Every year we see more and more awesome concepts from automotive manufacturers, and just when we think the companies are about to build one of the coolest trucks we’ve ever seen, it seems to disappear before our very eyes, never to be seen again. It doesn’t seem fair, there’s certainly enough interest in specialty and unique vehicles that we should be able to bring back some faithful classic off-road trucks as well as some modern-day concepts that have been left on the back burner over the years.
We’re willing to bet that you’re of the same mentality as us and want to see truck manufacturers build something for those of us who like to hit the dirt in our spare time. As such, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most awesome wheelers we think the manufacturers should either bring back or build, and not in the distant future – we need these like yesterday! What do you want to see the manufacturers build or bring back?
GMC All Terrain HD Concept
This was one of the concept trucks that GM debuted at the 2011 North American Auto Show and it’s not too far from what the new GMC Sierra looks like, so this one is actually closer to being a reality. The GMC All Terrain HD concept was powered by a 397hp 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel mated to an Allison 1000 six-speed automatic, and if GM followed the same recipe, this would be a surefire winner in the off-road world. We will concede that the All Terrain HD concept would be a lot cooler if it came with a solid front axle to actively compete against the Power Wagon—unless of course GM gave it a long-travel suspension to finally dethrone the Ford SVT Raptor!
Jeep J-12 Concept
Retro concepts seem to be pretty common these days, but that’s not the case in the truck world, which is why we were blown away when we first saw the Jeep J-12 concept truck. It doesn’t get much cooler than a J-truck and Jeep nailed it when it brought this real-world concept out to Moab a few years ago. The truck was very similar to the classic Gladiator pickups but it had some cool modern touches such as a 285hp Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6 engine, an air conditioned cab and power windows. Somehow the guys over at Jeep even realized it just wouldn’t be right without a bench seat, which was custom made as well! Off-road performance was not sacrificed, up front Jeep installed a burly Dynatrac ProRock 44 equipped with an ARB Air Locker. A Dynatrac ProRock 60 axle with an ARB Air Locker was stuffed under the rear of the J-12 concept. The suspension was fitted with FOX Racing remote-reservoir shocks in the front as well as FOX Racing piggyback-reservoir shocks in the rear. The J-12 was based on a production JK chassis, which is all the more reason we should be able to buy this cool concept right off a dealer lot!
Jeep Nukizer 715
The Jeep Nukizer 715 concept was built to show Jeep enthusiasts that Jeep was on the same page as them when it came to building trucks meant to handle the stresses of off-road driving. There’s no denying the Nukizer 715 is a complete badass on the trail. The Nukizer 715 was built as the modern day interpretation of the classic military Kaiser M-715. This concept was based on a military-spec J8 four-door that was converted into a pickup using an AEV Brute bed. The wheelbase was also stretched eight inches yielding a 124-inch wheelbase. Under the hood you’ll find the J8’s 2.8-liter I-4 turbodiesel engine that has been programmed to deliver more horsepower and torque to help keep the 38-inch BFGoodrich KM2 tires moving through rough trails. To handle the stresses of the much larger tires, the Jeep engineers installed a Dynatrac ProRock 44 front axle as well as a Dynatrac ProRock 60 rear axle, both of which feature 5.38:1 gears and ARB Air Lockers. While we admire the fact that Jeep had the guts to go way out on a limb and build this awesome concept, we are a bit disappointed that the company heads haven’t realized they can actually sell these in great numbers even beyond the off-road community. The 715 could work great for the average consumer who is looking for a midsize truck that can haul loads and deliver decent fuel economy.
2011 Ford Bronco
We’re pretty sure none of you have ever seen this before since we just happened to create our own version of what we think a modern ’11-present Ford Bronco fullsize would look like. The more we look at it, the more we think the Ford Bronco should never have been put out of production after 1996. Even today, the last generations of Ford Broncos are still dominating the deserts of Baja! We realize a two-door SUV would be a hard sell for the general public, but this isn’t something that’s meant for everyone. They are meant for those of us who enjoy playing with our trucks in the dirt while being able to carry our gear and a few friends comfortably when venturing off the pavement. If Ford offered this with the same 411hp 6.2-liter V-8 engine out of the Raptor, it would be an unstoppable off-road beast!
Chevy K5 Blazer
Images like this are pretty common online, so it’s a safe bet that off-road enthusiasts want to see the two-door K5 Blazer make a comeback. We were bummed that GM decided to stop building the K5 Blazer. The K5 Blazer was an awesome truck that could be built to wheel some moderate trails in relative comfort while still being able to haul a few extra buddies around during road trips. Granted, getting in and out of the K5 Blazer back seat was a bit of a chore, but the reality is it’s not all that difficult to do. If you can’t easily accomplish a simple task like that, you should probably turn in your man card now. We really dig the front end on the ’14 Silverado and Sierra, and there’s no question it would look ten times better if it was on the front of a next-generation K5 Blazer.
