Chrysler, Plymouth, Dodge, and Jeep Concept Cars
Specific concept cars (newest to oldest)
- 2014 Chrysler 300S (2013)
- Chrysler 300 Luxury (2012) - Moparized C300
- Chrysler Mopar 300 S (2011) - nicely redone version of the Chrysler 300, aspects of which may be produced
- Chrysler 200C (2009) - extended-range electric car - looks production ready; rear drive and attractive
- Chrysler EV minivan (2008) - extended range electric vehicle
- ecoVoyager (2008) - preview of the mid-sized Chrysler crossover?
- SRT-392 Roadster, Town & Country Blackjack (2007 SEMA cars)
- Chrysler Nassau (2007) - LX based luxury car
- Chrysler Firepower - Viper body and suspension, SRT-8 powertrain for a lighter, easier-to-drive supercar. (2005)
- Chrysler ME Four Twelve - AMG V12-powered supercar knocked together in less than a year, yet more capable than the Mercedes McLaren SLR ... a production intent prototype (2004)
- Chrysler Natrium (2003) - fuel cell powered minivan - see minivan history page for electric Dodge / Plymouth TEVan and EPIC.
- Chrysler 300C (2003) - Hemi engine with 400 horsepower. Now a real production vehicle.
- Chrysler Pacifica (2002) - the real thing was based on a minivan and came out safer but several years later.
- Chrysler Chronos (1998) - beautiful, sleek, V10 powered, and inspired by past Chrysler concepts
- Chrysler Phaeton (1997) - dual cowl luxury with a 5.4 liter V12 engine
- Chrysler Atlantic (1995) - Bugatti-inspired curves with a straight-eight engine made from two Neon engines
- Chrysler 300 (1991) — Viper-based V10 car, showing Chrysler flagship thoughts
- Chrysler turbine cars (1954-1989) - Fifty 1963 models were distributed. An M- or K-based turbine was planned for production.
- Chrysler La Comtesse (1954) - predecessor of the La Femme.
- Chrysler K310 (1953)
- Chrysler C-200 (1952) - Hemi convertible concept
- To be covered (writers wanted): 1987 Chrysler Portofino
- Dodge Dart Carbon Fire (2012) - many Mopar parts
- Dodge Avenger Rally Car (2011)
- Dodge Circuit EV (2009) - reprise of the Dodge EV
- Dodge EV (2008) - electric sports car based on the Lotus Elise
- Dodge Dakota MX Warrior, Caravan R/T, Avenger Tuner Stormtrooper, Ram BFT (2007 SEMA cars)
- Dodge Demon (2007) - yet closer to the new small car?
- Dodge Hornet (2006) - prototype for Europe
- Dodge Rampage (2006) - the Dodge Ridgeline, so to speak; front-drive Hemi?
- Dodge Challenger (2006) - a real production car, and it came about as the result of the Charger's “less than ideal” reception. Check out the production Challenger!
- Dodge Scooter (2005): a small, low-slung vehicle
- Dodge Nitro (2005) - this Liberty-based vehicle has the squarish Land Rover look that's in vogue, along with all the Jeep's weight and off-roadability. The real Nitro is more practical on the street, faster in R/T form, and not designed for off-roading.
- Dodge Caliber (2005) - next-gen-Neon-based SUV; look for it on dealership lots in 2006.
- Dodge Sling Shot - (2004) quick, with 45 miles per gallon. The two-seater features excellent handling. Read about our test drive and see our excluisve photos.
- Dodge Magnum SRT-8 (2003) - with a supercharged Hemi engine putting out 430 horsepower through the rear wheels. Now a real production vehicle.
- Dodge Tomahawk (2003) - V-10 motorcycle hitting 60 in under 3 seconds.
- Dodge Durango Hemi (2003) - may show up next year!
- Dodge Kahuna and Avenger (2003) - the Kahuna looks like a PT Cruiser done ugly, the Avenger seems to be an Audi-influenced next-generation Neon. Both are likely to be produced - the Avenger as the next-generation Neon (under the name Dodge Caliber?)
- Dodge Neon SRT (2002) - produced!
