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Concept Jeeps From the Moab Easter Jeep Safari

Posted in Features on June 19, 2013 Comment (0)
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Concept Jeeps From the Moab Easter Jeep Safari

The delightfully demented minds at Jeep and Mopar are at it again. What do we mean “again?” Well, it has become tradition that the crew from Auburn Hills, Michigan, swoop into the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah, with an armada of potential production and custom vehicles designed to gauge interest of the 4x4-buying public. Some of these vehicles are tweaked versions of in-production vehicles, while others are extreme, thinking-outside-the-box design exercises where existing platforms have been radically reworked. Some of the memorable vehicles Jeep and Mopar have introduced over the years in Moab have been Lower Forty, Nukizer 715, Ram Runner, Jeep J-12, and Jeep Mighty F-C.

The six custom vehicles that Jeep and Mopar brought to Moab this year all were notable in one way or another. Each has a number of custom and aftermarket parts and in addition, Mopar used many of its Jeep Performance Parts to build these vehicles. Here’s the rundown of what the folks from Michigan brought, along with specifications, and as a bonus, because we always have something to say, the Four Wheeler staff weighs in with what we think of ’em.

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Jeep Wrangler Stitch
Fat-free, but loaded with flavor
The point of the Wrangler Rubicon-based Stitch is to expand on the popular, lightweight, Wrangler Pork Chop that debuted at the Easter Jeep Safari in 2011. Pork Chop had 850 pounds of weight lopped off to make it a more nimble, powerful off-road machine. Stitch takes that idea to the next level, while still remaining a viable wheeling machine and it weighs in with a curb weight of approximately 3,000 pounds. This is a whopping 1,129 pounds less (approximately) than a comparable stock Wrangler Rubicon. Jeep says that with its 3.6L Pentastar V-6 powerplant, the Stitch has a power-to-weight ratio similar to that of the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT.

Numerous body modifications contributed to Stitch’s lighter weight. The doors and factory bumpers were removed, sections of the body have been eliminated, the windshield frame and windshield have been chopped two inches in height, clear yellow vinyl welding curtain material is used for the bikini top and cargo cover, the steel floorpan has been replaced with aluminum, and the hood is lightweight (8-pound) carbon fiber. Other exterior mods include Bushwacker fender flares, Truck-Lite LED headlights, and LED taillights. Underhood is a 3.6L V-6 engine with Mopar cold-air intake. Engine fuel is stored in a custom 10-gallon GenRight Crawler aluminum fuel tank with special aluminum skidplate. The factory battery has been replaced with a smaller, lighter, LithiumPros L680 Lithium Powerpack ultra lightweight lithium-ion battery, which weighs in at only 4.44 pounds (the stock battery weighed approximately 25 pounds). Finally, all of the factory heating and air conditioning components have been removed from the vehicle.

Stitch: Our View, in 15 Words or Less
Editor Cappa: “Stripped, simple, light, quick, and sporty. I wish Jeeps could be like that again.”
Tech Editor Mansour: “Sports-car-educated, with 4x4 common sense. The future is clear and light.”
Senior Editor Brubaker: “Fascinating. It’s a cool example of how a vehicle can be lightened in creative ways.”

At A Glance
General
Owner/Hometown: Chrysler LLC/Auburn Hills, Michigan
Vehicle/Model: 2013 Jeep Wrangler Stitch
Estimated value: N/A

Engine
Type: Chrysler 3.6L V-6
Aspiration: Fuel injection
Output, hp/torque (estimated): 285/260

Drivetrain
Transmission: Chrysler W5A580 5-spd auto
Transfer case: NV241OR

Suspension
Front: Coil springs, King shocks, King hydraulic bumpstops, stock upper control arms, Full-Traction aluminum lower control arms
Rear: Coil springs, King shocks, King hydraulic bumpstops, stock upper control arms, Full-Traction aluminum lower control arms

Axles/Differentials
Front: Custom lightweight Dynatrac ProRock 44 with fluted housing/ARB Air Locker
Rear: Custom lightweight Dynatrac ProRock 44 with fluted housing/ARB Air Locker
Ring and pinion: 4.88:1

