AUBURN HILLS- Off-road enthusiasts will once again head out west for the Moab Easter Jeep Safari from March 23-31, and Chrysler Group LLC isn’t looking to let them down.
The Auburn Hills-based automaker’s Jeep and Mopar divisions have created six new custom vehicles for the 47th annual wheeling and off-roading event in Moab, Utah.
“We go to this extremely popular event in Moab each year to showcase the latest production vehicles from Jeep, as well as a host of new customization and personalization ideas,” said Mike Manley, Jeep Brand president and CEO, in a statement.
Jeep and Mopar used production and prototype “Jeep Performance Parts” on this year’s collection of concept vehicles that are specifically designed, built and quality-tested to meet strict Jeep specifications to help transform stock rides into even more capable trail performers.
Since 2002, Jeep and Mopar have teamed to create nearly 40 unique concept vehicles for enthusiasts who attend the Easter Jeep Safari.
This year’s vehicles include five Jeep Wranglers concepts and one Jeep Grand Cherokee. Here’s more about the vehicles from Chrysler, as well as a slideshow of last year’s vehicles:
Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk Concept
The recently introduced new 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel V-6 has instantly delighted off-road enthusiasts across North America. With the introduction of the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk Concept, Jeep designers have taken the most awarded SUV ever and created the most extreme Grand Cherokee yet. Powered by the new clean EcoDiesel engine, this Grand Cherokee has mountains of low-end torque to power over any obstacle. From its blood-orange paint, to its massive 35-inch off-road tires, there’s no mistaking this Grand Cherokee and its off-road prowess.
The 2014 Grand Cherokee Trailhawk Concept – the third Grand Cherokee created for Easter Jeep since 2011 – features 35-inch Mickey Thompson off-road tires on Wrangler Rubicon 17-inch aluminum wheels, enlarged wheel openings with custom fender flares, custom front and rear skid plates, dual rear tow hooks and modified Mopar rock rails.
Custom design cues include a Grand Cherokee SRT hood, SRT front and rear fascias that have been modified for extra ground clearance, a black front grille, a matte black roof and one-off custom roof rails. The body is finished in a vibrant, non-metallic blood-orange hue that also manages to draw attention to the larger wheel openings and off-road tires.
Mopar slush mats and rear cargo liner enhance Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk Concept’s interior.
Jeep Wrangler Mopar Recon
The Jeep Wrangler Mopar Recon features a gray exterior and a little extra firepower with a 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 crate engine from Mopar. The 470 horsepower engine is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission and Dana 60 front and rear axles with 4.10 gearing. The axles are suspended by a 4.5-inch prototype long-arm lift kit and roll on Jeep Performance Parts prototype forged eight-lug beadlock wheels with 39-inch off-road tires.
The Jeep Wrangler Mopar Recon includes a number of Mopar applications externally, including front and rear half-door and window kits, front and rear off-road modified “Stinger” bumpers, Warn winch, high-clearance flat fenders, rock rails, Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 10th Anniversary hood, prototype LED headlamps, a canvas soft top, swing-away rear tire carrier and body-color rear corner guards, taillamp guards, locking fuel door, and a Jeep Performance Parts badge.
The interior of the Jeep Wrangler Mopar Recon includes Mopar slush mats, black door-sill guards, a locking below-floor storage box, side sun visors, grab handles, trailside winch kit and a custom seat made from Navy blankets and Navy camouflage material.
Jeep Wrangler Stitch
One of the past Easter Jeep Safari concepts still loved today by enthusiasts is the light weight Pork Chop. For this year’s Safari, Jeep has created its first follow-up vehicle with the new Jeep Wrangler Stitch. Based on the 2013 Wrangler Rubicon, the Stitch has been lightened to a parse 3,000-lb. curb weight, giving it a power-to-weight ratio similar to that of the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT.
Jeep designers shaved weight where ever possible: the frame, axles, body and interior. The audio system and all heating and air conditioning components have been removed. The front seats are taken from the new 2013 SRT Viper and the rear seats have been removed. Sections of the body have been cut out, the doors have been removed, and the hood is a custom carbon fiber version of the one found on the Jeep Wrangler 10th Anniversary Rubicon. The standard roll cage has been replaced with a chrome moly unit, and the Full-Traction lower control arms, floor pan and GenRight fuel tank are made of aluminum. Even the frame and axles were modified to remove weight.
