Jeep never fails to surprise and delight at the Easter Safari, consistently rolling out wild concepts for fans who make the trip to Moab. This year, the Safari will act as a launchpad for seven special editions, led by a jacked-up Wrangler and a lovingly-restored Cherokee.
Jeep Grand One
Now more than ever, enthusiasts seem to enjoy loving recreations of icons from years gone by. Jaguar will sell you a (very expensive) E-Type, and Land Rover has brought the original Range Rover back from the dead. Avid racers can even buy a Lola T70, built to original spec from the ground up. Jeep has driven down a similar road with the Grand One, designed to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Grand Cherokee nameplate.
Based on a 1993 ZJ Grand Cherokee, the Grand One has been treated to a few choice modifications. On the outside, it sits on custom 18-inch wheels framed by high-clearance fender flares. The wheelbase has actually been extended, and the paintwork is finished with a subtle wood-grain look.
Inside, Jeep says the Easter Safari special has been designed to celebrate the Grand Cherokee with materials and touches inspired by the '90s. Carpet is gone, and in its place is a truck-style bed liner, but old-fashioned businessmen will really appreciate the carphone attached to the center console.
Power comes from a V8 engine, hooked up to a four-speed automatic gearbox, and off-road ability should be enhanced by a set of BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain KM2 tires, selectable locking differentials at both ends, and a small suspension lift.
Unlike the Grand One, the Safari isn't concerned with celebrating the past. Jeep has tried to create the perfect vehicle for (you guessed it) Safari work. That means giving rear-seat passengers a panoramic view of the surroundings without actually exposing them to the elements, or the animals they're trying to see.
The concept is fitted with a translucent hard-top, along with special "windoors" made of aluminum and see-through vinyl. That see-through roof is also home to a special roof rack that is designed to house a drone. Both rear seats have been rotated slightly, making it easier to see out the side without craning your neck – unless what you're trying to spot is on the other side of the car, of course.
To make sure intrepid explorers aren't left stranded on the savannah, the Wrangler-based concept makes use of locking Dana 44 axles both front and rear, and a shorter wheelbase helps with maneuverability on tight trails. The underbody is protected by a custom full-length skidplate, and a unique cold-air intake helps the V6 engine breathe a little more freely.
The Wrangler-based Quicksand is what happens when hot-rodders go off-roading. Power comes from a HEMI 392 V8, hooked to a six-speed manual gearbox feeding power to all four wheels. Unlike the specially-shortened Safari, the Quicksand runs with a longer wheelbase and short body which, coupled with the chopped top and open windows, make for a more classic hot-rodding silhouette.
Inside, the designers have chosen red as their theme. The low-back bucket seats and dashboard both stand out with their red finishes, while the roll-bar is finished in chrome for a touch of added drama.
Given it's been designed with sand dunes in mind, it'll be no surprise to hear Jeep has thrown the kitchen sink at the Quicksand. This is the brand's first concept to run on staggered tires, with 32-inch rubber up front and 37-inch tires down back. They're wrapped around vintage alloys, and the whole package rides on a set of special coilover shocks.
The Luminator is undoubtedly the brightest concept to roll out of the Jeep factory, thanks to a unique lighting setup developed in tandem with Magneti Marelli. Along with the LED head and taillights, the concept runs with a-pillar mounted spotlights, steering-connected foglamps and a low-profile lightbar behind the windscreen. Even the turn signals have been replaced with new LED units.
To make sure all these lights don't miss any moving animals while deep in the wilderness, the hood-mounted light module can target its beam, placing a moving spotlight on potential hazards further up the road. Down back, the high-mounted central brake light is able to change color, making it easier to communicate with trail riders behind. It shines red when the car is stopped, amber between 1 and 3 mph (4.8 km/h) and green between 3 and 35 mph (56 mph).
Of all the Jeep concepts on show in Moab, the Switchback is the most capable off-roader, thanks to a huge collection of Jeep Performance Parts. The Wrangler-based concept sits on Dana 44 axles, and a set of remote reservoir Fox Shocks contribute to a four-inch lift. Both front and rear differentials are protected by heavy-duty covers, while the nose and tail hide behind special steel bumpers.
Sitting on a set of unique 17-inch wheels wrapped in 37-inch BFGoodrich tires, the vehicle should be able to dig in and climb almost anything, but Jeep has still fitted a front winch to get out of sticky situations.
On the outside, the Switchback is clothed in a concept hood and half doors, along with the roof and drone-rack from the Safari featured above. Beyond the concept parts, a set of fender flares and the oversized spare-wheel carrier come directly from the Jeep Performance Parts catalog. Having stolen the roof from the Safari, the Switchback borrows its lighting system from the Luminator. That should make late-night expeditions into the wilderness easier, as well as making the car perfect for anyone scared of the dark.
Okay, so the Compass might not look completely natural as a jacked-up off roader, but Jeep is keen to prove it's tougher than the average SUV. Compared to the regular Compass Trailhawk, the Trailpass runs with a 1.5-inch lift kit and more off-road oriented Continental TerrainContact tires.
Beyond the lift, the rest of the changes are cosmetic, with a special roof-rack and two-tone paint job making it look a bit tougher than the average Compass. There are also orange flashes mixed into the wheels, though you'd need to be a trainspotter to notice them at speed.
These concepts were joined by the CJ66 shown off at SEMA last year. For a closer look at the cars here, flick through our image gallery or check out the video below.
Source: Fiat Chrysler