Every spring, Jeepers from all over America show up at Moab, Utah, to take off on the Moab Easter Jeep Safari, a nine day romp through the southwestern terrain, proving the trail capability of their Jeeps. And every year reps from Jeep show up themselves to enrage and disappoint their fans. Well, that’s not why they arrive, but that’s always what ends up happening, because they always bring at least a handful of concept Jeeps, and then everybody gets all itchy because the concepts never reach production. The Mighty FC, J-12 pickup, and NuKizer are all alumni of the Safari, and we want them all to actually exist. Easter Jeep Safari 2015 just wrapped on Sunday (Easter) and this year the official Jeep disappointment didn’t disappoint. Here’s the lineup of the JK-based Jeep concepts.
Who doesn’t love the look of a ’70s Wagoneer? Commies and people who own The Big Bang Theory on DVD, that’s who. Jeep emulated that look for the Chief concept, copying the grille, roofline, and general structure, and mounting it up to a JK chassis. Then they painted it with seven coats of surf culture. It features chrome accents, seats made from your uncle’s Hawaiian shirt collection, and rosewood interior bits, including cargo runners and a tiki head shift knob. For the actually manual transmission. There’s also Dana 44s underneath, with lockers, because sometimes you have to go surfing in the mountains.
You probably remember that the original Jeep was born in World War II, punching Nazi throats and looking awesome. The Jeep Staff Car will make sure you don’t forget. Inspired by the original Willy’s war wagon, it’s been fitted with rope, a shovel, and an axe, in case you have to cut a road through eastern France. Jeep opted for a Sahara brown paint scheme instead of OD, but we won’t hold that against them. Inside there’s period-correct seats so short the NHTSA put a bounty on them, as well as a cooler that looks like an artillery box. Also rolling out of 1945 are the tires, skinnies on steelies, and the steel beam bumpers. There’s no B-pillar, replaced instead with a roll cage hiding under the removable canvas safari top. Underneath there’s some Fox Shocks, which might have come in handy in North Africa, and another manual transmission, because you can’t put your life in the hands of a torque converter. Because torque converters don’t have hands.
Speaking of Africa, have you ever seen those full length Land Rovers romping across the Serengeti and gotten a little jealous? All those seats. All that roof. All that protection from lions. Jeep has you covered, literally, with a roof. The Wrangler Africa is a fixed-roof trail wagon with a high ceiling and glass windows. There’s a roof rack for landing your hot air balloon, external fuel cans for looking awesome, and a two-inch lift kit, once again with Fox shocks, for fording rivers while you’re following that herd of wildebeests. The floor is also coated with spray-in bedliner, so the whole floor is a floor mat.
Red Rock Responder
No Moab Easter Jeep Safari would be complete without an awesome Jeep pickup we can never have, and Jeep wanted to complete things this year, so they took a 4-door JK and built it a custom bed, or, as they say, “cargo box.” This one has pretty high walls, but that’s not to promote blind spots or pay homage to the Honda Ridgeline. It’s because the walls of the bed have cool little storage compartments for tools, a hi-lift jack, an air compressor with a tank, and some other stuff. The Red Rock Responder, or as most dogs prefer to call it, the RRR, is designed as a kind of mobile repair vehicle for other trucks stuck out on the trail. It can’t break or get stuck itself on the way out there, so it has a substantial, four-inch lift, beadlocks, and a Warn winch. Jeep also gave it LED pillar lamps, fender flares, and Dana 60 axles with 5.38 gearing.
Jeep didn’t show up to the Moab Easter Jeep Safari 2015 just for fun, though. They want to show off their line of aftermarket parts. If you’re looking to kit out your own Jeep, we can help. Check out Bestop to upgrade your top to a strong, weatherproof, versatile soft top. ARB has incredibly tough accessories for your Jeep, bumper to bumper. Including the bumpers. An Optima Yellow Top battery is perfect for your winch and auxiliary lighting. And what about that winch? Warn makes the best in the business. If you have any questions about Jeep gear, give our friendly, American tech experts a call at 877.787.8989, and they’ll be happy to assist.
Andy Sheehan is a blogger, aspiring novelist, and relentless hoon. He plans to will his 2002 Subaru WRX Wagon to his firstborn, plans his daily commute around the swoop of its roads, and doesn’t plan to ever buy an automatic. A cool-car omnipath, he loves the common Mustang or Chevelle, but hunts for the weird and wonderful Velorexes and Cosmos of the autoverse. And when he can afford a garage, he’s going to turn an MX-5 into a race car.