Wheels/Tires
Wheels: 17x8 aluminum
Tires: LT315/70R17 Mickey Thompson Baja Claw TTC

View Slideshow

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk Concept
Diesel with attitude
For the last couple of years, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has been a staple of the Jeep/Mopar concept vehicle rollout at the Moab Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah. Two years ago the crew from Auburn Hills, Michigan, brought the de-chromed, gray-colored Off-Road Edition, which included a Hemi engine and 32-inch tires. Last year, the team unveiled the de-chromed, white/black/red-colored Trailhawk concept. This year, Jeep raised the bar by bringing the Trailhawk concept. Wait. Another Trailhawk concept? Yep, but it’s far different than last year’s concept. Jeep says this year’s diesel-powered, 2014 Grand Cherokee-based Trailhawk concept is the most extreme Grand Cherokee yet.

The “blood-orange” paint is the first thing that grabs your attention when you look at the chrome-free Trailhawk concept. The second thing you’ll probably notice is how proportionate the large 35-inch tires look under the rig. Look closer and you’ll notice that there are a significant number of less obvious exterior changes. The list includes Grand Cherokee SRT front and rear fascias that have been modified for extra ground clearance; a Grand Cherokee SRT hood; a matte black roof; black grille; one-off custom roof rails; enlarged wheel openings (2 ½ inches); custom fender flares; shortened Mopar rock rails (to compensate for the larger wheel openings and tires); and dual rear towhooks.

Trailhawk Concept: Our View, in 15 Words or Less
Editor Cappa: “This is the Jeep I would want to drive home and use every day.”
Tech Editor Mansour: “The most refined and practical of the bunch. Everything just makes sense inside and out.”
Senior Editor Brubaker: “I’m a pickup truck person, but I could live with this SUV.”

At A Glance
General
Owner/Hometown: Chrysler LLC/Auburn Hills, Michigan
Vehicle/Model: 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk concept
Estimated value: N/A

Engine
Type: Chrysler EcoDiesel 3.0L V-6 turbodiesel
Aspiration: Direct injection, turbocharged
Output, hp/torque (estimated): 240/420

Drivetrain
Transmission: ZF 8-spd auto
Transfer case: MP3022 2-spd

Suspension
Front: Short- and long-arm Independent, coil-over-shock, stabilizer bar, 1.5-inch shock spacers
Rear: Multi-link independent, coil springs, twin-tube shocks, 1.5-inch shock spacers

Axles/Differentials
Front: Stock/open
Rear: Stock/electronic limited-slip differential
Ring and pinion: 3.09:1

Wheels/Tires
Wheels: 17x7.5 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
Tires: LT315/70R17 Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ

View Slideshow

Jeep Wrangler Mopar Recon
Attention on deck
Military-type vehicles have been a staple of the Jeep/Mopar concept vehicle throwdown in Moab, Utah, at the Easter Jeep Safari. In 2008, the company brought the cool J8 Sarge, in 2010 it was the incredible Nukizer 715, and in 2011 it was the awesome Light Patrol Vehicle. This year, the Michigan crew trotted out the naval-themed Jeep Wrangler Mopar Recon. This Wrangler Unlimited-based vehicle is large in stature, it’s built with a number of trail-ready parts, and it has big V-8 power.

The exterior of the Recon sports a variety of stickers and badging to give it that military look. Other features include Mopar front and rear half-door and window kits; front and rear stinger bumpers created from 10th Anniversary Rubicon bumpers; a Warn 9,500-pound winch; high-clearance flat fenders; a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 10th Anniversary hood; prototype LED headlamps; custom Bestop canvas soft top; swing-away tire carrier; Mopar body-color corner guards; and Mopar taillamp guards. The rig also sports Jeep Performance Parts prototype forged eight-lug beadlock wheels fitted with 39x13.50R17/C BFGoodrich Krawler T/A KX tires.

