It’s a special time of the year for Jeep fans and it has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus or little chocolate eggs. Nope, they’re all making a fuss because the annual Easter Jeep Safari is days away from kicking of in Moab, Utah.
The ‘festival of Jeep’ fires up on the 8th of April and runs through to the 16th and is attended by thousands of die-hard Jeepsters, ready and willing to put their 4X4s to the test on some of the US’s more challenging trails.
Tradition dictates that it’s also when the design boffins at Jeep and Mopar get to show off their skills by creating a range of one-off Jeep based, concept off-roaders – 2017 is no exception.
“It’s truly a labor of love for the Jeep team to develop exciting, capable concept vehicles each year for Moab and the Easter Jeep Safari,” said Mike Manley, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA Global. “We look forward to the reaction and feedback from enthusiasts and our most loyal customers as these new Jeep concepts are put through their paces on the trails in Moab.”
“Jeep and Mopar have teamed up over 15 years to create unique, fun and highly capable concept vehicles for the popular Easter Jeep Safari in Moab,” said Pietro Gorlier, Head of Parts and Service (Mopar), FCA – Global. “These concept vehicles are a perfect example of how off-road enthusiasts can use Jeep Performance Parts to personalize and enhance already outstanding Jeep capability, allowing them to face the toughest trails in the world.”
Throw in the fact that Jeep is gearing up to reveal the all-new replacement for the Wrangler later this year, and it’s not hard to imagine that this year, Moab is going to be buzzing with a whole new level of excitement. If you like your Jeeps then you better get to packing those bags and booking flights!
This year the Easter Jeep Safari concept vehicles include:
Jeep Grand One
The Jeep Grand One celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Grand Cherokee with a modernized spin on a classic 1993 ZJ.
On the exterior, the Grand One concept features custom 18-inch lace-style wheels, high-clearance wheel-arch flares, an extended wheelbase, trimmed fascias and a smooth wood grain treatment on the body.
Complementing the 2” suspension lift is a set of 33” BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain KM2 tyres. Selectable locking differentials have been fitted to both axles.
The interior continues the 90s Grand Cherokee theme with the use of textiles and even an old-school car phone from that era, besides the carpet which has been replaced with a spray on bed liner.
The Grand One is powered by a 5.2-litre V8 engine, mated to a four-speed automatic transmission.
According to Jeep, “The family-focused Jeep Safari concept is all about bringing the outdoors in while keeping the doors and roof on, with a special emphasis on giving the backseat passengers a great view.”
This Wrangler-based concept features a translucent hard-top roof panel, two-level aluminium cargo rack with incorporated drone (we all need a drone), a raked windshield, boat-sided rocker panels, LED headlamps, and custom LED tail lamps and parking/turn lamps.
The Safari’s unique “windoors” are made from aluminium and clear vinyl, and they’re hinged so that they open like a cabinet. The doors feature zipper openings to let in fresh air.
Inside, the two rear bucket seats are rotated outboard, making it easier for rear seat occupants to view out the side of the Safari. The custom interior includes an instrument panel-mounted iPad.
Jeep Performance Parts featured on the Safari include a front and rear Dana 44 axle equipped with selectable differential lockers and 2” suspension lift.
Tyres are 35” BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain KM2s on custom 18” wheels and the custom gear doesn’t end there. There’s also a set of custom full-length skid plates, as well as steel front and rear bumpers. An on-board air system, upgraded brakes and unique cold air intake are also features.
The Jeep Safari is powered by the 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 engine and is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission.
One for the street machine crowd, Jeep Quicksand is more hotrod than off-roader and we’re cool with that.
The Quicksand concept is powered by a Mopar 392 Hemi Crate engine with eight-stack injection and it’s paired a six-speed Getrag manual transmission. A “peekaboo” cutout in the hood and gasser-style downturned open headers add to the vintage hot rod feel.
Based on the Wrangler (obviously) this concept features a longer wheelbase, with trimmed front and rear body and a chopped hard top and windshield.
The interior is minimalist and features red accents, two front low-back bucket seats, flat aluminium door panels, tilt-out windshield glass and a chrome roll bar.
In true hotrod tradition, the Quicksand is the first Jeep concept to ever feature a staggered tyre setup. Ask Cole Trickle about staggered tyres and you’d get a knowing smile. In this situation it refers to running two tyres sizes on the one vehicle; 32” BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain KM2 tyres up front and 37” BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain KM2 tyres in the rear, all mounted on 18-inch vintage “kidney bean” alloy wheels.
