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One of the more popular Jeep Safari concepts was the lightweight Pork Chop. Following in its foosteps is the Stitch, a 2013 Wrangler Rubicon lightened to a stunning 3,000-lb. curb weight. That gives 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.
In some ways, the Stitch may be a hint of what is coming with the next generation Wrangler; as customers and governments demand more fuel-efficient vehicles, the Wrangler’s heavy weight is becoming a liability. The question becomes, how do you take out the weight without hurting the durability, reliability, and capability? Stitch may provide some hints of what Jeep is looking at.
More to come...
Concept cars are often made so a car’s feel can be evaluated, problems can be foreseen, and reactions of the public can be judged. Some concepts test specific ideas, colors, controls, or materials — either subtle or out of proportion, to hide what’s being tested. Some are created to help designers think “out of the box.” The Challenger, Prowler, PT Cruiser, and Viper were all tested as production-based concepts dressed up to hide the production intent.
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