We usually don't go to the Easter Jeep Jamboree in Moab, Utah, for one simple reason, it's a Jeep event. No offense to Jeep, it's not you, it's us. You do your thing, we do ours, no hard feelings. Though we've never been, we know it's somewhat of a tradition for Mopar to strut out some interesting Jeep concepts that usually have the following results: First, the public goes wild because the concepts are the work of true enthusiasts and it shows. Second, the public is disappointed because the concepts are never put into production. Mopar isn't the only auto company guilty of this, but they make it especially difficult because their vehicles are actually used in the field and not some autoshow body that is really just a shell. This year, three trucks were in attendance that made us think about making the trip next year.
We showed you the production PowerWagon at the Ram HD launch; it was a beast. This one is on a 120-inch wheelbase with a regular cab and a custom stepside bed. The Ram 1500's coil rear suspension was used for greater articulation, and a 4-inch suspension lift paves the way for 40-inch tires. Custom bumper and rock protection, combined with the short wheelbase and awesome approach and departure angles make it the PowerWagon of choice for tight, rocky trails.
The Mopar Ram Runner is a Baja-inspired racer sporting a prototype long-travel suspension that Mopar plans to offer later this year. With aggressively-flared fiberglass fenders and bedsides, the 35-inch tires have 14 inches of travel and are damped by 3-inch diameter Fox shocks. The front suspension uses chrome-moly lower control arms, billet aluminum upper arms with rebuildable high-angle ball joints, high-angle CV joints, and plunging, splined tool steel front axles to keep the front suspension turning despite the huge amount of travel.
The Jeep Nukizer 715 is a rebodied military-spec J8 that "pays homage to the beloved military-only Kaiser M-715 truck." With an AEV Brute bed originally intended for a TJ Wrangler, a carbon-fiber front clip, and a Bestop soft top fitted to the cut-down windshield, the Nukizer is the coolest Jeep since the Grand Cherokee SRT-8. The stretched wheelbase now houses Dynatrac Pro-Rock Dana 44 front and Dana 60 rear axles filled with ARB Airlocker differentials. The J8 donor vehicle's 2.8L turbodiesel powerplant was left intact, but was reprogrammed for more boost, practically a necessity because of the monster 38-inch tires. Wrangler rock rails and bumpers, along with a Warn winch are just a few of the upgrades that make this our favorite Jeep concept in recent memory.