Going off road is a Wrangler’s raison d'être, but the path towards Jeep ownership is a winding one, filled with alluring gullies and washouts to explore.

Take, for instance, the Filson Edition AEV Brute. It starts life as a Wrangler Unlimited four-door model, and it leaves the AEV skunk works with virtually no bolt, bracket or brace left untouched en route to amassing a $130,000 price tag.

Then there is the Wrangler Willys Wheeler Edition, a bare-bones mudder bearing the name of Jeep’s World War II-era ancestor. It will make its debut on 20 November at the 2013 Los Angeles auto show with a starting price of $25,795 (excluding undisclosed destination charge).

Two Jeeps serving two very different masters.

The AEV Brute is the product of American Expedition Vehicles, a Michigan-based Wrangler customiser, which swaps out the basic vehicle’s 3.6-litre V6 engine for a 6.4-litre V8 Hemi – virtually doubling the engine displacement. A 61in (1.5 metre) covered pickup flatbed is added, as is a Warn winch, skid plates, a water pump and a number of architectural upgrades. Filson, an upscale hunting and fishing outfitter with a pedigree dating to the California Gold Rush, steps in with brown leather, quick-dry fabrics and “a pair of Rugged Twill bags”.

Jeep’s back-to-basics Wrangler receives upgraded traction components and a raft of exterior signatures, including “Willys” decals and glossy trim paint – and not much else.