The Easter Jeep Safari at Moab is one of the events that Jeep owners and fans look forward to every year. One of the highlights of the Easter Safari is the parade of Jeep concept vehicles and this year is no different. Jeep has rolled out seven new exciting concepts for people to drool over. The concepts usually range from a handful of Mopar add-ons, something your average Jeep owner could build and drive, all the way up to full on crazy concepts that wouldn’t look out of place on a stage at SEMA or a King of the Hammers event. This year we will see everything from a slightly modified Renegade all the way up to a Hellcat V8 powered Wrangler, so whether you like to hop the occasional curb or blast up mountain sides there’s probably going to be something here you’ll like.
The Hellcat Powered Trailcat edition stands out with its bright green paint and rumble from the 707hp supercharged 6.2L Hemi found in the Charger and Challenger Hellcat. Sitting behind it is a six speed manual transmission with a custom Hellcat Emblem on the shift knob. The wheelbase has been stretched 12 inches to help handle the additional power, and the windshield is shortened 2 inches for a sleeker look. Jeep claims it will be equally at home on tight technical trails and high speed off road sections.
Connecting this Jeep to the ground is a set of 17in beadlock wheels, 39.5 inch BFGoodrich Krawler T/A KX tires, Dana 60 axles and Fox shocks. The interior features the bucket seats from the Dodge Viper, with katzkin leather covers and accent stitching. Mopar accessories include a power dome hood, satin black grille, LED headlights and fog lamps, and special rock rails. Also included are front and rear steel bumpers to help give the Trailcat a powerful off road look.
The Trailstorm concept is your bread and butter if you’re a certified Jeep Guy. With the 4 door Wrangler Unlimited as a base, the Trailstorm features a 2 inch suspension lift and aggressive 37 inch tires wrapped around 17 inch rims. Dana 44 axles front and back, and a Jeep Performance Parts Rubicon winch to drag you out of any situations your other upgrades couldn’t overcome.
High top fenders, LED lights and a Big Brake Kit are included in this concept. Half doors are included for greater visibility, and the interior is finished with bed liner for added protection. Protection also comes in the form of Mopar rock rails, taillight guards, and Rubicon bumpers. The exterior is rounded off with a Humvee-styled fastback soft top, a “power-dome” vented hood, and a digital camo wrap, all combining to give the Trailstorm a very modern-military look. Power comes in the form of Chrysler’s 3.6L V6 and is sent to the wheels through a 5 speed automatic.
The Renegade Commander borrows the Commander name from a previous full sized Jeep SUV. Changes from the regular Renegade include a 2 inch suspension lift and 29.5 inch BFG AllTerrain T/A KO2 tires, a Mopar brand trailer hitch, rock rails, skid plates, and a modified exhaust. Auxiliary lights are found front and rearand what appears to be a topographic map decal is applied to the hood. Under the hood is a naturally aspirated 2.4L Tigershark and 9 speed automatic to move the tiny Jeep around.
The Crew Chief 715 Concept is a throwback to the military jeeps of old. The main inspiration being the Kaiser M715 and Jeep Gladiator, both of which lend their styling cues to the Crew Chief 715. Based on the Wrangler Unlimited chassis, this concept features four doors and a bed. Featuring steel front and rear bumpers, 20inch wheels and 40 inch NDT Military tires to tie into the heritage of the Jeep Kaiser M715.
Other features include an on-board air system, upgraded brakes, a cold air intake and upgraded exhaust. On the outside the concept includes off road rock rails, a front and rear mounted winch, Dana 60’s for the front and rear axles, a 4 inch lift with Fox 2.0 Remote Reservoir shocks to give the Crew Chief 715 even more capability.
The Comanche is another concept that borrows its name from an older model, the old XJ Cherokee-based compact pickup truck, the MJ Comanche. This time the pickup is based on the Renegade platform, which was extended by 6 inches to fit the 5 foot bed. A foldable soft top covers the regular cab; inside the cab are several MOPAR parts, with seat covers, pedal covers, door sill guards, and floor mats.
Off roading is managed by rock rails, 2 inches of lift, 32 inch BFG T/A AllTerrains wrapped around 16 inch wheels, and a winch up front. Under the hood is a Fiat-sourced 2.0L MultiJet2 diesel 4 cylinder backed by a 9 speed automatic, a powertrain combination not seen yet in North America but is optional in the Renegade in Europe. The entire truck is painted in what I personally consider to be one of the greatest paint color names of all time, “Beige Against The Machine.”
The Shortcut concept is JK-based and inspired by the old CJ-5, specifically the ones from the 50’s. The name is quite literal, Jeep has cut pieces off in order to make the Shortcut shorter. 26 inches were shed overall, including trimmed bumpers and the removal of the spare tire on the back, making the Shortcut lighter and more maneuverable around the trail.
The wheels are keeping it retro with an old-school 17 inch red steel rim with 35 inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM2 tires helping with traction. A 2 inch suspension lift from Fox helps with clearance and articulation, and a modified exhaust helps the 3.6L V6 breathe a little easier, with a 5 speed automatic sending power to both Dana 44 axles. The retro theme carries on to the interior with low-back red leather bucket seats with plaid inserts, and red trim throughout. The CJ-5 inspiration is especially obvious in the 4 point roll-bar that ties the look together.
The Jeep FC 150 harkens back to one of the most unique jeeps that went into production, and it lasted from 1956 to 1965. Its unique cab over design helped keep the overall length down, while maximizing useful space. This concept features an original FC 150 body bolted to a 2005 Wrangler chassis with a Dana 44 front axle and Dana 60 in the rear. Inside is a very retro look with vinyl seat covers, a CB radio, analog compass, and a vintage duck hunting pattern. Powering the FC 150 is a 4.0L PowerTech I-6 mated to a 3 speed automatic transmission.
The Easter Jeep Safari is just like any other auto show, the manufacturer shows up and shows off all these crazy concept cars, some of which may be a hint or indication of things to come. With a next generation Wrangler expected to be announced some time in 2017, there could be some important details here to pay attention to. No, we aren’t saying that there will be a production Trailcat (but how cool would that be?) but, for example, there were three different pickup truck concepts this year and a Wrangler-based pickup is expected to drop with the new generation. The retro designs and callbacks also peppered the show, so we could be seeing some old school inspiration from Jeep in the coming years. But we shouldn’t read too deeply into this, I’m convinced that the Easter Jeep Safari is just an excuse to give engineers a chance to go buck-wild and just see who can come up with the craziest contraptions, and then test them out in real world environments. This year marks the 75th anniversary of Jeep and the 50th year for the event at Moab. The Safari takes place March 19th through to the 27th in Moab, Utah, with thousands of Jeepers expected to be in attendance it should be the biggest Safari yet.