Jeep has used its annual Easter Jeep Safari as a kind of retreat for its engineering team, allowing designers, product planners and executives to attend the Jeep-focused 4×4 club trail ride to get a close-up look at what Jeep buyers do to their vehicles. The weeklong event running March 19-27 is dominated by Wranglers, CJs and custom-modified beasts that take over the small town of Moab, Utah, which sits on the Colorado River near the stunning Arches National Park and Castle Valley.
During the last two decades, Jeep employees have begun to bring their own toys as if to prove to the hard-core faithful that they can be pretty creative too. In fact, this year Jeep will bring a few pickup truck variants that could possibly offer hints at what the next Jeep pickup will look like. Additionally, if you want to hear what a Hellcat engine looks and sounds like, check out this video. Here's an early look of what we'll see at the 50th anniversary of the Red Rock 4-Wheeler's Easter Jeep Safari.
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Jeep Comanche Concept
Based on the compact Jeep Renegade, the Comanche has 6 extra inches of wheelbase to accommodate a 5-foot bed, giving the concept the look of military and civilian Jeeps from the past. The beige exterior of the Comanche is complemented by a satin-black hood and soft-top cab, and is powered by a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder turbo-diesel and nine-speed automatic transmission. The Comanche also uses Jeep's exclusive Active Drive Lock within the transmission, which acts like a traditional low-range ratio when the terrain turns ugly. The concept rides on 16-inch painted wheels and 32-inch BF-Goodrich All-Terrain tires, and also includes a locking rear differential.
Jeep FC 150 Concept
Recalling the highly coveted late 1950s, early '60s unique-looking Forward Control Jeep pickups, this FC 150 concept is built on a modified 2005 Jeep Wrangler chassis with a Dana 44 front axle and Dana 60 rear. The original FC Jeep was called "forward control" because the cab and driver were literally over the front axle, which allowed it to accommodate a more functional, longer bed on a relatively short wheelbase. This concept is powered by the popular 4.0-liter straight-six used from the early '80s to the early 2000s, along with a three-speed automatic transmission.
Jeep Crew Chief 715
Although heavily dressed in military heritage clothing, the Crew Chief 715 could be the closest example of what might be Jeep's all-new pickup. Based on a current-generation Wrangler Unlimited frame and chassis (presumably lengthened at least 12 inches), and echoing the burly stance and design of the legendary Kaiser M715, this open-air concept uses 20-inch bead-lock wheels and military-style narrow-set 40-inch tires. Other capability-biased features include an on-board air compressor, off-road rock rails, front and rear winches, a 4-inch lift and two heavy-duty Dana 60 axles. And to keep the Crew Chief rooted in reality, it's powered by the latest version of the factory Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6 and five-speed transmission.
Cars.com photos by Aaron Bragman; manufacturer images