Should They Build This?
Think this vehicle is too freaky to ever see the light of day? Then take a moment to reflect on the 2002 Jeep Liberty, which purloined styling cues and technical doo-dads from Jeeps recent Dakar and Jeepster vehicles. Remember those? Like this Willys, they were concepts, and, at the time of their unveiling, were mocked and fingered as something from bizarro land by some, just like this Willys. Could that mean the Willys is on the way?
Heres all we can prove right now: Jeep skipped the sheetmetal and opted for carbon fiber. Having an injection-molded plastic body knocked about 50 percent off the weight and manufacturing cost, and by using "frame-web technology," the designers could mold the fiber to an aluminum frame. What youre looking at is an almost totally recycleable Jeep with a curb weight of 2,900 pounds.
The Willys has a 95-inch wheelbase, and hangers-on include a custom independent short- and long-arm front suspension, and a rear setup with a multilink solid axle and coil-over shocks. At each corner are 22-inch wheels and P235/840R560 PAX rubber (in other words, big-arse tires). Under the hood is a `charged 1.6L inline four-cylinder engine that's said to kick out 160 ponies and 155 lb-ft of torque. Because the buzzword for this Jeep is "lightweight," it's figured to nail 60 mph in 10.2 seconds. The mill is mated to a four-speed automatic transmission and there's a full-time, shift-on-the-fly transfer case.
So, is the Jeep Willys too heinous to exist? Or are you as giddy as a school girl in June with thoughts of it being added to the Jeep lineup? Let us know what you're thinking--and, more importantly, get the word out to Jeep.