Recon Concept: Our View, in 15 Words or Less
Editor Cappa: “I think theme Jeeps are ridiculous. Please stop.”
Tech Editor Mansour: “It’s what everyone thinks they want. Great parts, but it’s not my cup of tea.”
Senior Editor Brubaker: “I love the running gear in this Jeep. It’s the way I’d build it”

At A Glance
General
Owner/Hometown: Chrysler LLC/Auburn Hills, Michigan
Vehicle/Model: 2013 Jeep Wrangler Mopar Recon
Estimated value: N/A

Engine
Type: Chrysler 6.4L Hemi V-8
Aspiration: Fuel injection
Output, hp/torque (estimated): 470/470

Drivetrain
Transmission: Chrysler W5A580 5-spd auto
Transfer case: NV241OR Rock-Trac 2-spd

Suspension
Front: Prototype 4.5-inch long-arm lift, Fox remote-reservoir shocks
Rear: Prototype 4.5-inch long-arm lift, Fox remote-reservoir shocks

Axles/Differentials
Front: Dana 60/electric locker
Rear: Dana 60/electric locker
Ring and pinion: 4.10:1

Wheels/Tires
Wheels: 17X8 Jeep Performance Parts prototype forged beadlock
Tires: 39x13.50R17/C BFGoodrich Krawler T/A KX

View Slideshow

Jeep Wrangler Sand Trooper II
V-8 power, portal axles, and 40-inch tires
What you’re looking at is the Mopar-built, Wrangler Unlimited-based Sand Trooper II, and it’s the second version of the Sand Trooper that debuted at the 2012 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. The original Sand Trooper was designed to showcase Mopar’s new portfolio of high-end, hardcore Jeep performance parts, some of which you may never have guessed would be available through Mopar. The Sand Trooper II continues that goal.

The exterior of the Sand Trooper II is all business. It sports a Dune-in-Matte color, satin black grille, Mopar front and rear half-door and window kits, “Shorty” modified bumpers made from Rubicon 10th Anniversary bumpers, Mopar/Warn 10th Anniversary 8,000-pound winch, Mopar flat fenders, Mopar rock rails, Mopar vented hood, Rubicon 10th Anniversary swing-out rear tire carrier, trailer hitch receiver, Mopar black taillamp guards, and Mopar locking fuel door and hood lock.

Sand Trooper II: Our View, in 15 Words or Less
Editor Cappa: “Amazing ground clearance, which is strange because you really don’t need that in the sand.”
Tech Editor Mansour: “Tractor Jeep. Not practical or built for the sand, but a solid wheeler.”
Senior Editor Brubaker: “I would’ve painted the axles ‘Dune-in-Matte’ color and called this one ‘Recon.’”

At A Glance
General
Owner/Hometown: Chrysler LLC/Auburn Hills, Michigan
Vehicle/Model: 2013 Jeep Wrangler Sand Trooper II
Estimated value: N/A

Engine
Type: Chrysler 5.7L Hemi V-8
Aspiration: Fuel injection
Output, hp/torque (estimated): 375/400

Drivetrain
Transmission: Chrysler W5A580 5-spd auto
Transfer case: NV241 2-spd

Suspension
Front: Stock
Rear: Stock

Axles/Differentials
Front: Mopar portal axle/ARB Air Locker
Rear: Mopar portal axle/ARB Air Locker
Ring and pinion: 4.10:1 (1.5:1 portal ends, 6.15:1 final drive)

Wheels/Tires
Wheels: 17x8 Jeep Performance Parts prototype forged beadlock
Tires: 40x13.50R17LT Nitto Mud Grappler Extreme Terrain

View Slideshow

Jeep Wrangler Flattop
Far more than just a pretty face
The Wrangler-based Flattop combines three elements: luxury, off-road capability, and body modifications, to create a one-of-a-kind Jeep. The company says that the designers took special care to give the Flattop an upscale appearance inside and out while fitting the rig with some of the most hardcore off-road gear available. Flattop is powered by the 3.6L Pentastar V-6 engine (with Mopar cold-air intake and Corsa exhaust) mated to a six-speed manual transmission.

Several notable modifications were made to the Wrangler’s exterior to create Flattop. The hardtop, rollcage and windshield frame were chopped two inches to lower their overall height and the B-pillar was removed. The result is a sleek look with an enormous side opening front-to-rear. The front wheel openings were also enlarged slightly and the fender flares moved upward 3 inches. Some of the other unique elements of Flattop include copper-colored door and hood hinges, tow hooks, grille slats, and headlamp surrounds. The bumpers (customized versions of the Wrangler Rubicon 10th Anniversary model), modified Rubicon rock rails, side mirrors, and hood decal, are dark brown-colored. Other exterior mods include Truck-Lite LED headlamps, LED taillamps and side marker lights, Warn Zeon 10,000-pound winch, and TeraFlex spare tire carrier. The exterior paint is called matte copper.

