham with the cheap Chinese handhelds, or the mobile radios from Rugged Radios.
I’ve been without top and doors on my TJ since April in the far less hospitable clime of Indiana. It’s all a question of whether you’re willing to put up with the inconveniences.
I wrote about it last year: https://oppositelock.kinja.com/the-jeep-experience-part-3-rain-dance-1827789577