Jeep Unveils New Batch of Moparized Vehicle at 2011 Moab Easter Jeep Safari
The Jeep and Dodge brands have long touted the EJS event as an important learning experience for the company.
“The annual Moab Easter Jeep Safari provides us a perfect opportunity to interact with our most loyal fans in a true Jeep setting,” said Mike Manley, President and CEO – Jeep Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. “We are able to demonstrate and test new potential Jeep production and customization ideas at our away-from-home proving ground, while getting instant feedback from our customers.”
Mopar, Jeep and Dodge invited members of the media to check out its newest creations using Mopar parts. Here’s what the team brought to this year’s Easter Jeep Safari.
Jeep Wrangler Renegade
The Jeep Wrangler Renegade is a powerhouse. This six-speed two-seater Wrangler boasts an all-new 475 horsepower, 6.4-liter HEMI from the Chrysler SRT (Street and Racing Technology) engineering team. It’s a play off the 1972 Jeep Renegade that was offered with a V-8. This new version of the Renegade features Dynatrac-prepped ProRock 44 front axle and ProRock 60 rear axle, both of which are equipped with ARB air lockers and 4.10 gears.
The 2011 Renegade is equipped with 35-inch Mickey Thompson Baja Claw radials that are mounted on AEV Pintler wheels. It also features a AEV/Nth Degree 4-inch suspension lift. Mopar also added some additional features such as a heat dissipating hood and a new winch-mount front bumper, fuel door, sill guards, bikini top, rock rails, slush mats and a half-door kit. Warn provided its all-new 9.5 CTi series winch, while AEV finished off the Renegade with their rear bumper/spare tire carrier combo. Mopar also noted that the the interior was treated to a Katzkin seat trim kit sourced from the Mopar catalog and the exterior was finished in a black and gold paint scheme that recalls the early CJ5 Renegade model.
Whereas the Renegade is an awesome HEMI beast, the Pork Chop’s focus was to increase the Wrangler’s performance through weight reduction. This vehicle started with a 2011 Jeep Wrangler Sport, and Mopar began losing weight by dropping the doors, top, tailgate, bumpers, carpet and sway bars. To further the Wrangler’s diet, body modifications began with removing the rear tailgate hinges and latches and creating a custom surround.
Mopar modified the inner fender panels and the taillamps are relocated closer together. A custom roll cage was crafted and the windshield height was reduced two inches. Hanson Bumpers provided a set of unique aluminum bumpers and QMC contributed a prototype aluminum/carbon fiber hood that is held in place with Drake aluminum hood latches. To improve performance Mopar added an aluminum cold-air intake kit, and it also added lightweight fender-flares, slush mats and mirror re-location brackets. Gale Banks added a unique set of long tube headers and dual-exhaust with an integrated H-pipe to replace the stock system. Further weight savings was recognized courtesy of a Gen-Right-fabricated, prototype rear-mounted 20-gallon fuel tank and aluminum skid plate.
For even more weight reduction, a smaller evaporation canister for the emissions system was borrowed from a 2012 Fiat 500. Due to the massive weight savings the suspension actually lifted notable, so Mopar simply added Bilstein 2-inch shocks with reservoirs while TeraFlex air bumpstops are used at each corner. Mopar then addded Mickey Thompson 35-inch Baja Claw radials that are mounted on lightweight 17x8 E-T Vintage V wheels. Dynatrac Axles designed lightweight ProRock 44 front & rear axles fitted with 4.88 gears, ARB air lockers and prototype aluminum differential covers. The axles are located with unique aluminum control arms provided by Full Traction.
The result is an impressive weight savings of more than 850 lbs., and the ride is a fun and agile Jeep. This Wrangler is not so much a hard-core rock crawler is it is a playful Jeep on sand dunes. The performance is impressive not so much because of what is added, but because of what Mopar was able to remove.
Jeep Compass Canyon
Although the Compass may not be most Jeeper’s favorite vehicle, it certainly can be a fun off-road Jeep, and Mopar set out to prove this with its first buildup with the Compass Canyon. The vehicle uses the base platform of a 2011 Compass equipped with Freedom Drive II drivetrain. A 2-1/8-inch lift kit from Rocky Road Suspension is then added, while traction is provided by the Mickey Thompson Baja ATZ 225/75-R16 tires with 16-inch alloy wheels from a Jeep Liberty.
