By on June 11, 2015

 

The 2015 Easter Jeep Safari "Chief" is an homage to the full-size Cherokees of the 1970s.

The 2015 Easter Jeep Safari “Chief” is an homage to the full-size Cherokees of the 1970s.

Jeep has this whole concept car thing figured out.

Whereas most manufacturers use concept cars as a glimpse into the near future (or not, See “NSX, Acura”), Jeep makes weird-ass, proof of bad-ass concepts like this Chief, a 2012 “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” Wrangler turned surf-weirdo-baby blue-SUV that goes to show how much lead Jeep designer Mark Allen has nothing to do all day.

(Allen once told me his job with the Wrangler is done every year when nothing changes and that’s how it should be.)

Part of the package Jeep brings out every year for Easter Jeep Safari, the Chief is a one-off with a 2-inch lift, Dana 44s, Fox shocks and massive BFGoodrich Mud-Terrains with 17-inch slotted mag wheels. It’s an homage to the full-size Cherokee, because the current Cherokee isn’t exactly a direct successor anyway.

The Tiki-style shifter is perhaps the best touch; the “Magnum P.I.” sticker in the back is a close second. The Hawaiian-style seats aren’t entirely awesome.

 

The 2015 Easter Jeep Safari "Chief" sports a tiki shifter that would be cooler if it were a hand grenade.

The 2015 Easter Jeep Safari “Chief” sports a tiki shifter that would be cooler if it were a hand grenade.

The 2015 Easter Jeep Safari "Chief" is apparently Magnum P.I. approved. Says so right on that sticker.

The 2015 Easter Jeep Safari “Chief” is apparently Magnum P.I. approved. Says so right on that sticker.

The 2015 Easter Jeep Safari "Chief" is apparently Magnum P.I. approved. Says so right on that sticker.

The 2015 Easter Jeep Safari “Chief” is apparently Magnum P.I. approved. Says so right on that sticker.

The 2015 Easter Jeep Safari "Chief," which may or may not come standard with Beach Boys soundtrack.

The 2015 Easter Jeep Safari “Chief,” which may or may not come standard with Beach Boys soundtrack.

The Moab models very rarely make it onto dealer lots — and if they do it’s mostly trims like the Renegade Desert Hawk — but they do offer a tantalizing glimpse ahead.

 

The 2015 Easter Jeep Safari Renegade dubbed "Desert Hawk." Because "Desert Fox" was something completely different.

The 2015 Easter Jeep Safari Renegade dubbed “Desert Hawk.” Because “Desert Fox” was something completely different.

This year’s Wrangler Africa sported a 2.8-liter diesel, something that may or may not make it into the next generation Wrangler. Although Jeep is hedging on whether there is a business case for an oil-burning Wrangler, it’s clear the current 21 mpg fuel economy won’t pass muster in 2017 or beyond. A diesel with an 8-speed could be a tempting solution.

One thing that should be available immediately: dealer installed hand grenade shifter. Awesome.

 

The hand grenade gear shifter on the 2015 Easter Jeep Safari "Staff Car" should be hitting dealerships soon — I hope.

The hand grenade gear shifter on the 2015 Easter Jeep Safari “Staff Car” should be hitting dealerships soon — I hope.

These cars are drivable (sometimes barely) and mostly functional, but live very short lives.

Chances are good the concept crop for next year, which is Jeep’s 75th anniversary, are already under construction. It’s possible that Allen is cooking up all kinds of weirdos to take to southern Utah, or that he’ll bring back some of the greatest hits like the Lower Forty.

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23 Comments on “Please Make a Business Case for Hand Grenade Gear Shifters, Jeep...”


  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Mother of G*d, this is perfect.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Because the metal at the top of that grenade looks like a comfy place for your hand to rest in a manual.

    You’d get a blister.

  • avatar

    I sort of liked the Staff Car in this Safari (not pictured).

  • avatar
    Blake Noble

    If FCA won’t make an official hand grenade shift knob for Jeeps, then that means it’s time for a third-party manufacturer to rise up to meet the challenge.

    And it would be easier than you might think.

    Step one: Aquire deactivated military surplus lemon, pineapple and baseball practice grenades. (Side note: Having trouble procuring milsurp practice grenades? Find a local milsurp store or wander around a gun show. You’ll find them there, usually for about $10 a pop.)

    Step two: Buy the proper equipment to make threads in the bottom of said grenades. Bonus: there are already holes in the bottom of them, so some of the work has already been done for you. (“I’d like a tap and die and some WD40.”)

    Step three: Sell on the internet for $35 each.

    Step four: Profit.

  • avatar
    sproc

    Love it!

    Until, of course, someone ends up on the side of the road in handcuffs waiting for the bomb squad because some oxygen thief didn’t get the joke.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    These concepts really tend to wear one down with constant disappointment.

    Dear Mr. Jeep-in charge:

    If you really want to further invigorate your brand, take an off-the-shelf Wrangler, use the same longer wheelbase of the unlimited two-door, square off the rear wheel well openings a bit, build a new rear body cap slanted slightly inward, matched to a similar-slanted hard top back hatch, slightly restyle the windshield and front end, and you now will have a 2017 Jeepster Commando for very little capital investment and you can sign me up for one.

    Simple, isn’t it?

  • avatar
    turf3

    No, the shift lever and the stickers are not the best part.

    The best parts are:

    A real grille;
    Round headlights that might cost $30 not $300 to replace;
    Metal bumpers that could actually be used for their intended purpose: bumping;
    Windows you can see out of.

    Is there at least a ghost of a chance that these elements could be starting to come back into style again? Or is the fact they show up in a concept car an indication of just how wild, out-there, and off-the-wall these things are nowadays, which EVERY car had 30 years ago?

    ARRGGH.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    I dont much care for the Wrangler’s looks. Its not offensive, but its just not for me. I give it respect for being the very capable off-road machine that it is.

    The Chief, on the other hand, is stunning! I am not a huge fan of the full sized Cherokee it’s styling is based on, but the concept is just awesome. The proportions are just right, the styling works so well that it almost appears to be a ground-up new design, not just the reskinned Wrangler that it is (to me, only the door handles say “Wrangler” loud and clear). Id be highly tempted by one if it were produced. Im sure it would canabalize Wrangler sales, but in my case, it would bring me into a showroom I otherwise wouldnt touch with a ten foot pole.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    They should have went with Desert Fox.

  • avatar
    Luke42

    The only real advantage of the BOF design is being able to swap bodies around. Like the flatbeds and service bodies on pickup trucks.

    Or being able to reskin the Wrangler while using the same chassis and as many of the other bits as possible.

    I like it! Jeep should totally do it!

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