This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Annual Easter Jeep Safari, so what better time than now to take a look back at some of the craziest creations for the event?
For several years now, Jeep has brought numerous concepts to the annual event, not just to showcase the potential of its vehicles, but also to gauge public interest in possible special edition models. Thousands of off-road enthusiasts make the journey to Moab for the annual event that typically takes place right before Easter. For an entire week, enthusiasts take on the famous and challenging off-road trails in Utah, alongside some of these awesome concepts from Jeep.
Since 2002, more than 50 concept vehicles have been created for the Easter Jeep Safari, but here are AutoGuide.com‘s Top 5.
5. Jeep Wrangler Blue Crush – 2011 Easter Jeep Safari
Introduced at the 2011 Moab Easter Jeep Safari, the Jeep Wrangler Blue Crush is one of the more believable concepts, meaning an enthusiast could build it on their own with a bit of fabrication know-how or a fat wallet. The Blue Crush was inspired by the King of the Hammers race that takes place each year in the deserts of California and combines high-speed off-road racing with rock-crawling capability. Powering the Jeep Wrangler Blue Crush is a Mopar 426 cubic-inch HEMI engine with 540 horsepower paired with a 545RFE performance transmission and a gear-drive transfercase.
Rock-crawling is no easy task, so Mopar also added a high-speed, performance off-road suspension system featuring internal bypass shocks, a front stabilizer bar and full hydro-steering. Naturally, there are gigantic 39-inch tires. Featuring a baja-style full cage, race seats, fuel cell and short aluminum bumpers, this Wrangler is ready to crush rocks.
4. Jeep J-12 Concept – 2012 Easter Jeep Safari
Jeep started with a new 2012 Wranger Unlimited and built off Mopar’s JK-8 pickup conversion kit to create the J-12 concept for the 2012 Easter Jeep Safari. Extending the rear of the vehicle’s frame by 18 inches, the J-12 concept can have its spare tire relocated under the bed floor, allowing the cargo box a full six feet in length. The concept also received a custom hood and front fender set that was created as a tribute to the beloved Jeep Gladiator series trucks.
Helping it tackle Moab is a Mopar three-inch suspension lift kit and Teraflex sway bars that control ARB air-locker equipped Dynatrac D-44 and D-60 axle assemblies. On all four corners are classic 16-inch steel wheels mounted on 36-inch tires.
Similar to its exterior, the interior has been “dressed down” to have a basic truck theme. The carpet has been swapped out for rugged truck bed liner, while the bucket seats have been re-crafted into a modern interpretation of a bench seat featuring a whimsical plaid pattern.
3. Jeep Trailcat – 2016 Easter Jeep Safari
Making its debut this year is the Jeep Trailcat concept, powered by the American automaker’s beloved 6.2-liter HEMI Hellcat V8 engine. Paired to a six-speed manual transmission, the Trailcat boasts 707 hp and in order to accommodate the engine, designers had to stretch the wheelbase by 12 inches. The windshield has also been chopped two inches for a sleeker look. Helping give it a more menacing appearance is a power-dome vented hood, satin black grille and rock rails, while LED headlights and fog lights illuminate the path.
There are also steel front and rear bumpers, 17-inch beadlock wheels and 39.5-inch BFGoodrich Krawler T/A KX tires while the powertrain is supported by front and rear Dana 60 axles and Fox shocks to help navigate rocky terrain.
2. Jeep Mighty FC Concept – 2012 Easter Jeep Safari
Creating a modern version of the classic Jeep Forward Control that was built from 1956 to 1965 is the Mighty FC concept introduced at the 2012 Easter Jeep Safari. Starting with a 2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, the design team repositioned the cabin over and ahead of the front axle, lengthened the wheelbase and incorporated a custom built drop-side cargo box. The roof comes from the Mopar JK-8 conversion kit, while the front clip has been custom designed.
To give it more off-road capability, the team added Mopar’s Portal Axle set that offer the greatest amount of ground clearance without requiring excessive suspension lift. Those axles are controlled with King coilover assemblies along with Teraflex control arms and track bars. Mounted on all four corners are massive 40-inch tires paired to Hutchinson 17-inch beadlock wheels.
1. Jeep Chief – 2015 Easter Jeep Safari
Last but not least is the retro-styled Jeep Chief. Paying tribute to the classic 1970s era full-size Jeep Cherokee, the Wrangler-based concept puts off a west coast surfer lifestyle feeling and gives a nice nod to nostalgic beach rides. The exterior has a vintage Ocean Blue shade contrasted by white paint and a French Bread roof. Up front is a custom modified razor grille that the original Wagoneer made famous. Of course, there are also chrome front and rear bumpers, while the wheel selection is on point with classic, 17-inch slotted mag rollers on all four corners.
The inside is even better with a Hawaiian-themed interior complete with Jeep’s “Surfer” pink, blue and white flowered cloth and leather-trimmed seats. The cabin also has vintage-style surf stickers on the center console and door handles, as well as a Rosewood front-passenger grab handle and tiki-style shifter handle.
As cool as it looks, there’s plenty of function, too. The Jeep Chief had its doors and windshield chopped two inches and received a two-inch lift kit with Fox shocks and front and rear Dana 44 axles with lockers. The 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine breathes a bit better thanks to a cold air intake. Best of all? This thing has a six-speed manual transmission.