Jeep nods to the past with its latest Easter Safari concepts

The 2024 Easter Jeep Safari has brought with it four new off-roading concepts from the US marque – just don’t expect them to reach production.

For the 58th annual Easter Jeep Safari, the 4×4 brand brought four new concept vehicles to Moab, Utah, each throwing back to the brand’s past – both distant and recent.

Jeep’s most ‘retro-inspired’ concept is the Wrangler 4xe Willys Dispatcher, inspired by the post-World War II civilian Jeeps but powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol plug-in hybrid powertrain.

While its ‘Element 115 Green’ paint job is striking, subtle changes to the front bumper have given the Wrangler a classic look – complete with the mechanical-appearance winch, white steel wheels (shod in narrow 36-inch tyres), flat wheel arches and ‘Willys’ bonnet lettering. 

In the cabin, there’s distressed saddle leather with houndstooth cloth inserts, while the front seats are now sans headrests. A ‘bikini’ top means the Wrangler’s occupants can remain protected from the elements when the weather turns.

Its off-road ability isn’t compromised by the plug-in hybrid drivetrain, with Dana 50 Advantech front and rear axles with 4.70 gears helping to put its 280kW and 637Nm outputs to the ground.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Jeep Vacationeer Concept is the most modern of the four vehicles, turning the Wagoneer into a late-20th century throwback machine.

Its Spearminted exterior paintwork is teamed with textured wood grain graphics, a white roof and door mirrors, plus white Method beadlock wheels – measuring 18 inches in diameter, and wrapped in 35-inch BFGoodrich mud-terrain tyres – which hark back to the 1970s and 1980s.

The wheels and tyres provide a natural lift of 1.5 inches (380mm), while the Wagoneer’s undercarriage has gained skid plates at the front and rear for extra protection, as well as larger wheel openings and wheel arch extensions for a tougher look.

Fitted to its roof is a custom carbon fibre RedTail Overland Skyloft, which can fold up to provide climate-controlled sleeping quarters for two – accessible through the SUV’s cabin which has forgone its second- and third-row seats.

At the front of the cabin, the seats incorporate Tupelo leather and custom fabric with classic Jeep models depicted, while there’s also a generous amount of woodgrain trim.

Under the bonnet is the twin-turbo, 3.0-litre six-cylinder Hurricane petrol engine, boasting 380kW and 678Nm – delivered to all four wheels.

Jeep also honoured the outgoing Hemi V8 engine with the Low Down Concept, which also paid tribute to the Lower 40 concept which broke cover 15 years ago.

Like the Lower 40, the Low Down concept is based on a Wrangler with V8 power, but now it’s saying goodbye rather than hello to the bent-eight powerplant.

The V8-powered Jeep Wrangler is going out of production, and will be sent off with the Rubicon 392 Final Edition in the US – with the Low Down coming as the ultimate version of the Hemi 4×4.

The 6.4-litre Hemi V8 continues to produce 354kW and is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, but now a set of 42-inch BFGoodrich Krawler mud-terrain tyres and Dana 60 axles with 5.38 gears put its power to the ground.

Though it boasts more ground clearance than the standard Wrangler Rubicon, this is down to the tyres alone, with no suspension changes made.

Its Poison Apple Red finish and see-through bonnet were inspired by Ferrari and Lancia race cars of the 1960s and 1970s, as were the custom black leather seats with cloth inserts and deleted infotainment system.

Finally, the Gladiator Rubicon High Top Concept features as the sole pickup show car, equipped with 40-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain K03 tyres on 18-inch KMC wheel, Dana 60 front and rear axles with matching 5.38:1 gears and AccuAir air suspension.

There’s also a modified American Expedition Vehicles front bumper with a Warn winch, as well as rock rail power steps and a decked rear storage system with dual sliding drawers.

Quilted tan and black Alea leather seats are among the minimal changes to the Gladiator’s interior.

Jeep hasn’t announced plans to put any of its concepts into mass production, though a number of parts used across the four vehicles are available through its aftermarket parts division in the US.

MORE: Everything Jeep

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