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2015 Easter Jeep Safari Concepts

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 3/19/2015 Frank Markus

2015 Easter Moeb Jeeps© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Easter Moeb Jeeps It's year 49 for an event that attracts as many as 10,000 of the hardest-core Jeep faithful for a week of rock crawling, winching, and tall tale-telling. The Jeep brand supports the event without overtly sponsoring it and seizes the opportunity to gauge interest in new models, modifications, and accessories. You should know that Jeeps are among the most modified vehicles in the industry, with 98 percent of all Wranglers featuring at least one accessory item. Indeed, the 1.2 million accessories sold last year works out to two items per Jeep sold. Catalogue and factory items that went into production after being warmly received at Moab include the Wrangler Rubicon 10 model, the Liberty's cloth "SkySlider" sunroof, the now ubiquitous red tow hooks, and the 4-inch high-top fenders that allow 35-inch tires to fit a Wrangler with no suspension modification. Many of those parts and perhaps some of the ones discussed below can be ordered and installed at a factory-adjacent Jeep Custom Shop prior to shipment to the retail dealer, with these items included on the Monroney label, and hence included in the financing of the new vehicle sale.

Ranging from wild to mild, the seven 2015 Moab fleet includes four Wranglers, a Grand Cherokee, a Cherokee, and a Renegade.

Jeep Chief Concept© Provided by MotorTrend Jeep Chief Concept CHIEF

The most elaborate redesign is this 3.6-liter manual Wrangler Unlimited, which has morphed into a reasonable facsimile of a '74 Cherokee Chief. The entire front clip is a one-off fiberglass reimagining of that iconic Jeep's nose. Moving back, the windshield and roof are lowered 2 inches and the roof panel gets "French Bread" lateral creases like the original. The ceiling, cargo floor, and tailgate are paneled in rosewood slats. A full cage rollbar is included because all Moab concepts crawl rocks, and accidents happen. Those period-correct-looking taillights are not vintage, they're custom. The front doors retain their windows, but all glazing from there back has been removed, in keeping with the truck's "Surf Rated" theme. (We pointed out that there's no surf in Moab, but Jeep exterior design chief Mark Allen said the theme just fit the concept too well.) Running with that surf theme, the white leather seats feature inserts inspired by Tom Selleck's Hawaiian shirts in "Magnum, P.I." (there's even a Magnum Tested, Magnum Approved sticker in the back). The door and dash bezels feature a montage of classic surfing stickers. The piece de resistance: a tiki-head shifter. Taking care of Moab business underneath all this coolness are a 2-inch lift kit, Dana 44 axles running 5.38:1 gearing, and 37-inch tires on period-groovy slotted 17-inch rims.

Jeep Wrangler Afra Concept© Provided by MotorTrend Jeep Wrangler Afra Concept WRANGLER AFRICA

This one tests the waters for a Wrangler Unlimited with even less limited luggage space. To accommodate all the necessary gear for a wild game-(photo)-shooting safari, the roof is raised 4 inches (complete with interior rollcage) and the bodywork is extended 14 inches out back. That's the length added by the standard rear-mounted spare tire, which now resides underneath the rear floor. A one-piece right-hinged door swings open to provide access to the much roomier cargo area, which is coated in white Rhino Lining. The stretch gives the rear-three-quarter view a vaguely Defender 110/vintage Land Cruiser look. There's a full-length roof rack (which ruins this truck for safari duty, as you can't view the game out of roof hatches) and a novel steel rock rail that incorporates a trail-hardened step that motors down to ease entry. Those cables running from the A-pillars to the hood releases are "limb-risers" to deflect any branches that cross the trail from potentially punching out the windshield. Power comes from a Euro-market 2.8-liter diesel and is routed through Dana 44 axles fitted with 4.10:1 gearing. Steel wheels sport 35-inch rubber.