The team then removed the front and rear sway bars to gain additional wheel articulation, while an extensive set of skid bars and plates were installed to protect the underside of the vehicle. Mopar then added parts from its catalog, including a cold-air induction kit, cat-back exhaust system, slush mats and a sport pedal trim kit. Although the Compass wasn’t the most powerful vehicle of the six that Mopar introduced, it was certainly one of the most fun to drive. It took careful planning and throttle control to tackle that larger sand hills since power wouldn’t save you, yet it was still capable of climbing rocky trails with confidence. It also looks like smaller souped-up Jeep Grand Cherokee, which gains points in the looks department.
Jeep Cherokee Overland
The Jeep Cherokee Overland utilizes a built-for-export 2011 Jeep Cherokee (Jeep Liberty in the U.S.) equipped with a 2.8-liter CRD 4-cylinder turbo diesel and Selec-Trac II 4x4 system. To increase off-road capability an ARB 3-inch suspension lift and Old Man Emu shocks are employed, while the Overland is equipped with Mickey Thompson 265/75-R16 MTZ tires mounted on classic-looking steel wheels. Traction is increased with the addition of an ARB air locker in the rear differential and on-board air compressor.
ARB also contributed its steel roof rack, awning, compact refrigerator and prototype rock rails to set the Overland’s mood. As for Mopar, it provided a host of underbody protection including skid plates for the front suspension, transmission and transfer case. Additional items from the Mopar catalog include front and rear tow hooks, slush mats, cargo tray liner, sill guards and sport pedal kit.
To set off the look and feel of the Overland, the Mopar team had it painted in an updated version of the of the classic zebra safari pattern.
Jeep Wrangler JK-8 Independence
Taking cues from the popular Jeep Scrambler CJ-8 from the 1980’s, the Mopar Nukizer 715 introduced at last year’s Easter Jeep Safair and even the J-8 military Jeep, Mopar has designed a do-it-yourself kit that will convert a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited into a pickup truck called the JK-8 Independence Kit. Although pricing is unavailable at present (because we know some Wrangler owners are drooling over the thought), we are told it will be very reasonably priced.
The kit will remove the rear seats and provide a bed with a length of 50 inches and a width between wheel wells oif 44 inches. Mopar also created body panels to cover the second-row entrance and removed all of the interior parts behind the front seats to provide a two-seater storage room similar to an extra-cab pickup truck.
The JK-8 drivetrain is fitted with a Mopar/Dynatrac ProRock 44 front axle and stock Dana 44 rear axle, both spun with 4.88 gears. Linking the axles to the frame is a 4.5-inch long-arm suspension kit and General Tire’s Grabber provides traction for the JK-8. Mopar’s off-road bumpers for the front and rear were utilized along with a new fuel door and slush mats.
For a little more on the JK-8 Independence, check this out.
Jeep Wrangler Blue Crush
Inspired by the King of the Hammers race in Johnson Valley, California, the Jeep Wrangler Blue Crush combines high-speed off-road racing and rock-crawling capability. At the core is a Mopar 426 cubic-inch HEMI with 540 horsepower. The all-aluminum V-8 is paired with a 545RFE performance transmission and a gear-drive transfercase.
To help the suspension keep up with the engine, Mopar added a high-speed, performance off-road suspension system with internal bypass shocks, front stabilizer bar and full hydro-steering. Gigantic 39-inch tires are turned with the help of custom driveshafts. The Wrangler Blue Crush also features a baja-style full cage, race seats, fuel cell and short aluminum bumpers.
Mopar Ram Runner
The Mopar Ram Runner is really the brainchild of Mopar engineers and off-road desert racer Ken Kroeker, who races full-sized Dodges in a number of major off-road series. The Ram Runner features a HEMI 5.7-liter V-8 for power, but the real story revolves around the suspension and reinforcement. Steel front fenders and rear bed-sides are replaced with fiberglass layered in the Liquid Metal Mopar racing scheme, a concept inspired by Trophy-Trucks.
Overall, the kit will include a great number of parts designed to really push the limits of the Dodge Ram (and ultimately make it on the level with Ford’s Raptor). Included in the kit are these Mopar Peformance Parts: Pre-Runner Stage II Lift Kit, Off-Road Front Bumper, Off-Road Rear Tire Carrier, Off-Road Front Fenders, Off-Road Rear Fenders. The overall price of the kit is roughly $18,000. We were also informed that Ram and Mopar will sponsor the 2011 TORC short-course off-road racing series, and the official pace vehicle of TORC will be the Mopar Ram Runner.
For more information on Mopar’s products, visit http://www.mopar.com/.