When Mark Allen, head of Jeep design, goes to Moab, he sometimes takes around 20 people with him who work in various areas of Jeep design. Lessons learned during these experiences have left an imprint on the brand.
"It started with the Wrangler. There's a ton of stuff that we learned from doing these exercises that we piled into the Wrangler, and thus the Gladiator. The way the roof works, the way the windshield works," Allen told Automotive News. "We learn a ton from doing this. It used to be that Mopar didn't have a lift kit for the Wrangler. Through this exercise, now they know exactly what people are after."
Jeep designed six concepts for 2019 edition of the Moab safari:
• The body-armored Wayout Gladiator concept is designed to bring comfort to the wilderness. The functional concept features a rooftop tent that holds two people. It also comes with a canopy that serves as cover while sitting outside. Allen demonstrated one of the many uses for the canopy last week, sitting underneath it in front of a faux campfire. The Wayout sits on 37-inch mud-terrain tires and is raised two inches with a lift kit.
•The Flatbill Gladiator concept is a nod to motocross culture. It's equipped to transport dirt bikes and is boosted with a four-inch lift kit. It rides on 40-inch tires, a first for the Gladiator. "It's a very cool truck, very loud, very obnoxious in some ways, but that's our people," Allen said during a walkaround.
•There's also a vintage Gladiator in the mix with the M-715 Five-Quarter. It's based on the 1968 M-715 military vehicle, but was reworked with improvements to the chassis and drivetrain. Jeep says the original front sheet metal was replaced with a full carbon-fiber front end. It's loaded with a 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcrate V-8 engine that generates more than 700 hp.
•The Jeep J6 concept is a two-seat pickup with a six-foot bed that is a foot longer than the Gladiator's bed. It's decked out with a Metallic Brilliant Blue paint that pays homage to the exteriors of the 1978 Jeep Honcho. A two-inch lift kit and 37-inch tires provide extra trail clearance.
• The JT Scrambler, based on a Gladiator Rubicon, has a vintage look with Punk'N Metallic Orange and Nacho-colored side stripes and a matching hood graphic. It sits on 37-inch tires with bronze wheels.
• The Jeep Gladiator Gravity is outfitted with around $8,000 worth of Mopar add-ons to increase capability and versatility. It has steel tube doors and extra cargo storage in the bed for rock-climbing gear.