4WDrive

GLADIATOR, GLADIATOR, WHERE ‘FOUR’ ART THOU’

Jeep’s new Gladiator dominates the concept platform at Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, UT

- Words by Perry Mack Photos FCA

It was the 53rd annual Moab Easter Jeep Safari (EJS), where, as exciting as Christmas morning, FCA unveiled this year’s crop of Jeep Concept vehicles featuring Mopar/Jeep Performanc­e Parts (JPP). We were more excited than usual this year with the current crop of concepts, and here’s why.

Jeep Wayout

Why save the best for last when you want to talk about it first! It’s a targeted Overland concept vehicle that anyone can build - with the right amount of cash. The combinatio­n tan accessorie­s on the new Gator Green scream take me ‘wayoutta here’ and the 17" solid steel wheels give off a terrific retro Willys vibe.

Powering your adventures is the stock 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmissi­on.

It’s not just another pretty facelift though. A 2" lift allows 37" Falken Wildpeak A/T rubber to raise the truck and provide the kind of traction that the stock tires can’t even dream of. Trail worthy accessorie­s include steel rock sliders with integrated steps, 12,000 lb Warn winch upfront, an ARB compressor for on-board air, and a snorkel for that legitimate off-road look. Speaking of looks, we also like the extra lighting under the bull bar on the front bumper.

With the trail worthiness taken care of, designers turned their attention to the Overland component so you can get out and stay out. Two auxiliary fuel tanks have been integrated into the bed sides, and the bed has been enhanced with a Decked/

Mopar storage system to keep your gear locked down.

You’ll have to do some leg stretches before using the bedrack-integrated ladder up to the Maggiolina tent for cozy sleep for two - choose your traveling companion wisely - and forward of the tent over the cab is an integrated roof rack to hold even more gear. They have wisely added a 270 awning with amber LED task lighting for coverage from sun and rain while camped.

A couple of finishing touches we would have liked to have seen, is a kitchen system with a sink and counter space, fridge/ freezer and back-up battery system. And since wishes are free, how about a solar charging system, and…

Jeep Flatbill

I’ll take two, please. Although my motocross days are behind me, or perhaps because they are, this custom Gladiator had me daydreamin­g of the days loading the Honda XR200’s into our pick-up.

The moto inspired graphics won’t be for everyone, but the 4" lift and high-clearance fenders that allow 40" Maxxis RAZR M/T tires to be stuffed underneath have to have every off-roader giving it at least a second glance. That second look that will reveal the stubby front bumper and the tube rear bumper improving the approach and departure angles. The designers also wisely added a skid plate up front and tube rock sliders in case the driver decides to test these enhanced angles. Jeep says the vented carbon hood is also moto inspired but it just says hot days on the trail to me - thank goodness it has the new soft top

installed as well.

The moto theme gets some functional­ity as loading ramps have been added with the removal of the tailgate, to get the bikes in and hold them in place.

Under the hood, is (once again) the 3.6L Pentastar (albeit with a Mopar coldair intake) and FCA’s trusted eight speed automatic transmissi­on.

It’s loud, proud, unrepentan­t and unashamed. We like it.

Jeep M-715 Five-Quarter

While the first two pick-ups we’ve discussed could functional­ly be your Gladiator with a few after market parts, the M-715 Five-Quarter is another beast altogether. Nothing so banal as the 3.6L Pentastar for this resto-mod, there is a 6.2-liter supercharg­ed “Hellcrate” HEMI V-8 engine producing 700 hp under the hood.

Are you wondering about the name? The Five-Quarter harkens back to the Jeep trucks that were one and one quarter tons.

Jeep says, "Starting with a 1968 M-715, this Gladiator-based military vehicle was re-imagined with design and functional improvemen­ts to its chassis, drivetrain and cargo configurat­ions, resulting in a truly capable showpiece.”

We agree. This is a mechanical work of art that demands to be driven off-road. The original frame has been reinforced and the leaf springs hucked into the recycle bin in favour of a heavy-duty link/ coil suspension. The wheelbase has been extended by pulling the front axle forward 2" and then substituti­ng in a Dynatrac Pro-rock 60 front axle, while the back gets a Dynatrac Pro-rock 80 axle. At the end of the axles are 40" Maxxis RAZR M/T, wrapped around a set of 20" beadlocks.

Those are the highlights of the mechanics, the rest is truck crack, I mean 4x4 art. Look closely at the truck bed. How long would that take for the average Joe to design, never-mind build, a bed like that, providing of course he had an industrial water jet cutter. The bobbed 6’ custom bed has a futuristic military look thanks to the grills, rivets, composite flat fenders, machined fuel cover, LED halo lights in the original tail light buckets, and heavy duty tie downs bolted to the bed rails.

The mad scientists at Jeep chopped the convertibl­e roof by 3.5" and removed the headrests from the seats, safety last not first, and we’re ok with that. It looks that good.

Which finally brings us to the front. You’ll probably recognize the elements of the Gladiator front bumper, which now sports some additional Rigid lights to back up the new HID headlights.

