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Jeep reveals its Easter line-up of concept off-roaders

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March 26, 2013

Jeep Wrangler Stitch

Jeep Wrangler Stitch

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Each year, hundreds of off-road enthusiasts spend Easter week migrating to the mecca of their sport: Moab, Utah. Loath to miss out on a great marketing opportunity, Jeep is taking advantage and showcasing a series of concept 4x4s that show what dedicated rock hounds can do with a little aftermarketing. It's shown more than 40 concepts since 2002, and this year it's all about big tires and light weight. Its half-dozen Easter Jeep Safari concepts include an ultralight Wrangler and "the most extreme Grand Cherokee ever."

Grand Cherokee Trailhawk

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk

So what exactly constitutes the most extreme Grand Cherokee ever? Jeep started things off with its new EcoDiesel V6, giving the Trailhawk plenty of low-end torque and driving range. It then jacked the package up on a set of 35-inch Mickey Thompson tires hugging 17-inch Wrangler Rubicon wheels. The wheel openings are stretched out around those big tires and adorned with fender flares. The Trailhawk also includes custom front and rear skid plates, dual rear tow hooks and modified Mopar rock rails.

To make sure that no one mistakes the Trailhawk for a soccer mom's Grand Cherokee, Jeep splashed it with vibrant blood orange paint and added an SRT hood, SRT front and rear fascias with extra ground clearance, a black grille, and a black roof with one-off custom roof rails. Inside, wet boots and dirty gear are met with Mopar slush mats and a rear cargo liner.

Wrangler Stitch

Jeep Wrangler Stitch

Inspired by the Jeep Wrangler Pork Chop, an ironically named lightweight Jeep concept from the 2011 Easter Jeep Safari, the new Jeep Wrangler Stitch takes weight savings even more seriously. Jeep slashed a quarter of the base Wrangler Rubicon's 4,100-pound (1,859-kg) curb weight, knocking the Stitch down to an even 3,000 (1,360 kg).

This required more than just a few carbon fiber body parts; Jeep removed the rear seats, stereo, air conditioning, and heating components; stripped the doors off; cut out parts of the body; and modified the frame and axles for weight savings. It also installed a carbon fiber hood, chrome moly roll cage, aluminum components and 2013 SRT Viper seats. All that weight-cutting work pays off in a Wrangler that has a power-to-weight ratio comparable to the 470-hp Grand Cherokee SRT.

Like the Trailhawk, the Stitch rides on Mickey Thompson 35-inch off-road tires on 17-inch aluminum wheels. Modifications and additions include a Mopar cold-air intake, Mopar exhaust kit, custom DynaTrac Pro Rock 44 axles with 4.88 gears and ARB front and rear lockers, King shocks with pneumatic bump stops, and Tom Woods drive shafts.

No one's mistaking the radically light Stitch for a stock Wrangler, but Jeep still added plenty of distinguishing touches. The body is wrapped in a clear silver fabric designed to conceal the cut-out panels from some angles and highlight them from others. The bright yellow of the interior matches the clear yellow vinyl soft top, and a pair of Truck-Lite LED headlamps finishes off the Stitch's unique look.

Wrangler Slim

Jeep Wrangler Slim

If leaving chunks of the body on the factory floor seems a bit extreme, the Wrangler Slim offers a more modest lightweight Wrangler package. Weight was saved using simpler measures, such as a lightweight rear bumper and rock rails. The concept also includes a Mopar two-inch lift kit, Mopar cold-air intake, black grille, black hood decal, LED headlights and Rubicon tires. It is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 and uses a 3:73 anti-spin axle. The Rock Lobster body color is highlighted by the beauty rings that wrap the 17-inch prototype forged beadlock wheels. Inside, it has leather seat covers, a CB radio, all-weather slush mats and a hard-top headliner.

Wrangler Sand Trooper II

Jeep Wrangler Sand Trooper II

Apparently, the Wrangler Sand Trooper that Jeep brought to SEMA last year wasn't quite hardcore enough for Moab. The Sand Trooper II uses the same 375-hp 5.7-liter HEMI V8, but gets extra ground clearance courtesy of a set of eight-lug front and rear portal axles. The tires shrink just a little – the 40-inch tires wrapping the prototype forged beadlock wheels are down from the 42-inch rubber on the original Sand Trooper.