- Dodge M80. (2002) - concept pickup based on a Dakota chassis
- Dodge Razor. (2002) - a small car to be made by someone else
- Dodge PowerBox. (2001) - the shape of trucks to come?
- Dodge Intrepid ESX. (1999) - searching for the 80 mpg large car
- Dodge Copperhead. (1997) - low-cost rear drive high-performance car
- Dodge M4S (Dodge PPG Turbo; 1981, 1984) - mid-engined turbo-2.2 racing car (development story)
- The Wraith (M4S clones / “Turbo Interceptor”) (1980s) - cars loosely based on the M4S, for the movie
- Dodge Polycar. (1980) - weight-saving version of the Lebaron
- Dodge Deora (1967) - A100-based concept shown in Dodge displays for two years
- 2013 concepts:
- 2012 SEMA concepts:
- 2012 Moab concepts
- 2011 Jeep and Ram Moab Concepts and New Pickup Kit — JK8 Independence, Pork Chop, Canyon, Cherokee Overland, Wrangler Renegade, Blue Crush, Mopar Ram
- Jeep Moab Safari concepts (2009) - Lower Forty, Grand Canyon II, Wrangler Overland, All-Access, Liberator II, and J8 Sarge
- Jeep Patriot EV (2009) - another extended range electric vehicle
- Jeep EV (2008) - extended range electric vehicle with 4x4 capability
- Jeep Compass Overland (2008) - more upmarket for European buyers
- Jeep Back Country (2008) - moderately modified Patriot
- Jeep Renegade (2008 NAIAS)
- Jeep Wrangler JT, Wrangler All-Access, Wrangler Ultimate (2007 SEMA cars)
- Jeep Trailhawk (2007) - Wrangler based SUV, just like the Cherokee...but different.
- Jeep concept car test drives - March 2005. Includes the Hurricane, Dakar, Jeepster, Willys2, Rescue, and Compass.
- Jeep Hurricane (2005) - dual-Hemi powered monster with four wheel steering. Exclusive photos.
- Jeep Gladiator (2005) - Diesel-powered Wrangler pickup with a midgate for added storage. Updated with our photos and driving experience.
- Jeep Treo (2004) - Our ride-and-drive of this mobile study of what hydrogen-powered Jeeps make look like in 2020.
- Jeep Rescue (2004) - Rescue may be Jeep's attempt to conquer the Hummer.
- Jeep Willys2. (2001) - Also see our ride-and-drive photos.
- Jeep Commander 2 - see below
- Jeep Dakar (1997) - four door extended wheelbase Jeep Wrangler (and you thought that was the Cherokee!) - click here for our test drive
- Jeep Icon (1997) - hints of the next-generation Jeep Wrangler
- Jeep JJ internal concept (1980s) - entry-level "soft-roader" that met full Jeep off-road standards; designed for export markets but killed to make funds available for the Grand Cherokee
- Jeep XJ-002 Bolide (1969-1970) - world's first T-top and an unexpected design
- Plymouth Howler - replacing the 3.5 liter V6 and automatic with a 4.7 liter V-8 and stick-shift, but with a slower 0-60 time of 5.9 seconds despite a manual transmission; also had a pickup-truck bed. (Thanks, Dimitri).
- Plymouth Truck - Cruiser (2000?) - the PT Cruiser!
- Plymouth Pronto Spyder (1998) - cool sports car previewing the 2.4 turbo and tortoise-shell wheel
- Plymouth CCV (1998) - totally recycled plastic Plymouth meant as a low-cost, environmentally sound car for China and India; copied by Ford's 2003 "City Car."
- Plymouth Pronto (1997) - styling study for a new Plymouth
- Plymouth Falcon (1955) - the Valiant was originally to be called the Falcon, and a remarkably sporty concept car shows what it could have been. (At valiant.org)
- Plymouth Belmont (1954) - the Corvette/Thunderbird fighter
- Plymouth Explorer, Plainsman, Cabana (1954)
- Sun Runner (2013)
- ProMaster Rolling Garage (2013) and Case Dually
- Rumble Bee (2013)
- Li’l Red Express Truck (2012)
- Urban Ram (2012)
- Ram PowerWagon (2011)
- Moparized Viper (2012)
Why and how do they make concept cars?
