Thursday, March 10, 2016

Every Crazy Jeep Concept Created for the 50th Easter Jeep Safari

Of the seven concept cars Jeep magicked into existence for its fans to drool over at the Easter Jeep Safari event in Moab, Utah, one likely generates true awe: the Trailcat, a Wrangler with Chrysler’s 707-hp Hellcat V-8. But there are real treasures among the other six machines, too. Take, for example, the incredibly retro Shortcut, a CJ-5–esque take on today’s Wrangler, or the wonderfully odd FC150, which marries a previous-generation Wrangler chassis with the body of an original Jeep Forward Control. The Crew Chief 715 is a four-door mishmash of an original J-series–based M715 military truck and—you guessed it—modern Wrangler mechanicals. Even the chubby-cute Renegade crossover was made cool by way of a pickup bed and a canvas roof as part of a clever redux of the Comanche truck. Flip through to see everything Jeep cooked up this year:Based on the civilian-issue Jeep Gladiator pickup, the original Kaiser Jeep M715 rolled off the line at Jeep’s Toledo, Ohio, facility for only approximately two years, yet it made an enduring impression that is burned into the minds of Jeep enthusiasts everywhere. Designed initially as a rudimentary hauling vehicle for cargo and personnel, the one-and-one-quarter-ton M715 could also be outfitted for ambulance duty (M725), as a maintenance vehicle (M726), and as a chassis-cab variant (M724), which was generally fitted with a generator/welder and winch. To salute this versatile beast and other military vehicles of the same ilk, Jeep has cooked up the Crew Chief 715 concept, a Wrangler Unlimited–based off-road vehicle that is scheduled to ship out next week for the annual Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah.Clad in a hue of military-inspired “Tactical Green” from stem to stern, the Crew Chief 715 concept sports a five-foot cargo bed aft of the rear seats. Far from just a cosmetic homage, the Jeep Crew Chief includes steel front and rear bumpers, 20-inch beadlock wheels wearing 40-inch NDT (non-directional tread) tires, and Dana 60 front and rear axles with a four-inch lift kit and Jeep Performance Parts/Fox 2.0 remote-reservoir shocks. Jeep Performance Parts chipped in with a set of off-road rock rails, and a pair of winches—one front, one rear—guarantee the 715 will be popular on the more difficult trails. Adding to the Crew Chief’s arsenal of hardware is an onboard air-compressor system with a quick-disconnect fitting that makes airing up the 715 or any nearby vehicles a cinch. READ MORE ››Everyone, please welcome the 707-hp Jeep Wrangler you didn’t know you were waiting for yet secretly hoped Chrysler would someday build. The Jeep Trailcat, created for Jeep’s 50th annual Easter Safari fan fest in Moab, Utah, has between its frame rails the very same supercharged V-8 Hellcat engine that has been decimating Dodge Challenger and Charger tires since 2014. This is the best worst idea ever!You can figure out where the Trailcat name came from, so we’ll skip that explanation and get right down to the important issue here: This Wrangler has a Hellcat engine, and it’s bolted to a six-speed manual transmission (!). That’s the only data point that matters. Jeep says it lengthened the Trailcat’s wheelbase by 12 inches over that of a regular Wrangler to help the engine fit, or maybe to try to imbue this monster with some dynamic civility. But really, why even try? READ MORE ››The Jeep Renegade is no Cherokee XJ, but Jeep is nonetheless leveraging its newest cute-ute to re-create the Cherokee-based Comanche pickup you might remember from the 1980s and ’90s. Although not as wild as some of this year’s other Easter Jeep Safari conceptual creations like the Hellcat-powered Wrangler Trailcat, the new Comanche concept is a nifty little diesel-powered trucklet that still piques our interest.Grafting the Comanche’s five-foot bed onto the crossover is a bit more involved than your typical hack job, as Jeep engineers stretched the wheelbase six inches compared with the standard Renegade. A Wrangler-style softtop also replaces the hardtop, giving us visions of the bizarre Dodge Dakota pickup convertible made between 1989 and 1991. READ MORE ››Out of respect for its sheer awesomeness, we are just going to lay down some facts and get out of the way: The Jeep FC150 is a genuine 1960 FC150 steel body dropped atop a 2005 Jeep Wrangler (TJ) chassis. Cool, right? Well, here is something else cool: It’s powered by Jeep’s venerable 4.0-liter six (Jeep likes to call it PowerTech I-6), the final version of the hardworking inline six-cylinder that has roots stretching back to the early 1960s; a three-speed automatic transmission keeps things appropriately simple in the power-delivery department.Now that you’ve had a moment to wrap your head around the genius of the FC150 concept, we’ll share a few more details. Mating the FC body to the modern underpinnings was a fairly straightforward affair, although it did require the TJ chassis to be shortened and some custom fitting of the body mounts. Although it wears a near perfect patina as it sits, the donor vehicle did require some body repair, including the repainting of some sections of the bodywork, which were later weathered to match. The engine position miraculously turned out to be just about perfect, and it sits in the frame just as it left the factory. A Dana 44 axle underpins the front, and a Dana 60 rides out back. 33-inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM2 tires are mounted to period correct 17-inch white steelies. Inside, the FC150 features vinyl seat covers, a custom headliner wrapped in a vintage duck-hunting pattern, an analog compass, Mopar all-weather mats, and, arguably our favorite interior bit, an old CB radio. A 1960 Michigan “farm” license plate and vintage auxiliary lamp complete the look. READ MORE ››Sometimes less Jeep is more Jeep—that’s the case with the Shortcut, a concept vehicle that takes the Wrangler down in size by more than two feet, with the result being an ultra-capable off-roader that harks back to the classic CJ-5.Starting with a two-door Wrangler, Jeep engineers chopped 14 inches out of the body—although the wheelbase remains the same. They then removed another foot of overall length by bringing the bumpers (custom minimalist units) in closer and losing the rear-mounted spare tire, the net result being that the concept is more than two feet shorter than a standard Wrangler, bringing it close in size to the CJ-5 of 1954–83. READ MORE ››Based on a Wrangler Unlimited, the Trailstorm tackles the dirt with 37-inch tires and a two-inch lift kit that incorporates Fox shocks. Dana 44 front and rear axles put the power down, while the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and five-speed automatic transmission carry over from the stock Wrangler. READ MORE ››As opposed to many of the other outlandish Easter Jeep Safari concepts, the Jeep Renegade Commander is something that could be created in your garage—if you own a Renegade and buy all the right Mopar accessories and performance parts, that is. READ MORE ››
from Car and Driver Blog

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