A full suite of Mopar exterior enhancements upgrade the Sand Trooper, including the satin black grille, front and rear half-door and window kits, front and rear off-road “Shorty” modified bumpers, a Warn winch, flat fenders, rock rails, LED off-road lights, and a Jeep Performance Parts badge. The interior boasts leather seats, locking storage, a rear back-up camera, grab handles, a trunk storage box, a Trailside winch kit and other custom touches.

Wrangler Flattop

Jeep Wrangler Flattop

Like the Mercedes G63 6x6 – or G-Class in general – the Wrangler Flattop was designed to combine a refined look and interior with a rugged, ready-for-anything build. It rides on 37-inch Mickey Thompson off-road tires and features a Mopar cold-air intake, Mopar exhaust kit, DynaTrac Pro Rock 44 front axle and Dana 60 rear axle with ARB air lockers and TeraFlex sway bars, Full-Traction control arms, and King shocks with pneumatic bump stops.

The Flattop immediately looks a little different than other Wrangler hard-tops, and that's because Jeep removed the B-pillar, creating large, continuous side windows that accentuate the look of the single-piece roof. Custom high line fender flares, Truck-Lite LED headlamps, LED taillamps and side markers, a Warn Zeon winch and TeraFlex spare tire carrier equip the metallic sandstone exterior, while copper and brown highlights stand out against it. The inside gets dark saddle Katzkin leather seating, copper accents and Mopar slush mats.

Wrangler Mopar Recon

Jeep Wrangler Mopar Recon

Not the spy vehicle that its name might imply, the Mopar Recon is more of an eager, virile off-road machine. It features the muscle of a Mopar 470-hp 6.4-liter HEMI crate engine and puts it to work with the help of a five-speed automatic transmission and Dana 60 front and rear axles with 4.10 gearing. Those axles are attached to a 4.5-inch prototype lift kit, and the Recon rides on 39-inch tires held in place by prototype forged eight-lug beadlock wheels.

Mopar did some work around the exterior, which can be seen in the front and rear half-door and window kits, front and rear “Stinger” bumpers, Warn winch, high-clearance flat fenders, rock rails, Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 10th Anniversary hood, prototype LED headlamps, a canvas soft top and a swing-away rear tire carrier. Mopar slush mats, a locking below-floor storage box, a trailside winch kit, a custom seat made from Navy blankets and Navy camouflage material, and other equipment create a unique cabin.

All the concepts will be on show at the annual Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah, which runs from March 23 - 31.

Source: Chrysler

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work.   All articles by C.C. Weiss
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4 Comments

Great vehicles until you are involved in a crash, and these cars do tip over and spin out with amazing ease. They avoid the federal safety regs for crash and side impact protection where one might be better off in a motorcycle - at least then the individual(s) might have the protection of a helmet.

These are a circa 1940's design that no one oddly enough has bothered to do anything more than cosmetically update. The VW dune buggys were better offroad and no less safe in an accident and a lot less likely to flip over or spinout.

Calson
27th March, 2013 @ 01:21 pm PDT

I think those are really cool. IMO; the USA is definitely a leader in off road. :)

If one realizes it has a high center of gravity and not drive them like sports cars, they should be safe. Safer on a motorcycle? Only if the motorcycle had a roll bar.

BigGoofyGuy
27th March, 2013 @ 04:53 pm PDT

Technology creeps into a street-legal format and now we can take the kids to school in a Rock Bouncer! Race car drivers don't use air bags because roll cages and racing seats with full harness are better.

Threesixty
27th March, 2013 @ 11:41 pm PDT

Yep, roll cages and 5 point harnesses do save lives.

Can't really have crumple zones in these, so I suppose the obvious damage is head, neck and back from being jarred against the roll cage or whip-lashed.

For that I do agree helmets and neck braces and racing seat belts should be mandatory. Seat suspension can also be incorporated to combat forces through the back.

However to the choice of cars in the article, any 4WD enthusiast will tell you control and torque is more important then power. Unless you just want a dune buggy that gets air over the hill.

If each wheel was independently controlled (RPM and steering) through electric motors with a common generator, you could make a very mean rock hopper since ridiculous torque would be independently available to each wheel from 0 rpm.

Then without having to change gear to a different ratio, the same RPM would be available instantly to 1000s of rpm. Just saying,..

Nairda
28th March, 2013 @ 01:51 am PDT
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