Jeep has once again teamed up with FCA performance division Mopar to create a series of one-off specials for the annual Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah, set to kick off this weekend.
Five of the seven concepts are based on various versions of the new Wrangler, all lifted and pumped up – and not all featuring doors – while a plucky Renegade joins in too. The seventh is a rather splendid ‘restomod’ of a sixties Wagoneer, to add some clearer historical context to all this enthusiast-targeted fun.
The seven concepts are:
Based on a 1965 ‘SJ’ iteration of the venerable full-size SUV of yore, the Roadtrip utilises an original steel body, but modified with the later ‘razor’ grille and lengthened to accommodate a new reinforced chassis with a five-inch-longer wheelbase (plus flared arches to cover the wider front and rear tracks).
Further tweaks for tackling trails include bigger bumpers and new rock rails. More nostalgic touches include wicker headliner and a custom toolbox made from a ‘Tornado’ straight-six valve cover – no longer required for its intended purpose, as the original engine has been replaced with a 5.7-litre Hemi V8.
Officially taking inspiration from the ‘Pork Chop’ and ‘Stitch’ concepts from 2011 and 2013, the 4SPEED (which actually has an eight-speed transmission) is a stripped-down, hardcore Wrangler meant to show off the new two-litre turbo engine available in the conventional version.
Design-wise, the highlights include a lack of doors and bumpers, bodywork a full 22 inches shorter despite keeping the original wheelbase, a raked low-profile windscreen and plenty of carbon bodywork to save weight. The rear seats have also disappeared, while a folding ‘bikini top’ has been fashioned from a welding curtain.
The most extreme build, performance-wise, has been achieved by combining a 6.4-litre Mopar crate V8 with Baja-grade suspension upgrades (including moving the front axle four inches forwards).
Nestled between and behind the vast rock-crawler tyres is a modest bull bar carrying two ‘chase lights’, while a smoothed-down pickup-style rear end – created by chopping out the rear doors – houses a spare wheel and rollcage. A carbonfibre bonnet and flares complete the hardcore look.
The nominee for the cheesiest name of the bunch, the upgraded B-segment utility crossover features the same 1.5-inch suspension lift kit, roof rack, rock rails and all-weather floor mats that customers can order for their own little Renegade through Mopar.
The 17-inch wheels look modest in this company but, along with new front and rear fascias, add some toughness to what’s normally a rather innocuous CUV.
Speaking of cheesy names, this particular Wrangler Rubicon is packed to the rafters with off-the-shelf Mopar accessories, from the bulging bonnet to the two-inch-round tube frame ‘doors’.
Extra lights are fitted to the A-pillars and in the winch-equipped front bumper for night crawling adventures, while the leather interior features an embroidered image of the iconic Jeep DRG.
The other retro offering evokes the 1966 Jeepster with its white-over-red two-tone colour scheme, while a chopped roof and windscreen add sleekness in the same vain. Other custom touches include moving the spare wheel to the interior in order to fit storage boxes to the tailgate, plus a bespoke ‘rock step’ to ease clambering in and out while protecting the underbody.
The rest of it, special badges and stitching aside, is made using ‘Jeep Performance Parts’ accessories.
Finally, the J-Wagon is meant to balance on-road and off-road usability to bring things back to the modern SUV reality a bit. The wheels and various bits of trim are finished off with Jeep’s ‘Brass Monkey’ colour treatment, first seen at SEMA, to add some subtle bronze to an otherwise monochrome appearance.
A snorkel, roof rack and rock rails add the off-road flavour, while the on-road comfort is suggested by premium custom leather and more Brass Monkey trim finishers inside.
The 52nd Annual Moab Easter Jeep Safari will run from 24th March to 1st April. Perhaps next year there’ll be a simplified route added for a lifted version of the upcoming sub-Renegade junior Jeep…