The Quicksand concept also features a Warn winch concealed in a front-mounted Moon tank.
Based on the all-new Jeep Compass, the Jeep Trailpass concept vehicle takes the Compass Trailhawk a step further in the off-road stakes.
It features a 1.5” suspension lift kit, 18-inch wheels with Continental TerrainContact all-terrain tyres, cross rails (?) and rock rails.
The Trailpass exterior includes Gloss Black side mirror caps, a custom bonnet graphic, side stripes, tinted headlamps and tail-lamps, and a Mopar/Thule roof basket with roof bag and traction mats.
The interior of the Trailpass includes custom Katzkin leather seats and armrest, body-colour bezel accents and Jeep Performance Parts all-weather floor mats.
The Jeep Trailpass is powered by the 2.4-litre Tigershark engine, mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission.
Jeep Performance Parts featured on the Switchback include a front and rear Dana 44 axle with cast differential covers, a reasonably serious 4” suspension lift using remote reservoir Fox shocks, 10th Anniversary steel front and rear bumpers, Rubicon winch, grille, winch guard and cold air intake.
Rolling stock consists of 17” concept wheels and 37” BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain KM2 tyres.
The exterior brings together a range of concept one-off parts such as the bonnet and half doors, along with the “Safari” hard top and roof rack system. Off the shelf Jeep Performance Parts include high-top wheel-arch flares, Mopar black fuel door and tail lamp guards and swing gate hinge reinforcement and oversized spare tyre carrier.
Track lighting is provided via a concept LED off-road windshield light bar, concept LED off-road A-pillar lamps, LED tail-lamps, and Jeep Performance Parts LED headlamps and foglights.
The Jeep Switchback’s interior features Katzkin leather seats, body-colour bezel accents, concept sport bar grab handles, spray-in bed liner on the floor and Mopar all-weather mats. The cargo area also features a Mopar swing gate storage rack with first aid and roadside safety kits.
The Jeep Switchback is powered by the 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 paired with a five-speed automatic transmission.
This one is quite the build. Jeep has started with a Wrangler TJ frame, fitted up a 1966 Jeep Wrangler CJ universal Tuxedo Park body, added some Wrangler JK elements, and powered this little piece of Frankenstein up with a Mopar 345 Hemi Crate Engine.
First seen at the 2016 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas in November, the CJ66 runs Mopar Dana 44 Crate axles, 17” beadlock wheels, 35” BFGoodrich all-terrain tyres and a 2” suspension lift.
A unique two-way air system allows for the rapid airing up and down of tyres, and the custom wheel-arch flares offer some protection out on the trails. Further protection is provided by the Mopar 10th Anniversary Wrangler JK Rubicon Bumper Kits, Jeep Performance Parts skid and front bumper plates and concept Jeep Performance Parts rock rails.
The Copper Canyon skin is highlighted on both sides with a custom matte black CJ66 graphic stripe that runs along the side of hood. The concept hood, bezel and latch also are matte black, along with the seven-slot Jeep grille and bezels of the Wrangler JK headlamps.
The windshield is chopped and the interior features a set of Dodge Viper seats, a custom-built roll cage, a bikini top netting, a Wrangler JK centre console and shifter, Mopar instrument panel gauges and Mopar all-weather mats.
According to Jeep the Jeep Luminator “reigns supreme in off-road lighting performance, with a full arsenal of advanced lighting features designed to deliver superior visibility on the trail, jointly developed with the Automotive Lighting division of Magneti Marelli.”
This Wrangler-based concept features magnetic underbody rock lights, powerful 7-inch LED projector bi-function headlamps, unique LED tail lamps, A-pillar-mounted high-powered LED spotlights, upper bumper LED auxiliary lighting with cornering foglights controlled by the steering angle, and low-profile integrated overhead LED auxiliary spotlights protected behind the windshield. The Jeep Luminator also includes LED versions of the standard 100mm foglight and grille-mounted turn signals unique to the Wrangler.
On the Luminator’s bonnet is a scanning LED light bar module with active spot and dynamic following technology, which delivers spot-lighting to avoid wildlife or hazards on the trail ahead. On the rear, the centre high-mount stoplight acts as a scouting/trail lamp with four-colour LEDs for trail rides, indicating stop (red), 2-5 km/h (amber), 5-40 km/h (green) or providing rear flood lighting (white).
Other features include a roof-mounted solar panel, a drone landing pad (don’t leave home without the drone) with lighted drone and removable spare tyre storage case, and a capacitive touch interactive display on the driver’s side rear window linked to GPS and internet services.
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