Jeep Mighty FC
The Mighty FC concept was well received by nearly anyone with a pulse. This thing is just wicked cool, and rightfully so, since it was built as a true forward control Jeep with a few off-road touches thrown in for good measure. The Mighty FC featured portal axles (although it has traditional axles under it now), 39-inch BFGoodrich Krawlers and 9.5-inch-wide Hutchinson Rock Monster beadlock wheels as well as a no-nonsense drop-side-style steel cargo box that was sourced from Tafco Equipment Company. The Mighty FC was based on a ’12 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon two-door model that was stretched 20 inches at the center of the framerails. The forward control cab was built from a modified JK Wrangler front cab section with a custom nosecone section as well as 10-inch-wide carbon-fiber fender flares. The Mighty FC also featured a heavily modified Hanson front bumper with an integrated Warn 16.5ti winch, Warn D-rings, and IPF 930 Super Rally off-road lights. The recipe for this concept was dead-on right down to the color that was chosen for it which was PPG Gray Blue paint that was meant to resemble a mechanic’s shop shirt. Sure, the Mighty FC might make for some interesting wheeling since you’d be riding right over the front wheels, but that’s just one of the many cool characteristics that this unique little concept has. We think it’s safe to say many wheelers would definitely be interested in buying this modern forward control Jeep.
The Ram Powerwagon concept has to be about the meanest looking truck ever! It was built on a regular-cab frame with ¾-ton running gear, a modified RamBox cargo bed with ’10 Ram dualie bedsides and a 383hp 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine that lays down enough power to spin all four 40-inch BFGoodrich Mud Terrain tires through any terrain without breaking a sweat. This truck couldn’t have been built better and was absolutely perfect in every way, shape and form, so to say we’re a bit disappointed that it hasn’t gone into production yet is a big understatement. This truck is just way too cool to not be offered to the general public; Ram should seriously consider building these even as a limited production run!
Dodge Ram T-Rex
The Dodge Ram T-Rex concept was one of the wildest ideas that Dodge ever had. The T-Rex was powered by a high-output, 12:1 compression, 8.0-liter V-10 that pumped out 497hp and 593 lb-ft torque. All that power was deemed necessary to keep the T-Rex moving with all six wheels clawing away at the terrain to conquer pretty much anything in its path. Not only was this a monstrous truck, the bed was also a fair bit larger than the factory longbed Ram, measuring in at 8½ feet. Granted, this truck would be too overly complex to really justify bringing it to production, but it’s still cool to know that Dodge—sorry, Ram Trucks—is not opposed to thinking outside of the box. All we can say is that we’d love to putt around some trails in one of these 6x6 T-Rex trucks if Ram ever decided to build one, and who knows, maybe the company will, seeing as though Mercedes’ AMG G63 6x6 was well received when it debuted a few months ago.
Some of you might not even remember the Jeep Rescue concept that Jeep created way back in 2004. This was one big behemoth of a Jeep. It was essentially a giant fullsize version of a Wrangler Unlimited JK built on a ’04 Dodge Ram 2500 platform. It featured a 5.9-liter HO Cummins turbodiesel engine that put out 325hp while delivering 600 lb-ft of torque to an NV5600 six-speed manual transmission mated to a huge NV273 T-case which split the power to the front and rear ¾-ton AAM solid axles. This thing was definitely an off-road beast that could do pretty much anything you wanted. The Jeep Rescue concept also featured 37-inch run-flat tires, which eliminated the need for a spare. One of the coolest things about the Rescue was the onboard tire-pressure control system that allowed you to air down right from the comfort of the incredibly spacious cab. If you’ve never seen this concept before, you might even think it resembles the current four-door JK Wrangler, since the body lines seem to mimic it quite nicely. The fact of the matter is that this was built well before the JK was, and it was a whole heck of a lot bigger and cooler, too!
If you’re a fan of early Broncos, and everyone except hardcore Bow Tie guys are, you were probably excited when you saw Ford showcasing something with the Ford Bronco nameplate on it back in 2004. Although the Ford Bronco concept looked fairly aggressive, it was relatively tame as far as power figures go, since it was supposed to be propelled by a 128hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. We really aren’t all that impressed by that or the fact that it seemed to have IFS as well as IRS, but rather that Ford is not above building such an awesome retro off-road SUV.
It would be great if Ford built something similar to the early Ford Bronco, maybe even a bit roomier than the first generation bobtails. As long as the company offered it with a 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 and solid front and rear axles, it would be one hell of an SUV. The biggest issue we think could prevent Ford from building this is that the vast majority of new truck buyers want a crew cab, even when they end up riding by themselves 99 percent of the time. Aside from this, we think it would be awesome to see Ford jump into an off-road competition for supremacy against Jeep by building a retro Bronco to compete against the Wrangler JK. Ford, your move!