Reminiscen­t of Kenny Hauk’s creative genius, a ‘repurposed vintage 8-71 supercharg­er now serves to encase the transmissi­on and transfer case shifters’. From the full carbon fibre front grill to the brushed metal-finished body, bed and tailgate, this is one sexy truck - we wouldn’t blame you for putting another kind of bed in the garage.

Jeep J6

If the first three wowed you, you may snooze through this one - unless you can imagine it in your driveway, which isn’t hard. There isn’t anything wrong with the J6. It is, and looks like, a great little off-road two door truck, with a 2" lift to fit the 37" tires, stubby front bumper with stinger, extra LED’s, winch, and tube sliders.

However, Gladiator aficionado­s will notice right away that this is either a seriously modified concept Glad (someone pulled out Sawzall and went to work) or it’s not a Gladiator, and in fact it’s not. The J6 is a modified two door JL Rubicon - altered to have a 6’ bed (compared to the Glad’s 5’). It is 201 inches long (Glad = 218") and the wheelbase is a stock JL 118.4" (shorter by 19.4").

Many automotive writers have reported this incorrectl­y, mistaking the J6 for a modified Gladiator, as it is a pick-up and Jeep threw a Gladiator hood over the engine.

As unassuming as it is, what a great trail rig. Under the hood is the stock 3.6L Pentastar with an upgraded cold air intake. The spare sits on a prototype tire carrier behind a custom roll bar in the bed.

Will FCA put this two-door pick-up concept into the line-up in future? Not likely, unless the Gladiator blows the doors off sales projection­s, beating out strong competitio­n from Toyota, Chevy, Nissan and Ford. It just won’t happen, although I’d be the ecstatic if I were wrong. For now, let’s show the J6 concept a lot of love.

Jeep JT Scrambler

If you haven’t figured it out yet, we are suckers for nostalgia. Not ‘Gone with the Wind’ or ‘Funny Girl’ movie nostalgia, but ‘Wow, I’d like to get my hands on an old Jeep but I don’t want to drive it everyday’ nostalgia. Is that even a thing?

With a colour palette from the original CJ Scrambler, this concept is all brand-new Gladiator Rubicon. The best of both worlds - just like us, we look old but drive like new…

As in many of the concepts already discussed, the drivetrain is stock Glad Rubicon with the addition of a Mopar cold air intake and in this case also a cat-back exhaust. In keeping with the ‘You can build one too’ theme using Mopar/Jeep Performanc­e Parts, there are a set of four five-inch LED lights on the sport/roll bar with two more LED’s on the A-pillars. On the brush guard are a pair of seven-inch LED lights. Down below, the JT Scrambler has JPP 17" wheels, a 2" lift, and non-slip grip rock sliders.

The roll bar is custom, runs the length of the bed, and has some functional­ity built in with the addition of eight tie-downs (four per side) and diffused LED task lights up high to illuminate the bed.

Another helping of nostalgia gone 2020 is in the interior, as the Scrambler colour theme is applied to the Katzkin Amaretto Brown leather seats bordered in orange thread.

There’s no question this truck will turn heads any- and everywhere it goes.

Jeep Gladiator Gravity

Gravity is the enemy, always dragging us down, but this version actually feels quite uplifting. Except the colour - but maybe that’s just us. Uplifting because this ‘rock-climber-themed concept’ exploits what makes the Gladiator the most unique pick-up on the market today - open air. Best of all, the modificati­ons are all bolt-on aftermarke­t parts from Mopar/JPP, which means if you like the look, you can build one in your garage, using your own favourite brands.

How to make your own Gravity

From the bottom up, toss a 2" lift kit underneath to hold 35" mud terrain tires on 17" rims and add some protection with heavy-duty rock sliders. Up front, slip in a satin black grille, a couple seven inch LED’s on the bumper and five-inch on the A-pillars. Out back, get a sliding drawer system to hold your s**t, and mount a cargo carrying basket on bed rails.

Most importantl­y, get the open air flowing through your curly locks (or in our case, balding stubble) by climbing in using aftermarke­t grab handles, adding a set of tube doors, and a mesh sunscreen to keep the bald spots from frying to the same fiery colour as the Punk’n Metallic Orange you see here.

You can leave the engine/powertrain stock but you should be able to squeeze out a bit more torque and horsepower with an upgraded cold-air intake and cat-back exhaust. With the dirty work done, get some new embroidere­d leather seats and all-weather floor mats.

Thus endeth another EJS Concept reveal, which Jeep has shamelessl­y used to promote the new Gladiator. And I, for one, am quite happy with it.

 ??  ??
 ??  ?? Jeep Wayout
Jeep Wayout
 ??  ?? Jeep Flatbill
Jeep Flatbill
 ??  ?? Jeep Wayout
Jeep Wayout
 ??  ?? Jeep Five-Quarter
Jeep Five-Quarter
 ??  ?? Jeep Flatbill
Jeep Flatbill
 ??  ?? Jeep J6
Jeep J6
 ??  ?? Jeep Five-Quarter
Jeep Five-Quarter
 ??  ??
 ??  ?? Jeep Gladiator Gravity
Jeep Gladiator Gravity
 ??  ?? Jeep JT Scrambler
Jeep JT Scrambler

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