Right on Cue, the 2019 Moab Easter Jeep Safari Concepts Have Arrived
Every year, the Easter Jeep Safari treats us to a batch of Fiat Chrysler’s finest off-road concepts and breathes a little fun into the auto industry.
While assuredly a marketing ploy, it’s one of the most enjoyable (and something this author eagerly waits for every spring). This year’s marketing proved a little more heavy-handed, thanks to the presence of Jeep’s all-new Gladiator, but no less palatable. Jeep is bringing six models to Moab for 2019 and every one comes with a truck bed and loads of accessories Mopar cannot wait to sell you via the Jeep Performance Parts catalog.
“The Moab Easter Jeep Safari provides the perfect venue to interact with and gather feedback from our most loyal and passionate customers – the diehard off-road enthusiasts who attend the event each year,” said Jeep boss Tim Kuniskis. “This year’s Safari will mark the debut of the highly anticipated all-new Jeep Gladiator on Moab’s scenic and demanding trails. To celebrate, we are showcasing six fun and ultra-capable new truck-based Jeep concept vehicles that are certain to turn heads and delight the crowd.”
However, one of the biggest head turners Jeep brought to the desert wasn’t based on the new pickup. It was a resto-modded 1968 Jeep M-715 “Five-Quarter” (the military variant of the old Gladiator). FCA overhauled the model’s looks and made several “functional improvements” — like adding a supercharged, 6.2-liter Hellcrate Hemi V8.
While still identifiable as a vintage Five-Quarter, Jeep replaced quite a bit of the original sheet metal with carbon fiber, modernized the lights, seats, added Rubicon bumpers, bobbed the bed, and cut down the convertible soft-top by over three inches for a more athletic look. Fitting, as it now has over 700 horsepower.
The frame is reinforced for off-road mishaps and standard leaf springs were swapped out for a heavy-duty link/coil suspension system. A Dynatrac Pro-rock 60 front axle sits two inches further forward while a Dynatrac Pro-rock 80 axle works the rear. 20-inch beadlock wheels, wrapped in meaty 40-inch tires, appear in all four corners.
The Jeep J6 concept is decidedly more modern and also not officially a new Gladiator. Instead, it’s a four-door Wrangler Unlimited playing host to some extensive but not glaring modifications. Basically a test case for a two-door Gladiator, it maintains the standard 3.6-liter Pentastar V6. Jeep has, however, lifted the vehicle slightly for Moab and given it the applicable rubber for off-road work.
Despite boasting numerous protective modifications, the standout feature of the J6 has to be the Metallic Brilliant Blue paint job and body-color spray-in bedliner.
The Jeep Flatbill is more straightforward. Loaded with catalog parts, it’s all about making a splash at whatever locale you happen to be hauling dirt bikes — thanks to its loud motocross-inspired graphics.
A custom designed, shortened front bumper and skid plate open the door to more ambitious approach angles, while a tube rear bumper steepens the departure. Familiar suspension and tire upgrades are also there, but Jeep really wants the Flatbill to get people stoked about the Gladiator’s hauling capabilities.
Meanwhile, the Wayout promotes the new pickup’s camping prowess. Like most Jeeps, this overlander is all about becoming one with nature while maintaining the option to kick its ass. It loads up on the catalog’s protective offerings, adds a snorkel, lift kit, roof-rack, 12,000-pound Warn winch, and caps it all off with a full roof-top tent (suitable for two) and custom canopy.
For added convenience, Jeep included two custom-fit auxiliary fuel tanks integrated into the Wayout’s bedsides. There’s also an ARB on-board air system with a body-mounted quick-disconnect air supply… in case you need to use pneumatic tools to build a cabin or spruce up the campsite.
The Jeep Gladiator Gravity is Moab’s rock-crawler for 2019, outfitted “with a full complement of available-at-launch Jeep Performance Parts from Mopar.” It’s loaded.
Jeep’s Gravity is raised (via the Jeep Performance Parts two-inch lift kit) and runs on 17-inch wheels fitted to 35-inch tires. Heavy-gauge steel rock rails were added, utilizing the same powder-coating as Ram Truck bedliners, to provide a non-slip finish. Forward illumination is enhanced and Jeep chucked on any open-air accessory at its disposal.
Unfortunately, power enhancement is relegated to a cold-air intake and cat-back exhaust system. While it feels wrong to complain about the 3.6-liter (which has served the Wrangler well), this is the Easter Jeep Safari, after all, and we’ve grown accustomed to ludicrous engine swaps. We kind of thought the Gravity would receive that treatment.
Last, but not least, is Jeep’s JT Scrambler concept. Adopting the look of a vintage two-door CJ8 Scrambler, the JT concept features a white paint job and retro-themed graphics all the way down its side. The vintage Scrambler look also influenced the choice of interior materials, resulting in Amaretto Brown leather with orange stitching.
Otherwise, it’s not terribly different from the rest of the Gladiator one-offs Jeep’s bringing to Moab this year. The two-inch lift kit is here, along with non-slip rock rails, roll bars, LED lighting, and unique wheels with oversized tires. Be that as it may, we love the look.
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The J6 is the winner here. The rest are meh to me.
The J6 with the Scrambler graphics would have taken the cake!