Motoramic

Jeep revives Forward Control, Gladiator pickups in Easter concepts

Justin Hyde
Motoramic

Jeep Mighty FC Concept
Chevrolet doesn't take modern-day Impalas and rework them into updated Bel Airs. There's not much in common between a Ford Fusion and any Ford family sedan from 1960 through 1980. So if Jeep wants to mine its past for a pair of concepts that revive not just the look of '60s -era Gladiators but Forward Control pickups, we welcome the rare trip down the nostalgia trail -- especially if powered by a 470-hp Hemi V8.Built by Jeep to mark its annual Easter party near Moab, Utah, the two concepts were built from everyday Jeep Wranglers to highlight pieces of the Mopar parts catalogue for Jeep owners. The most striking is the Jeep Mighty FC, which revives the cabover look of early '60s Jeep trucks with a custom front-end and drop-down bed from the Wrangler pickup conversion kit. If you're not a Chrysler designer, the only pieces you can buy are the two Portal Axles, designed for heavy-duty work and height, which run $11,000 to $12,000. Each.

Jeep J-12 concept
A less radical transformation of the Wrangler pickup kit produces the J-12 Concept, which combines an upgraded suspension and eight-foot bed with a front end reminiscent of the first-generation Gladiator pickups. On the inside, Jeep has removed many of the Wrangler's comforts in favor of a dash and floorboard that can almost withstand a hose down, using truck-bed liner for flooring instead of carpets. It reminds everyone that once upon a time, Jeep made some of the most stylish small pickups in America. Why Jeep can't do that again remains one of Detroit's enduring mysteries.

Jeep also showed four other concepts for its parts business, including two Wranglers upgraded with a new Mopar kit that lets owners easily bolt in the 470-hp Hemi V8 in place of the standard Chrysler V-6 in models with a five-speed transmission; an update will let owners of the new 2012 model with a six-speed automatic in on the fun. Bully for them, but seems there could be room for combining all of these parts into something that could take all terrains and look fantastic doing so.

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