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Moab 2015: Jeep concepts

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Seven Jeep® concept vehicles created for the 2015 Easter Jeep Safari by a small team of engineers, designers, and fabricators who have, since 2002, brought out more than 50 concept vehicles for the event.

Jeep Chief

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A tribute to the Wagoneer-based Jeep Cherokee, which came before the famed XJ, this Wrangler-based concept has a vintage Ocean Blue exterior color scheme, custom-modified Wagoneer grille, removable sides for an open-air feel and flexible hauling, chromed bumpers, and slotted mag wheels.

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The interior is Hawaiian themed, with vintage-style surf stickers, a rosewood-style front-passenger grab handle and tiki-style shifter handle, and Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen media center in case you had any thoughts of consistency.

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The doors and windshield were chopped two inches; Jeep Performance Parts included a two-inch lift kit with Fox shocks, front and rear Dana 44 axles, cold air intake, and modified Rubicon rock rails. It has a standard Wrangler manual-transmission powertrain.

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Jeep Staff Car

The Jeep Staff Car, a salute to Jeep military service vehicles, is an open-air four-door-based concept with heritage design cues. Basic steel wheels, minimalist fender flares, a stretched canvas roof, and bench seats all echo the original military Jeeps.

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The Sandstorm paint is carried throughout the vehicle including the wheels, frame, and axles. The Jeep Staff Car has no B-pillar and no doors; it does have Jeep J8 front and rear bumpers, fender-mounted blackout lamps with guards, and a rear-mount spare tire and vintage military gas can. The Jeep Staff Car sits on 16-inch wheels with 35-inch Firestone NDT military tires.

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The minimalist interior uses low-backed bench seats, an integrated roll cage, and a painted steel floor in place of carpet. A built-in cooler draws its inspiration from an old artillery box and accommodates 85 cans. It too uses a manual transmission, with a two-inch lift kit, Fox shocks, and front and rear Dana 44 axles.

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Jeep Wrangler Africa

While Toyota and Range Rover seem to have the African-safari market sewn up, there's a possibility that Jeep is considering expansion there - as they are everywhere else. The Jeep Africa concept is billed as "the ultimate Jeep Wrangler for back-country and overland expeditions, with room for extra gear and auxiliary fuel tanks."

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It has Desert Tan paint, a high-clearance steel front bumper with a winch, power step rock rails, power dome vented hood, and an extended rear body and high-top roof. It is powered by a 2.8-liter VM diesel engine with an automatic transmission (a European standard), with fender-mounted auxiliary fuel cans. The Africa sports 17-inch body color steel wheels with 35-inch BF Goodrich Mud Terrain tires.

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The Jeep Wrangler Africa has the de rigeur two-inch lift kit with Fox shocks, sway bar links, and front and rear Dana 44 axles from Jeep Performance Parts. The spare tire is underbody-mounted, which could be a problem in the African desert; but at least the cargo area, inner roof, and floor have a durable spray-in truck bed coating.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Overlander

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The Grand Cherokee-based Overlander concept is fitted for camping, perhaps not as seriously as the AEV Expeditioner. The name is a play on "Overland," the company that John North Willys took over and renamed, which has since been used as a top-of-the-line trim model of the Grand Cherokee.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee Overlander has Sage Green paint, a one-off front fascia, integrated front winch, tow hooks, larger wheel flares, SRT taillamps and hood, off-road rock rails, front and rear skid plates and 18-inch milled wheels with BF Goodrich All-terrain T/A tires. Underneath all that dressing is a three-liter VM diesel and eight-speed automatic. For durability, the Grand Cherokee Overlander has a spray-in truck bed coating on the roof.

The hard-shell rooftop tent has space for two.

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Jeep Renegade Desert Hawk

The Jeep Renegade spanwed the Desert Hawk concept, which is mainly an appearance package: it has a Jeep Performance Parts body decal, a topographical hood decal that depicts the Fins and Things Moab trail, off-road rock rails, a skid plate kit, Mopar's trailer hitch receiver, and a Mopar roof rack.

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Inside are the inevitable Katzkin seat covers, with body color bezel accents and Mopar all-weather floor mats.

Illustration Drawing

Jeep Cherokee Canyon Trail

The Jeep Cherokee Canyon Trail concept uses Desert Tan paint and a satin black hood with a less detailed hood decal showcasing the Hell's Revenge trail; various other decals adorn the body.

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Inside are the inevitable Katzkin leather seat covers, accent stitching, body color bezel accents, a cargo tray mat, Jeep Cargo Management System, Moab Off-road bag, and all-weather floor mats. Off-road capability is enhanced by JPP off-road rock rails, a two-piece fuel tank skid plate, two-piece underbody skid plate, oil pan, and front suspension skid plates.

Concept 17-inch painted wheels with BF Goodrich All Terrain T/A tires provide an additional one-half inch of lift. This particular car has the 2.4 liter engine and nine-speed automatic with a low range AWD setup and locking rear differential.

Jeep Wrangler Red Rock Responder

The Jeep Wrangler Red Rock Responder can store spare parts and tools inside built-in drawers and compartments. Painted bright red exterior paint, with high-top fender flares and 17-inch beadlock wheels, the Red Rock Responder sports LED headlamps and foglamps, with LED A-pillar and off-road lamps.

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Extra ground clearance comes via 37-inch BF Goodrich Mud Terrain T/A KM2 tires, and four inches of JPP lift; it also has Fox shocks, front and rear Dana 60 axles with 5.38 gearing, a cold-air intake, prototype off-road rock rails, and a Warn winch. Wrangler Rubicon 10th Anniversary Edition steel front and rear bumpers and high-top fenders were created as concept parts, but quickly became a production parts due to popular demand.

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Side cargo boxes on each side hold a hi-lift jack and accessories, fire extinguisher, first aid kit, Snap-on soft tool bags, recovery kits, an air hose, dual compressor, and air reservoir, with room for a cooler or a case of water. The interior has the inevitable Katzkin leather seats, embroidered logos, red accent bezels, grab handles, and all-weather floor mats.

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Larry Vellequette of Automotive News gave us permission to use several of the photos he took, which are marked out on this page; following are some that explain how the Red Rock Responder actually carries all that gear.

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Concept cars2013 Moab concepts2012 Jeep Moab conceptsJeep FCTrailhawkApacheJ12Traildozer

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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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