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Jeep's new tricked out Wranglers

2009-10-16 11:30

keen to increase your wrangler rubicon’s ground clearance without a suspension kit? Just fit 1m tall tyres like mopar did with this lower forty concept.

America’s favourite aftermarket accessories show, SEMA, is set to feature some pretty trick Jeep Wranglers when it opens in three weeks time.

Although the American car industry has been through a particularly traumatic restructuring this year, the rejuvenated (with Fiat and US government money) Chrysler brand's Jeep division is dead keen to showcase two rather fetching conceptual 4x4s.

Both the 4x4 concept cars are built around the Wrangler platform, one on the traditional short-wheel base two-door configuration and the other on the extended wheelbase Rubicon Unlimited four-door wagon chassis.

Overland - obviously

The Unlimited concept is rather unimaginatively called the Overland.

It looks like the sort of 4x4 wagon you would have customised for a Botswana overland trip if you had access to the Mopar accessories parts bin.

Mopar is Chrysler’s parts and accessories division, and has really gone to town with the Overland conversion.

This is what Toyota should have made the Cruiser 70 Wagon look like...

Some of the more obvious 4x4 expedition embellishments are the Warn winch, deep wading snorkel kit, Eskom embarrassing Mopar/Daystar combination driving lights and a neat ARB roof-top tent.

Rubicon Unlimited Overland’s cabin is significantly weatherproofed with Mopar water resistant seat trim and slush mats, whilst the rear bench seat (the reason for actually buying an Unlimited) is binned in favour of a flat, rubberised, utility floor.

In terms of wheel travel and axle articulation Overland benefits from a 76mm suspension lift (courtesy of an AEV Nth Degree kit) and sports a full traction rear sway bar.

Rolling in the Overland’s wheelarches are 17-inch steel (not alloy, thankfully) wheels shod with 890mm tall tyres. We think road noise might be an issue…

Glorious white steel wheels look awfully proper on the Overland.

Mini monster truck?

Jeep’s other SEMA show concept offering is the Wrangler Lower Forty – which is a madly overtyred two-door Rubicon.

Rolling ridiculously oversized 1m tall tyres on completely stock Wrangler Rubicon suspension is some achievement.

The only modifications done to accommodate those huge tyres were by moving the fender flares 100mm higher and extending those 25mm in terms of width.

When you have to overcome the inertia of 1m tall tyres and their rolling resistance you need big power. To this end Wrangler Lower Forty benefits from Mopar’s 5.7l HEMI V8 engine, driving through a Getrag 238-series six-speed manual transmission.

Although the 20-inch alloy wheels are geared more towards sand-blasting than rock-crawling, this Lower Forty look the business. With the exposed tubular roll-cage we'd recommend helmets off-road...

The 5.7l Hemi V8’s pushrod actuated two-valve per cylinder valve-gear might appear antiquated, but the Lower Forty should have around 270kW of power and 530Nm of peak rotational force available.

Those numbers should be quite sufficient - ensuring Lower Forty can move those massive tyres about with alacrity.

Wrangler Forty’s Tonka toy styling appeal is further bolstered by a 75mm roofline chop and windscreen 10-degrees more rakish than standard.

The 5.7l V8 is covered by a one-piece carbon-fibre bonnet which harks back to Jeep CJ-series styling cues, featuring a pronounced power dome.

A rear drop-down tailgate is stamped with the Jeep logo, to further play on the heritage of Jeep’s short-wheel base 4x4s.

One can debate the production merits of these Wrangler concepts, yet some of the trinkets could possibly soon be used on production models as options.

Besides, both the Wrangler concepts are awfully fun to look at - especially the Lower Forty, though we'd suggest not making V8 engine sounds at your desk when studying the images...

The SEMA show opens its doors in Las Vegas during the first weekend of November.


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