Jeep Wrangler Red Rock Responder Concept© Provided by MotorTrend Jeep Wrangler Red Rock Responder Concept WRANGLER RED ROCK RESPONDER

This one is expected to lend some recovery/repair support to the Moab Safari, and toward that end its wheelbase was stretched 14 inches to accommodate a special pickup and stowage locker bed behind a separate four-door cab. A roll-out locker under the cargo floor contains shovels, axes and other recovery aids, the right-side lockers hold emergency supplies (extinguisher, first aid stuff, etc.), while the left side holds a jack, a compressor and impact wrenches for bigger repairs. Prototype rock-rails double as running-boards to assist entry and provide a perch for reaching the roof. The front end gets the aforementioned 4-inch high-top fender kit to help accommodate 37-inch rubber on prototype eight-lug bead-lock rims. The axles are Dana 60s running 5.38:1 gearing. Up front is a 13,000-pound Warn winch integrated into the bumper.

Jeep Staff Car© Provided by MotorTrend Jeep Staff Car WRANGLER STAFF CAR

This concept evokes a World-War II command car, possibly fresh out of the North African theater. It started life as a four-door Rubicon 10 model with a 3.6-liter V-6 manual drivetrain to which was added a 2-inch lift kit, 35-inch military NDT style tires, and Fox shocks. The hardtop, doors, and B-pillars were discarded and an elevated canvas soft-top fitted. Military J8 Jeep bumpers with helicopter hooks are fitted, as is a night-convoy lamp on the driver's front fender. Speaking of which, those are aftermarket plastic front fenders. The whole thing -- body, suspension, the works -- is painted in a period-appropriate beige copied from a sample of cardboard. Even the engine cover gets the beige treatment, with stencil lettering identifying it as "GOV'MNT DEPT OF SURPLUS MOTOR." A vintage 20-foot whip antenna, axe and shovel, an ammo box concealing a cooler, and "Design Operations" logos complete the highly convincing Doug MacArthur look. The team is under strict orders never to wash this vehicle.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Overlander© Provided by MotorTrend Jeep Grand Cherokee Overlander GRAND CHEROKEE OVERLANDER

This concept is meant to appeal to self-reliant campers that engage in "overlanding," where their vehicle must supply all their needs for extended periods in the bush. Its most obvious feature is the Autohome pop-up roof-top hard-shell tent that sleeps two. Hydraulic assist struts allow for quick-easy deployment of the tent, and a ladder on the passenger side provides access. Its height helps to "keep you out of the food chain." The whole unit weighs just 100 pounds, and the standard roof rack needed only minor modification to accept it. To go the distance, Jeep's 3.0-liter diesel is fitted, and an SRT hood improves cooling during prolonged low-speed crawling and climbing. The fenders are cut and flared to accept 34-inch tires, and the air suspension is redesigned to sit 1 inch higher than stock, while still providing the 2-inch up and 1-inch down adjustability. A prototype pair of steel rock rails seem like likely candidates for production. A 9,000-pound Warn winch is artfully integrated almost flush into the front fascia. Other revisions include de-chroming the exterior trim, fitting French-look yellow headlamp lenses, and limb-riser cables. Look for this air-suspension setup to possibly see the light of production, if it works well this Easter.

Jeep Cherokee Canyon Trail Concept© Provided by MotorTrend Jeep Cherokee Canyon Trail Concept CHEROKEE CANYON TRAIL

This Cherokee Trailhawk has been upfitted to show off many available Mopar and Jeep Performance Parts. Right out front is a Custom Topographical Map hood graphic. This one depicts Moab, but customers can have hood graphics made to show the trail to their cabin or practically anything else. A Thule rack sports a custom bike painted to match the custom sand beige exterior (which is also echoed in various interior trim bezels). Fitting up-sized 30.5-inch tires is the only modification aimed at improving the Cherokee's Moab crawling capability. Other interior improvements include Katzkin seat covers emblazoned with Jeep Performance Parts logos on the headrest and a cargo-area stowage system to keep gear from flopping around while rock climbing.

Jeep Renegade Desert Hawk Concept© Provided by MotorTrend Jeep Renegade Desert Hawk Concept RENEGADE DESERT HAWK

Last but not least, the newest member of the Jeep family shows off some of its accessory items, including the expected topographical map on the hood, the Katzkin interior, and a prototype set of steel rock rails (with the Jeep wordmark cut out). Larger 29.5-inch tires improve clearance and off-road grip.

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