Concept cars are made for many reasons, largely to get a visible, tangible look at a design before production so its feel can be evaluated, possible problems can be foreseen, and so reactions of non-gearheads can be judged. Sometimes, concepts test particular ideas - for example, colors and materials, controls and dashboard layouts, and the like. Those ideas can be rather subtle and hidden.
Other concepts are designed to help designers think out of the box. One example of that is the Jeep Treo, a study to consider what cars might be like when fuel cells are common (if they become common), and how that would affect styling. Without a large engine in front, for example, the Treo allows drivers to actually look through the grille.
Concept cars can be divided more precisely. Pre-production cars like the Challenger, Prowler, and Viper were all production-based concepts dressed up in doodads and geegaws to hide the production intent. A “true” concept is a styling, engineering, or manufacturing excercise that tests out consumer reaction to various ideas and is not a specific model production intent vehicle. For example, the Renegade pickup was actually a 2008 minivan concept.
Driving concept cars is a fascinating experience because you begin to realize why they did things - the old question of "what the #*$#@*&!^! were they thinking?" is answered. Designs that seem over the top become reasonable. However, before the expensive concepts are driven by outsiders, they usually get some form of mechanical limiter so the engine can roar but the car won't move. The exceptions in our experience were the Sling Shot, a rebodied smart car, and the 2.4-turbo equipped, five-speed Pronto Spyder, which would have been an amazing Plymouth had it been produced.
Some historical Chrysler concept cars
|Hans Riemenschneider wrote: The '41 Thunderbolt was designed by Alex Tremulis (a.k.a. Tucker Torpedo). It had a one-piece retractable hardtop. Five were built, four survive.|
Richard Wagner wrote: The 1941 Chrysler Newport with LeBaron design similar to the BMW 328 may actually be the missing link to this list of concept cars and dare I suggest, an inspiration to the final design of another classic, the 1948 Jaguar XK-120. Photo courtesy Martin Link.
David Ryan wrote: We at the shop have the official 1941 Chrysler Newport Dual-cowl Pheaton Pace Car (non-hiding headlights). I had to fab the bumperettes for it. The car is currently green; Walter P. Junior didn't appreciate the silver colour, so he had it painted to his liking. The doors and half the body are made of aluminum, wood structure, the rest is steel, totally ahead of its time.
Hans Riemenschneider wrote: The amazing Chrysler Norseman featured a cantilevered roof which did not require A-pillars. Intended to be the premiere show car of 1957, it went down with the Andrea Doria in July of 1956 en route from Ghia in Italy.
Chrysler TwoPlace LeBaron
Ric DiDonato wrote: I'm a 1986 Chrysler LeBaron owner and frequent visitor to your site (a photo of my car's engine is on the 2.2 engine page). I've attached a photo of the Chrysler Two-Place concept of 1983. The Two-Place name is derived from the fact that this is a two-seater. The rear area is covered with a hard shell which contours to the headrests similar to the early 1960s Ford Thunderbird sport convertibles. I think it's interesting to note the style and elements that were later used on LeBarons and Reliants, particularly the rounded edges used on the 1986 K bodies, and the grill treatment. It's also interesting to note the Mercedes SL convertible styling.
Jeep Commander 2
The Grand Cherokee-based Commander 2 has a hybrid-electric fuel cell powertrain and dual electric motors which increase its equivalent of gas mileage by 12 mpg. As with the Intrepid ESX, it runs on electricity generated by the fuel cell, which is fueled by hydrogen from an on-board methanol reformer. Methanol eliminates the need for large hydrogen storage tanks. The battery captures energy normally lost during braking. Despite a light-weight plastic body, which cuts body weight nearly in half while saving manufacturing costs (with near total recyclability), the Commander 2 is 5,700 lb, due to the heavy powertrain. It is seven inches wider than the standard Grand Cherokee. (1998?)
|1989 Millenium (Intrepid-like profile)||1993 Thunderbolt||Jeepster|
|2000 Power Wagon||1998 T-Rex - 500hp and a 26,000
pound towing capacity
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.