Off-road hardware consists of a Mopar cold-air intake and Mopar exhaust kit, Mickey Thompson 35-inch off-road tires on lightweight 17-inch aluminum wheels, 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 .
Unique design details include a windshield that has been chopped two inches, a clear yellow vinyl soft top, black leather SRT Viper seats and center console with a yellow instrument panel and seat backs, Truck-Lite LED headlamps and the previously mentioned carbon fiber hood. The black body panels are wrapped in a unique, see-through silver architectural fabric that hides the cut panels at some angles, and makes them visible at others.
Jeep Wrangler Sand Trooper II from Mopar
After the popular Sand Trooper made its debut at SEMA in 2012, Mopar upped the ante with the Sand Trooper II to get it ready to take on Moab. The Sand Trooper II features a legendary 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 to give it 375 horsepower and 400 ft.-lb. of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission sends the HEMI power to Mopar eight-lug front and rear Portal axles for added ground clearance. Jeep Performance Parts prototype forged beadlock wheels carry 40-inch off-road tires, giving Sand Trooper II its menacing stance.
Mopar exterior enhancements include a satin black grille, hood lock, front and rear half-door and window kits, front and rear off-road “Shorty” modified bumpers, Warn winch, Mopar flat fenders, rock rails, a vented hood, LED off-road lights and headlamps, Rubicon 10th Anniversary swing away rear tire carrier, trailer-tow hitch receiver, black taillamp guards and locking fuel door, and a Jeep Performance Parts badge.
The interior features a rear back-up camera display, Mopar slush mats, black door-sill guards, under-seat and center-console locking storage, locking below-floor storage box, trunk storage box, side sun visors, grab handles, Trailside winch kit and leather seats.
Jeep Wrangler Flattop
The Jeep Wrangler Flattop is a paradox of sorts. Its highly styled and refined body and interior completely belies its phenomenal off-road capability. Jeep designers took special care to give the Wrangler Flattop an upscale appearance inside and out, but bolted some of the most hard-core off-road gear available to Flattop’s chassis.
Featuring a custom one-piece, windowless hard top, the body is finished in a metallic sandstone with copper and brown accents. The top and windshield were chopped two inches, and the b-pillar was removed creating a massive opening from front to rear. The door and hood hinges, tow hooks, grille slats and headlamp surrounds are finished in a copper tone, and the bumpers, side rails, side mirrors and hood decal are dark brown. The bumpers are customized versions from the Wrangle Rubicon 10th Anniversary model, as is the hood. Custom high line fender flares, Truck-Lite LED headlamps, LED rear taillamps and side markers, a massive Warn Zeon winch and TeraFlex spare tire carrier round off the exterior enhancements.
The interior features dark saddle Katzkin leather seating, copper accents on the steering wheel spokes, vent rings and passenger grab handle and Mopar slush mats.
Under Flattop’s rich exterior is some serious off-road gear such as a Mopar cold-air intake, Mopar exhaust kit, aluminum five-spoke wheels that carry 37-inch Mickey Thompson off-road tires, the DynaTrac Pro Rock 44 front and Dana 60 rear axles feature ARB air lockers and TeraFlex sway bars, and Full-Traction control arms. All of this is hardware is bolted to King shocks with pneumatic bump stops.
Jeep Wrangler Slim
The Jeep Wrangler Slim offers maximum performance that is significantly lighter in weight. The Rock Lobster color exterior of the two-door Jeep Wrangler Slim features full doors and a hard top. Powered by a 3.6-liter V-6, the Jeep Wrangler Slim has a 3:73 anti-spin axle. Rolling on prototype 17-inch Jeep Performance Parts forged beadlock wheels with Rock Lobster beauty rings, the Jeep Wrangler Slim features a special 10th Anniversary Rubicon front bumper, which complements the rear bumper, and is the lightest weight rear bumper that Mopar offers. The Jeep Wrangler Slim also sports lightweight rock rails, black grille, black hood decal, LED headlights, locking gas cap and Rubicon tires.
The black interior features leather seat covers and a CB radio, as well as Mopar all-weather slush mats and a hard-top headliner.
Jeep Performance Parts on the Jeep Wrangler Slim include a prototype Mopar 2-inch lift kit. A Mopar cold-air intake is also featured on the Jeep Wrangler Slim.