FCA told media Friday that it is pulling out of the 2020 Easter Jeep Safari, a beloved annual off-roading event in Moab, Utah, that takes place over nine days and ends Easter Sunday. Jeep has been a staple participant throughout the years, using it to showcase wild and much-beloved concept vehicles.
The news isn’t all bad. Autoblog reached out to FCA to ask whether we’ll see this year’s concepts elsewhere, and while a Jeep spokesperson reassured us that the concepts will still get their moment in the spotlight, they haven’t quite yet figured out exactly when or where.
Also, it should be noted that even though Jeep won’t officially be participating, the Easter Jeep Safari itself will go on as planned. In fact, the city council of the tourism-driven town of Moab voted Wednesday to defeat a measure that would have put restrictions on large gatherings, The Salt Lake Tribute reported.
For the time being, at least, the Safari is a go.
But for those of us who won’t participate in the event itself, the concepts are an annual highlight. When we heard this news, we couldn’t help but go back and look at some of our favorite Safari concepts from previous years. Join us, if you like, as we take a little walk down memory lane.
For our first pick, we have to go all the way back to 2015. We loved it then, and we love it now.
And why not? The Ocean Blue tribute to the classic Cherokee grabbed everyone’s attention with the first teaser images released weeks before the event. The vintage looks and modern underpinnings came together just about perfectly. Of all of the Safari concepts we’ve seen over the years, this is one of the select few we’d kill to have in our own driveways.
Jeep JT Scrambler
The JT Scrambler showed up last year at the height of Jeep pickup fever. Capitalizing on the buzz generated by the Gladiator, the JT Scrambler borrowed another iconic Jeep truck nameplate and rebooted the concept on a modern platform.
Jeep didn’t rule out something like this for production one day, but we’re skeptical the company is in a hurry to offer any more pickup variants. That doesn’t make it any less cool in our eyes.
Jeep Wagoneer Roadtrip
If you’re sensing a bit of a nostalgia theme, you’re not wrong. Like the Chief above, the Wagoneer Roadtrip concept tugged at our retro-loving heartstrings. The Wagoneer Roadtrip concept debuted at the 2018 Moab Easter Jeep Safari, just as rumors of a brand-new Wagoneer had start circulating widely.
A fully boxed frame is stretched an additional five inches between the wheels, and fitted with Dana 44 front and rear lockers held up with four-link suspension bits and coilover springs. A corresponding five-inch wheelbase stretch of the 1965 Jeep Wagoneer’s bodywork offers up greater interior space while still leaving room for a custom cooler fashioned from period-correct luggage. A set of 17-inch steel wheels with 33-inch BFG Mud-Terrain tires finishes off the look.
Another 2019 hit, the J6 also sparked controversy. With this concept, Jeep made the critical error of teasing a product that many fans claim to want, but Jeep doesn’t seem keen to build: a single-cab Jeep pickup. Jeep actually used a Wrangler Unlimited chassis for the concept you’re looking at here, not the longer Gladiator. Still, with one less row of seats, Jeep was able to give it a 6-foot bed, which is considerably more useful than the Gladiator’s 5-foot bed.
The J6 is in reference to the original J Series Jeep pickups, and this particular truck is meant to remind us of the 1978 Honcho that came in Brilliant Blue. Jeep used the stock 3.6-liter V6 to power this truck, but added a bunch of other parts to help on the trail. A 2-inch lift kit, 37-inch tires and 17-inch beadlock wheels should help out in Moab — Jeep says it’s considering making the new wheels (about 4 pounds lighter than the wheels it comes with now) a factory option. Add-ons like the front stinger bar, steel tubing in the bed and 10 LED lights are all still conceptual. It’s wonderful that Jeep has made this 2-door truck, even if it’s going to remain forbidden fruit.
This Rubicon-based concept goes in a completely different direction. Visually stunning, this Jeepster has a Firecracker Red body and Bright White hardtop, Bright White fender flares (quite the paint names) and a tri-color Jeepster badge. It’s chopped two inches and has a custom windshield that’s raked back 2.5 inches. It rides on a two-inch lift kit and 37-inch BF Goodrich KO2 tires and 17-inch wheels. The interior has a roll cage, black leather seats and the spare tire carrier. In back are custom storage packs for food, gear and tools.
It was another vintage name revival; “Jeepster” is a nod to the Willys-Overland days. This one was a little less overt, though, and it stood out for that very reason.
Of all the wild creations Jeep and Mopar built for last year’s Safari, the one called the Five-Quarter is the best of the bunch. This truck started out life as a 1968 M-715, and just about everything you see here is 100% custom.
Just in case the vintage underpinnings and wild custom fabrication work aren’t enough to get you jazzed up, the Five-Quarter concept was powered by a modified 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcat crate motor (AKA a “Hellcrate”) making more than 700 horses. It also utilized a vintage 8-71 supercharger to house the transmission (a 3-speed auto) and transfer case shifters.