World’s wildest Jeep utes break cover
The Gladiator pick-up is leading the charge as Jeep and Mopar prepare to unleash their annual concept vehicles at the 53rd Moab Easter Jeep Safari.
The nine-day event involves extreme off-roading on the Utah rocks and trails, drawing thousands of participants and even more spectators.
Jeep is celebrating the launch of its four-door, 4WD pick-up by rolling out nothing but concept trucks this year. The vehicles range from mild decal and accessories updates to fully customised rigs, including a two-door Gladiator with a 1.8m-plus tub.
Jeep North American brand boss Tim Kuniskis says Moab is a sounding board for how the public rates the vehicles and accessories - and what else they'd like to see in or on a Jeep.
Among the reasons the concepts and custom accessories are created each year is to enable designers to gain first-hand feedback on which features gelled with the 4WD fraternity.
This year's vehicles include:
The J6 concept is the vehicle Jeep should build next. Officially, the two-door Gladiator is a one-off vehicle based on a four-door Wrangler Rubicon.
The frame was extended (though the wheelbase is unchanged) and the body modified to the two-door configuration backed by a 183cm bed, as opposed to the 156cm tray in a production four-door Gladiator, with a prototype bed liner that matches the body colour.
Four 125mm LED lights festoon the roll bar and a prototype spare wheel carrier takes up some of the load space.
A two-inch lift kit is fitted for extra clearance. When things touch down, a 50mm diameter stinger bar (with more LEDs) to protect the radiator bolts on to the Rubicon's metal front bumper and there are similar diameter rock rails for extra side protection.
The stinger bar is a mounting point for four additional lights - add the pair bolted near the windscreen pillars, and that's 10 LED lights illuminating the trail. The stock Jeep Gladiator Rubicon hood is accented with Mopar hood latches featuring the Jeep logo.
If the two-door is off the table, this is the Gladiator you'd like to see in the garage. It started life as a Rubicon version with a 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 and eight-speed auto.
Jeep created a custom bed rack with an inbuilt ladder to support a two-person tent that cranks up and down in about 15 seconds. A side-mounted canopy provides protection before bed, covering the back of the vehicle, and comes with amber LED lighting.
Australian accessories brand ARB was tapped for on on-board air compressor and the body-mounted air supply line enables owners to adjust tyre pressures as conditions demand.
The lift kit is also the 50mm Jeep Performance Parts job and the 37-inch mud-terrain tyres wrap around 17-inch steel wheels that pay homage to the original Willys.
There is a set of Mopar/Decked lockable drawers in the tub.
The Wayout is powered by the award-winning 3.6-litre Pentastar V6, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The Flatbill is everything the Wayout is not, according to Gladiator exterior designer Taylor Langhals. Motorbikes are one of Langhals' loves and he oversaw the creation of this motocross-rider's dream.
The motocross culture inspired the high-clearance wheel arches and vented carbon-fibre hood, while the "41" graphics reflect Jeep's 1941 origins and tip the hat to the livery of MotoGP ace Valentino Rossi.
The pair of slide-in wheel ramps in the tub makes loading and unloading bikes - KTMs in this case - an uncomplicated process. Modified front and rear bumpers sharpen the clearance angles so the Flatbill can reach extreme environments.
That capability is bolstered by Dynatrac Pro-Rock 60 front and rear axles, plus an Off-Road Evolution custom 100mm lift kit to house the 40-inch tyres.
Power comes from the 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 with a cold-air Mopar intake, also mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Jeep M-715 Five-Quarter
This vehicle started life as a M-715 military vehicle built to operate in Vietnam. Jeep found it on Craigslist and set about injecting a modern look and powertrain.
The "Five-quarter" moniker is derived from the tag applied by soldiers during the Vietnam War. The payload is one-and-a-quarter-tonnes.
A carbon-fibre grille takes pride of place up front, 9cm was lopped off the cabin roof and a convertible top fitted and the custom alloy bed was trimmed to a street-friendly 1.9m.
A 6.2-litre supercharged "Hellcrate" V8 delivers more than 520kW and the front and rear axles have been upgraded to rugged Dynatrack Pro-rock 60 and 80 units respectively
The lights are now LEDs, the interior gets new Wrangler seats and the dash mirrors the exposed alloy look of the exterior.
Jeep Gladiator Gravity
The Gravity's attraction is the fact the rock-climber themed concept can easily be created using standard Mopar aftermarket parts.
The Gladiator Rubicon base car is painted in "Punk'N Metallic Orange" and the hardtop roof replaced by a mesh "sunbonnet" for an open-air feel, complemented by the tube rail doors and fold-down windscreen.
The bed has been fitted with cross rails and a cargo carrier basket to store bulky items, while Mopar/Decked bed drawers secure the more valuable items. Black Mopar grille, lift kit, 35-inch tyres, auxiliary lights and heavy-gauge rock rails finish off the exterior.
The leather-trimmed "Katzkin" leather seats have the Jeep grille logo stitched into the fabric. All-weather floor mats fit over the standard floor plugs so owners can wash out the footwells as required.
Jeep JT Scrambler
As with the Gravity, the Scrambler isn't too far removed from a regular Gladiator. The heritage-inspired concept uses bespoke colours for the body stripes and roof panel, the roll bar is a one-off but the rest is largely off-the-shelf Mopar componentry.
Based on the Gladiator Rubicon, the Scrambler is fitted with a set of four five-inch LED lights on the bar and two fixed on the windsceen pillars. Up front, the pair of LEDs pack an eyeball-searing 8000 lumens apiece.
Lift kit, rock rails and 17-inch Jeep Performance Part tyres complete the exterior.
Under the hood is the Pentastar V6.