Jeep just unveiled the roster of concepts for its annual trundle through Moab every Easter, and this year’s creations do not disappoint. Despite the lighthearted (and occasionally outlandish) off-road concepts that Jeep churns out each year for the Safari, this year’s initiative is all business. Even if it looks like product planners and designers went on a six-month bender in Utah and came back with some crazy ideas.
“Trust me, this is actually work,” asserts head of Jeep brand Tim Kuniskis. Jeep consistently uses its Easter field trip as a research and development opportunity, gathering feedback from customers, aftermarket suppliers, and media to refine future features and components for potential production. Items found on the fourth-gen Wrangler refresh, from the fold-down windshield to the eyeball vents on the dash, were first battle-tested on last year’s Easter Jeep Safari. Given the steady drum of recent Gladiator headlines, it’s no surprise every concept unveiled for the 53rd annual Safari this year revolves around Jeep’s new truck.
Jeep M-715 Five-Quarter
Even though the purpose of these Safari concepts is to improve the future of Jeep products , the brand still honors its storied history with an off-road resto-mod now and again. Last year it was the Wagoneer Roadtrip, a green, nostalgia-fueled SUV any Hagerty reader would have killed to own.
This year, a 1968 M-715 Five-Quarter brings the retro flavor. The old Gladiator-based military vehicle was used in Vietnam-era combat, and nicknamed “Five-quarter” for its one and a quarter ton payload rating. The concept’s crew started by plucking a retired M-715 off Craigslist. They then proceeded to chop the top 3.5 inches, replace the front sheet metal with carbon fiber, and cram a 6.2-liter supercharged “Hellcrate” Hemi into the noise hole. The 700-horsepower rig borders on monster truck with a new Dynatrac Pro-rock 60 front axle jutting forward two inches from the stock position and the Pro-rock 80 mounted squarely under a custom six-foot bed.
“This truck can get you out further,” says head of Jeep design Mark Allen during the unveiling of this trailblazing new Gladiator. Allen and his team then proceed to unfurl an awning from the rear rack, build a fire, and crank a two-person pop-up tent mounted above the bed in under a minute. This mobile campsite of a truck, powered by Jeep’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, is designed for those looking to explore, whether it’s through 30 inch deep water (thank you, snorkel) or over rocky terrain with knobby 37-inch tires. Two additional gas cans are inlaid into the rear quarter panels, for added foraging distance. How far? Way out, I assume.
An extreme-sport take on the Gladiator, the Flatbill is designed with the motocross enthusiast in mind. The bed is equipped to haul two full size dirt bikes, with dedicated load ramps that slide off the gate. Massive 40-inch tires on 20-inch wheels, plus a four-inch lift guarantee you won’t get stuck on your way out to the riding trails. Lime angular graphics, graphite louvers and repurposed bike jackets for the seat fabric hammer home intended demographic. So chug a can of Monster Energy, cue up the Ken Block highlight reel, and get ready to gnar-out on your way to the motocross track.
Earlier this week Jeep teased an image of its concept Jeep J6, so this one wasn’t that big of a surprise. The exterior is an homage to the 1978 Jeep Honcho, down to the updated Brilliant Blue paint. This stubby iteration of a Gladiator actually rests on the four-door Wrangler platform, with a 118-inch wheelbase and a six-foot long bed—a full foot longer than the production Gladiator. Like the other concepts, it incorporates multiple Mopar and Jeep performance accessories like the bright pedal kit, logoed-out doorsill guards, and all-weather floormats.
Jeep JT Scrambler
Based on the Jeep Gladiator Rubicon, this concept pulls heavy on the heritage with the throwback color palette and graphics inspired by the original 1982 Jeep CJ8 Scrambler. The rig rides two inches higher, courtesy of a Jeep Performance Parts lift kit. And 37-inch tires wrapped around reflective-orange wheels round out the rugged-retro look.
Jeep Gladiator Gravity
The Gladiator Gravity concept was built to highlight the how Jeep Performance Parts and Mopar accessories can elevate Jeep’s new pickup. A cold-air intake and cat-back exhaust enhance performance, while Mopar cross rails and cargo carrier basket create storage space for anything from climbing gear to tools. They also jacked up the truck a two-inch lift kit (I’m sensing a trend here). In total, Jeep affixed north of $8000 in hop-ups to the Gladiator Gravity.
Which of these aftermarket kits should become staples of the Jeep parts catalog? Let us know in the Hagerty Forums below.