Jeep will bring a brace of far-out pickups to its annual off-road extravaganza in Moab, Utah, which runs through April 21.
From a Gladiator with a rooftop tent — "to keep you on the right end of the food chain" when camping in the wilderness, in the words of Jeep designer Mark Allen — to a 707-hp Hellcat-powered reworking of a Vietnam-era Jeep military pickup, the six concepts explore Jeep pickups' past, present and future.
Jeep has hosted the annual Moab Easter Jeep Safari for 53 years. Thousands of the brand's most enthusiastic owners come to test their vehicles on the most challenging terrain. Jeep creates the concepts to gauge interest in features and models, and in the case of the 707-hp ex-Army truck, just for fun.
"Moab generates ideas for production vehicles," Allen said. Jeep's been bringing concept vehicles to Moab for 16 years. The Easter Safari is a legitimate grass-roots phenomenon. The Moab Chamber of Commerce started it in 1967 as a one-day off-road event to attract visitors. Jeep latched on, making it a favorite with thousands of its owners. The Safari now lasts nine days, culminating the Saturday before Easter.
This year's concepts:
Based on the Gladiator, this lifted, neon-bright dirt-bike hauler has 40-inch tires and sliding ramps in the bed to stow and secure two bikes. The Flatbill takes its name from baseball caps with flat bills, which are either trendy or desperately trying to be, depending on whom you ask.
The Flatbill's colors are inspired by flamboyant dirt bikes. Its modifications aren't available from Fiat Chrysler's Mopar parts group yet.
This Gladiator-based concept features a rooftop tent and big sunshade to bring a bit of glamping sleeping in the car on a cross-country drive. Steel wheels and 37-inch tires combine with a lovely liquid olive green color — called "Gator" and coming to production Gladiators later this year — for a look that hints at safaris and exotic, expensively provisioned, nights around the campfire.
Jeep built about 30,000 military pickups from 1967-69. Produced in Toledo, Ohio, and based on the original Gladiator civilian pickup, many saw duty in Vietnam. The Jeep team found a donor truck on Craigslist and created the Five-Quarter, which takes its name from the M715 military pickups' 1¼-ton, or "five-quarter-ton," payload. The frame and doors are about all that's left of the GI pickup. Jeep lowered the roof 3.5 inches and gave it a black convertible top, opened huge wheelwells for 40-inch tires on 20-inch wheels, ripped out the old leaf springs for new coils and fitted a pair of jerry cans labeled "Gin" and "Tonic" in a 6-foot aluminum bed that features a wood-slat floor. The front is carbon fiber, and it's all covered in a wrap that looks like brushed stainless steel.
The interior features low-back leather seats from the current Jeep Wrangler.
You can buy this one today. From its 35-inch wheels to the tubular doors and 2-inch lift, everything but the Gravity's rock-climbing-themed decals is available from Fiat Chrysler's Mopar parts division now. The bed features lockable drawers full of rock-climbing gear. A mesh roof complements the tubular doors for open-air driving.
The tab for all the Gravity's accessories is about $8,000.
Reviving the name of a 1980s Jeep pickup, the Scrambler boasts bed bars for lights and stripes in two retro shades of orange: nacho and pumpkin. A 2-inch lift and 37-inch tires lend the Scrambler stature. The 7-inch LED lights atop its brush bar generate 8,000 lumens each.
Inside, brown Katzkin leather seats, panels and arm rests get orange stitching to complement the paint scheme.
Other than the bed bars, the Scrambler's modifications are available from Mopar now.
The Jeep J6 concept is a mashup of the front seat of a Wrangler and the beds of two Gladiator pickups.
Based on a four-door Wrangler, the J6 pickup's bright-blue paint and badges all recall the popular 1978 Jeep Honcho pickup. The 118.4-inch wheelbase is unchanged from the four-door Wrangler. The cab has just two seats, and the 6-foot bed was made by cobbling together pieces from two 5-foot Gladiator beds. At 201 inches, the J6 is 17 inches shorter than the four-door 2020 Gladiator pickup.
The J6 has 37-inch tires, a 2-inch lift and 3.6L V6 engine.
The badges on the tailgate are replicas of 1970s Jeep badges. Mopar is considering selling retro badges like that for its contemporary models.