Jeep's gone bonkers with amazing concepts for its 75th birthday
Jeep Easter Safari 2016 concepts
Thousands of Jeep enthusiasts gather every year in Moab, Utah for the Easter Jeep Safari to traverse trails on a 9-day expedition that pushes the limits of off-road capabilities. This year's Safari marks the 50th anniversary for the event and the 75th birthday of Jeep and the Jeep brand, and the auto maker isn't holding back with its celebratory festivities.
Jeep is bringing seven salacious concepts to the Moab, which kicks off on March 19, with completely customized vehicles based off Wranglers and Renegades. These concepts range from a couple accessory add-ons to outrageous makeovers. Either way, I'd be willing to give up an organ or two to take one home.
The most insane concept out of the seven is the Jeep Trailcat. Start with a Jeep Wrangler, remove the motor, transmission and shoehorn the supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi Hellcat V8 engine and six-speed manual transmission in the engine bay. As with the Dodge Charger and Challenger SRT Hellcat's, the Jeep Trailcat produces 707 horsepower (hp).
Jeep beefs up the off-road capabilities by adding big 39.5-inch BFGoodrich Krawler T/A KX tires and Fox shocks. The front and rear axles were upgraded to Dana 60 units, too, so the Trailcat should be fast and extremely capable off-road.
Despite the off-road pedigree of the Wrangler, I'd love to spend a week in the desert with the Trailcat, just driving in circles.
Jeep Crew Chief 715
Jeep's Crew Chief 715 concept channels the old school Kaiser M715, a former Jeep used by the military. Based off the Wrangler Unlimited, the Crew Chief 715 adds a truck bed, retro front-end styling and a 4-inch lift.
The front-end styling resembles the Kaiser M715, but as a 90's kid, it reminds me of the Jeep Grand Wagoneer. All it needs is some fake wood paneling.
The Jeep Shortcut takes the Wrangler and shortens the body to resemble the CJ-5 of yesteryear. Jeep cut off 26-inches of length, including the bumpers and spare tire, for a unique look. And, because it's a Jeep, it also receives beefy off-road tires and a 2-inch lift.
This particular concept reminds me of the red Power Wheels Jeep I had as a kid, and I really want one.
I'm a big fan of the Jeep Renegade and its adorable looks. The Comanche takes the Jeep Renegade and tosses out everything south of the front doors for a truck bed. Jeep had to stretch the wheelbase six inches for the 5-foot bed to fit.
To further sweeten the forbidden fruit, the Jeep Comanche sports a 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel motor that's available everywhere in the world, except North America. I'm not sure if Jeep is giving its fans hopes and dreams of a diesel baby Jeep in the US or if it's trolling. Whatever its plan, TAKE MY MONEY NOW!
Jeep FC 150
Jeep's final outrageous concept is the FC 150, which uses an original steel body from a 1960 Forward Control, but is completely updated beneath. The chassis sitting below the FC 150 is from a 2005 Wrangler that's been enhanced for greater off-road capabilities, with beefier axles and 33-inch off-road tires.
While the FC 150 isn't based on the latest and greatest, I appreciate that Jeep embraces its heritage and doesn't try to reinvent itself every couple of years.
Not all of the concepts Jeep is bringing to the Easter Jeep Safari are insane. The company is bringing out two mildly modified production cars loaded with factory accessories in the form of the Jeep Trailstorm and Renegade Commander.
The Trailstorm takes a stock Wrangler and loads it up with a 2-inch lift, new shocks, beefier axles, a winch and visual enhancements, while the Renegade Commander does the same with the mini-me Renegade.
I'm having a hard time deciding which Jeep concept is my favorite. Honestly, it's difficult to choose because I love them all.
The sheer insanity of shoehorning a Hellcat motor into the Wrangler is a marvelous creation, but I'm also a sucker for the Renegade.
Slapping a truck bed on the Renegade would make a sweet mini-truck that's a perfect daily driver for a bachelor. But there's also the Crew Chief 715, with its in-your-face front end of former Kaiser M715 trucks.
Ultimately, if I had to pick a favorite, I have to go with the Jeep Shortcut. The shortened, all-red Jeep brings back memories of my childhood and cruising the neighborhood in my red Power Wheels Jeep. It's my favorite for the nostalgia factor.