Just in time for the 50th Annual Easter Jeep Safari (hosted by the Red Rock 4-Wheelers in Moab, Utah USA) the company has revealed some fresh concept vehicles.
Jeep’s designers and engineers are respectful and responsive to its many passionate customers and the opinions they have about new products. So showing a stack of fresh ideas – for both Jeep and MOPAR accessories - in concept vehicles at an event such as this is great for the off-road community and great for Jeep.
Stay tuned to 4x4 Australia for an exclusive drive of some of these special vehicles after Easter.
Crew Chief 715
With a big nod to its military past, the Crew Chief 715 four-door ute mixes extra doors for additional passenger capacity with classic military roots. Said another way, it’s a dual-cab 4x4 (a huge international market but one that Jeep doesn’t participate in) with an open top.
With a nose inspired by the M715 trucks and dressed in what Jeep has named Tactical Green, the Crew Chief drivetrain is a 3.6-litre Pentastar V6, five-speed auto and Dana 60 axles.
It rolls on 20-inch beadlocked rims with 40-inch NDT military tyres inspired by the old bar treads we all hate so much! It’s also stacked with useful equipment such as an on-board air system and winch.
This is a carefully crafted take on the beloved Jeep CJ-5. Based on the present Wrangler, this concept vehicle invokes the spirit of 1950s Americana with a shortened body and functional simplicity with a unique grille, bonnet, tailgate, front and rear wheel flares and custom chrome front and rear bumpers.
Compared to Wrangler, Shortcut is 66cm shorter to keep it light and manoeuvrable. It’s powered by a basically stock Pentastar V6 and five-speed auto. Under the Shortcut are 17-inch red steel wheels and 35-inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM2 tyres on retro-style steel wheels. The interior is retro, too, with plaid red trimmed buckets.
Powered by a 6.2-litre supercharged HEMI Hellcat V8, the Trailcat (that’s a clever name, eh?) takes its styling direction from present off-road competition/motorsport. No wonder – it’s needed a 12-inch splice into the Wrangler chassis to install the engine and six-speed manual.
The windscreen has been chopped too – 50mm. Inside are leather-trimmed carbonfibre seats from a Dodge Viper. With around 520kW, it’s touted as the ‘Ultimate off-road machine.’ No arguments.
Probably the least convincing of the bunch – it is, after all, based on the Renegade soft-roader chassis with a 2.0-litre diesel four-pot – is the Comanche. The Beige Against the Machine concept exterior paint is probably the most inspiring aspect of Comanche: it’s accented with a satin black bonnet, a concept lower front fascia, winch, steel rear bumper, soft top and spare tire in the bed.
The wheelbase has been stretched an additional six inches versus a production Renegade to accommodate Comanche’s 5-foot bed.
Jeep FC 150 Concept
The Jeep FC 150 concept is the real cutesy of this bunch. The original was a forward control vehicle with a long tray built on the CJ-5 chassis from 1956 to 1965. This one is a real oldie survivor but retro-teched by being installed on a 4.0-litre Powertech straight-six powered 2005 Wrangler chassis upgraded with Dana 44 and 60 axles and BFG Mud Terrains.
Love ‘em or not, you really must give Jeep the thumbs-up for its efforts in creating show/concept vehicles such as these and having the heart to showing them to its enthusiast customers at events such as the Easter Jeep Safari. Keep an eye on 4x4 Australia because we’ll be taking a closer look at these Jeeps – and driving them - in our next issue.