Flattop: Our View, in 15 Words or Less
Editor Cappa: “High society meets dirt. Kinda like a G-Wagon.”
Tech Editor Mansour: “Great look and overall concept. Low is the new black.”
Senior Editor Brubaker: “If this Jeep were a dude, it would be Chuck Norris in a tuxedo.”

At A Glance
General
Owner/Hometown: Chrysler LLC/Auburn Hills, Michigan
Vehicle/Model: 2013 Jeep Wrangler Flattop
Estimated value: N/A
Engine
Type: Chrysler 3.6L V-6
Aspiration: Fuel injection
Output, hp/torque (estimated): 285/260

Drivetrain
Transmission: NSG 370 6-spd manual
Transfer case: NV241 2-spd

Suspension
Front: Coil springs, King remote-reservoir shocks, King pneumatic bumpstops, Full-Traction track bar and aluminum lower control arms, TeraFlex sway bar
Rear: Coil springs, King remote-reservoir shocks, Full-Traction track bar and aluminum lower control arms, TeraFlex sway bar

Axles/Differentials
Front: Dynatrac ProRock 44/ARB Air Locker
Rear: Dynatrac ProRock 60/ARB Air Locker
Ring and pinion: 5.38:1

Wheels/Tires
Wheels: 17X8 aluminum
Tires: 37x12.50R17LT Mickey Thompson Baja Claw TTC

View Slideshow

Jeep Wrangler Slim
Bolt-on bonanza
Mopar’s Jeep Wrangler Slim is one of two vehicles brought to the Easter Jeep Safari where a conscious effort was made to address overall vehicle weight while retaining off-road capability. The other Jeep, Stitch, was on the extreme end of the spectrum with many custom parts and modifications. Conversely, Slim stays lean by using over-the-counter products. The result is a rig that isn’t porky even though it includes a lift, larger tires, and body armor.

The exterior sports a modest number of modifications. Up front is a lightweight Mopar MPG bumper that is made from a 10th Anniversary Rubicon front bumper. Protecting Slim’s rockers are a pair of modified Mopar rock rails that have been lightened by strategically removing circular segments. Other exterior touches include a black grille, black hood decal, prototype LED headlights, Mopar taillight guards, Mopar locking gas cap, Mopar 17x8 five-hole Classic wheels, and LT35x12.50R17 General Grabber tires. Slim is powered by a 3.6L V-6 engine (with Mopar cold-air intake) mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. A 4:1 ratio Rubicon-sourced Rock-Trac transfer case splits power to the axles.

Slim: Our View, in 15 Words or Less
Editor Cappa: “Mopar bolt-on bandit.”
Tech Editor Mansour: “Bolt-on parts that you can finance. It has a place, just don’t ask for a ‘dang!’ when we see it.”
Senior Editor Brubaker: “Slim is a handsome, fun rig that doesn’t need to go on a diet.”

At A Glance
General
Owner/Hometown: Chrysler LLC/Auburn Hills, Michigan
Vehicle/Model: 2013 Jeep Wrangler Slim
Estimated value: N/A
Engine
Type: Chrysler 3.6L V-6
Aspiration: Fuel injection
Output, hp/torque (estimated): 285/260

Drivetrain
Transmission: Chrysler W5A580 5-spd auto
Transfer case: NV241OR Rock-Trac 2-spd

Suspension
Front: Prototype Mopar 2-in coil-spring lift, Fox shocks, relocated track bar
Rear: Prototype Mopar 2-in coil-spring lift, taller coil springs, Fox shocks

Axles/Differentials
Front: Dana 30/open
Rear: Dana 44/Anti-Spin
Ring and pinion: 3.73:1

Wheels/Tires
Wheels: 17x8 Mopar five-hole Classic aluminum
Tires: LT35x12.50R17 General Grabber

View Slideshow

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