Jeep will debut seven concept cars at this year’s 50th annual Easter Safari at Moab, Utah, which takes place between March 19 and 27.
The concept vehicles have been developed for the brand’s 75th anniversary and predictably play on the brand’s off-road positioning, as well as its military heritage.
One or two, such as the Hellcat-powerd Trailcat and Crew Chief 715 ute, might also provide clues to future models from the marque.
The Trailcat isn’t your run-of-the-mill Wrangler. That’s because it’s been fitted with the same 527kW/880Nm 6.2-litre supercharged V8 Hellcat engine that’s found in the Charger SRT Hellcat and Challenger SRT Hellcat. This engine is also rumoured to turn up in a ballistic version of the Grand Cherokee, potentially badged as the Trackhawk.
To get the world’s most un-PC 6.2-litre V8 engine into the Wrangler, FCA’s engineers stretched the off-roader’s wheelbase by 305mm. They also fitted the Trailcat with Dana 60 axles at the front and back, Fox shocks, and 17-inch alloy wheels with 39.5-inch BFGoodrich Krawler T/A KX tyres.
To accompany the concept’s under-foot aggro, the Trailcat features a windscreen thats 51mm shorter, a bonnet with a vented power dome, LED headlights, steel front and rear bumpers, and that eye-catching lime green paint job.
Jeep Crew Chief 715
Built on the body of the Wrangler Unlimited, the Crew Chief 715 is said to pay homage to the military-spec Kaiser M715.
Aside from the 1.52m cargo bed out the back, the Crew Chief 715 also features metal bumpers, winches at the front and back, 20-inch beadlock wheels with 40-inch military tyres, a reverse-angle heritage-style nose, and a 10.2cm (4-inch) lift kit for the uprated suspension.
The Crew Chief 715 may provide some clues about the look of the much rumoured Jeep ute. Latest reports indicate that Fiat Chrysler is working on a pickup variant of the next-generation Wrangler; the ute is expected to debut in either 2017 or 2018.
Based on the made-in-Italy Renegade, the Comanche loses two passenger doors, but gains 152mm in wheelbase to accomodate its 1.52m cargo tray.
Other changes include a steel rear bumper, a soft top, a spare tyre located in the tray, a winch, and a “beige against the machine” paint job. The Comanche is powered by a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel, and rides on 16-inch alloy wheels with BFGoodrich All Terrain T/A tyres allied to a 51mm (2-inch) lift kit.
Jeep FC 150
The FC 150 isn’t a concept car, but rather a heritage vehicle from 1960 with a throughly revised drivetrain and underpinnings. Beneath the restored body, this FC 150 has ditched its CJ-5 roots in favour of a modified 2005 Wrangler chassis.
This has been beefed up with Dana front and rear axles, and 17-inch steel wheels wrapped in 33-inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM2 tyres. Under the bonnet there’s a 4.0-litre straight-six engine mated to a three-speed automatic.
The Shortcut is a Wrangler-based concept that’s been re-styled as a tribute to the CJ-5. Overall length has been shortened by 660mm, with the spare tyres and bumpers ditched to keep the car as light as possible.
On the inside, the Shortcut recalls the 1950s with its red ball shifter, and low-back seats upholstered in plaid and leather. In a boost for its off-road ability, the Shortcut includes Dana 44 axles at the front and back, Fox shocks with an added 51mm of lift, and a four-point safety cage.
Jeep designed the Trailstorm to be the “ultimate” off-road Wrangler. Under the military-style camouflage body, the Trailstorm has space for spare fuel tanks, and has been fitted with Dana 4 front and rear axles, a 51mm lift kit, and 17-inch alloy wheels clad in 37-inch tyres.
Jeep Renegade Commander
The Renegade Commander includes a bunch of upgrades to improve the tiny Jeep’s off-roading nous. Changes include a 51mm lift kit, and 17-inch alloy wheels with 29.5-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tyres.
Other modifications extend to a new decal kit, a revised exhaust, a trailer hitch, and front and rear auxiliary lights.