Building cars is serious business, but the concepts developed for the Moab Easter Safari prove Jeep knows how to have fun.
It’s a tradition: Every year, Jeep builds a handful of one-off models and concept cars and sends them to the Easter Safari in Moab, Utah. This year’s batch pays homage to one of the company’s most important models, while also giving us an sneak peek look at one of its most anticipated upcoming cars.
The Grand One concept was built to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the original, ZJ-generation Grand Cherokee. Jeep started the project by buying a 1993 model found on Craigslist in Pennsylvania with 100,000 miles on the clock, according to Motor1. The SUV received 18-inch lace-style wheels wrapped by Mud-Terrain tires, a custom body kit that includes fender flares and side skirts, a 2-inch suspension lift, and a coat of metallic light blue paint.
Inside, the headliner is upholstered with plaid flannel, and the floors are coated with a protective bed liner-type material. Jeep hasn’t made any mechanical modifications, so the Grand One carries on with a 5.2-liter V8 engine and a four-speed manual transmission — it’s a tribute to the 1990s, after all, and when the ZJ made its debut only bicycles and semi trucks had 10 speeds.
The Safari, Quicksand, Switchback, and Luminator concepts are all variants of the Wrangler. The Quicksand is unquestionably the wildest of them all — it’s essentially a Wrangler turned into a classic, tire-shredding hot rod with a powerful V8 engine and gasser-style headers. It’s far from a production model, but its front grille is very close to the one we’ll see on the brand-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler expected to debut before the end of the year. The round headlights are slightly recessed into the outer slots, a styling cue last seen on the CJ-7, and the turn signals are no longer integrated into the bottom part of the grille.
Named Trailpass, the last concept is based on the new, second-generation Compass crossover. The modifications are minor; it’s unquestionably the most down-to-earth off-roader of the lot. It receives a 1.5-inch suspension lift, 18-inch tires, a roof basket, and rock rails that protect the rocker panels. It’s equipped with a fully stock 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that shifts through a nine-speed automatic transmission.
Like what you see? Head out to the 51st annual Moab Easter Jeep Safari taking place in southern Utah from April 8 to the 16 to check out all of these concepts in action.