10 coolest Jeep concepts that never made it into production
From their debut in the middle of World War II, Jeeps have always been some of the toughest and most reliable all-terrain vehicles on the planet. The company’s lineup today is a far cry from what anyone might have imagined in the 1940s, but the same philosophy of off-road versatility persists in all of their models. To carve out a place for itself in the modern market, Jeep has had to constantly innovate to face long-standing rivals and emerging competition. Showing these innovations and ideas required building dozens of concept cars, some crazier than others.
Of course, many of these concepts never made it into production, either because they weren’t meant to be mass produced or because they weren’t financially viable. This means that many amazing concepts over the years have simply been recorded in the archives, leaving the unique ideas and designs they carried fade into obscurity. Diving through Jeep’s back catalog will have you discovering plenty of gems, but these ten, in particular, deserve more attention than they get. Whether it’s an all-terrain sports car or a convertible Cherokee, Jeep never fails to surprise enthusiasts with their incredible concept vehicles.
Starting things off with a relatively recent addition to Jeep’s concept catalog, the Sandstorm is a Wrangler that’s been tweaked and then some. Unveiled in 2018, it was built to withstand the harsh conditions of racing in the Baja Desert, while still being comfortable enough to return home afterwards.
It’s a very similar philosophy to the SCG Boot, except the Boot looks like a deranged spider with wheels while the Sandstorm just looks like … well, a Jeep. Most of the modifications used on the Sandstorm are available on the aftermarket, so it would theoretically be possible to make a clone out of it with enough money and effort. However, it doesn’t look like Jeep will be offering a Wrangler like this from the factory anytime soon.
The first of several retro-modern concepts featured here, the Chief takes a classic design and places it on a modern platform. It caused a stir when it was released in 2015, but like every other nostalgic Jeep concept so far, there are no plans to make a production version.
The chef uses the basics of a JK Wrangler, with apparently very little modification needed to accommodate this new body. The car is fully functional and has been driven by Car and driver, who noted that the Chief had been used so well as a press vehicle that some of the custom trims were starting to come off. Well, better to take advantage of it than to just have it sit and look good.
Jeep seems to have a penchant for naming concepts after natural hazards, as the Quicksand Concept is a Wrangler that’s also a hot rod. Unlike the equally dangerous Sandstorm concept, the Quicksand is not specifically designed for desert racing. But, with beefy BFGoodrich tires and locking differentials, it will still be able to conquer almost any terrain.
It is powered by a 6.4L V8 developing 485 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque. It was brought to Easter Jeep Safari 2017, an annual gathering of brand aficionados to which Jeep has showcased a ton of cool concepts in recent years.
Today, the Jeep Freedom nameplate is used for models that pay homage to the service of members of the United States Army, but by 1990 it was used for an entirely different concept. The 1990 Freedom takes a Cherokee and cuts its roof, turning it into a four-door all-terrain convertible.
A huge cross brace was fitted to prevent roll, but other than that the Freedom was a fully open cab Jeep. It still retained all of the standard Cherokee internals, so it wouldn’t have been too difficult for the company to bring the Freedom into production. The extent of the real-world demand for such a niche vehicle is another matter, and that’s probably why Freedom has remained a unique concept.
XJ-002 racing car
The words “Jeep” and “sports car” are rarely seen in the same sentence, and yet in 1970 the New York Auto Show saw a concept that was just that. Built on the chassis of a Jeepster Commando, the Bolide XJ-002 radically redesigned what a Jeep might look like, taking a sports coupe bodywork and layering it on top of an off-road-ready frame.
Built by American engineer Dann Deaver and presented by Jeep at the show, the XJ-002 was completely unlike anything the company had done before. It garnered considerable public attention, but Jeep had no interest in making a production version and the concept was eventually sold. It has been lost for decades, but has finally been found by a determined collector on a farm in West Virginia and is in the process of being restored to its original condition.
M-715 five quarters
Another of Jeep’s coolest Easter safari concepts is the M-715 Five-Quarter, a modern homage to the classic 60s M715. This 2019 concept is powered by a 6.2L Hellcat V8 and is equipped 40-inch tires for ultimate off-road capability.
The custom fabrication work was done using a mixture of aluminum and carbon fiber, which keeps the weight of the truck to a minimum. Like most other Jeep concepts, the Five-Quarter is fully functional and was presented at Moab in 2019, but unfortunately there is no indication that the brand is considering putting something like this into production.
The last danger-themed concept on this list is the hurricane, and it’s arguably the craziest of all. It sports not one but two Hemi V8 engines, each producing 335 horsepower, for a total of 670 horsepower and 740 lb-ft of torque. It also has a four-wheel steering system that allows the Hurricane to “crab”.
It debuted in 2005 at the Detroit Auto Show, but since then Jeep has never implemented this crabbing feature in any of its production vehicles. GM, however, took the idea for itself and used it in the upcoming Hummer EV, slated for launch in 2022.
The idea of a Jeep hot rod like the Quicksand isn’t new, as the company has been playing with the idea for decades. One of their first attempts was the 1998 Jeepster Concept. A V8-powered all-terrain sports car, the Jeepster was a “performance crossover” long before the term even existed.
It was ahead of its time in other ways as well, with a sleek body that was vastly different from the production Jeeps of the day. It was too radical for Jeep to consider making a mainstream version, but if they had, they would undoubtedly have a future classic in their hands.
An advanced cabin monster Jeep seems like a crazy idea, and the Mighty FC Concept certainly lives up to expectations. Jeep built a fully functional prototype in 2013 and there were rumors at the time that the company might be looking to put a similar vehicle into production.
However, it has since been pointed out that Mighty FC would never have been able to meet modern crash test standards, nor would it be financially viable as anything other than a curious novelty. Practicalities aside, it’s such a shame that there is no way to drive one on the road, because it just looks amazing.
The bright green Trailcat takes all of Jeep’s off-road know-how and cranks things up to 11. It’s a Wrangler monster with a Hellcat engine stuffed inside, with power fed by a six-way manual transmission. speeds. It’s gloriously silly, and it would probably be devilishly difficult to keep the 707 horsepower under control on the road.
It’s hard to imagine a car fan who would turn down the opportunity to drive this crazy Jeep, although there is unfortunately only one Trailcat and it is now safely locked in a storage location. secure somewhere. It took the 2016 Easter Safari tour and made appearances at a few other auto shows, but now it looks like the monster has been caged and there are no plans to make more anytime soon. .
Concept cars intrigue us with their quirky ideas and crisp designs, but these concepts are by far the craziest we have seen from automakers.
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