Military Maneuvers: We Drive Mopar's Jeep Nukizer 715 In Moab

Military Maneuvers: We Drive Mopar's Jeep Nukizer 715 In Moab
Words and photos by Dan Sanchez for PickupTrucks.com

Chrysler Group’s Mopar team has the task of customizing and creating project vehicles that are a hit with enthusiasts. The Jeep Nukizer 715 is one of the concepts unveiled at the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah, that made a big impression on hard-core off-road enthusiasts and Jeep truck aficionados.

The Nukizer 715 is built on the Jeep J8 four-door military platform, a vehicle built for military and civilian government applications in Egypt. It’s a great platform to start with, but considering Chrysler’s knack for making old vehicle designs cool again, the J8 is the perfect vehicle to combine the DNA from the original Jeep Kaiser M-715 military vehicle and Jeep Gladiator, both created in the mid-1960s.

Because the original Kaiser had a pickup bed, the Mopar team thought an aftermarket AEV Brute cargo box, produced as a bolt-on upgrade for Jeep TJ models, might work well in this application. So the J8’s 116-inch wheelbase was stretched eight inches to make the bed fit perfectly. In addition, a few inches were chopped off the top of the J8’s front windshield frame to give the truck a rakish and aggressive appearance, and a custom soft-top created by Bestop was applied to the vehicle. This didn’t hurt the Nukizer’s ability to attract every truck and Jeep enthusiast who caught a glimpse of it as it managed to gather a crowd wherever it went.

Nukizer-front34-560

To re-create the original M-715’s distinctive forward-slanted front grille, wide hood and round fender flares, Mopar engineers built a front clip out of carbon fiber that artfully accentuates the features of the original and blends it perfectly into the J8 body.

One of Mopar's goals was to make the Nukizer as rugged as the original. The drivetrain was upgraded with tough Dynatrac ProRock Dana 44 front and Dana 60 rear axles. The rear diff has super short 5.38 gears to help improve its crawl ratio. The transfer case was upgraded to a heavy-duty Atlas 2 unit, and ARB Air Locker front and rear locking differentials were also used to get the vehicle over just about any obstacle in its path.

True to its nature, the Nukizer was just like driving a modified Wrangler — strong and sure-footed, and the extra wheelbase added a measure of comfort over any type of terrain.

The 2.8-liter four-cylinder VM Motori turbo-diesel used in the J8 platform was kept in the Nukizer’s DNA, but it was upgraded with a new tune to provide more horsepower and torque while being coupled to the factory four-speed automatic transmission. Weighing in at a moderately hefty 4,500 pounds, the Nukizer still felt nimble, and there was no seeming lack of power or torque coming from the diesel.

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To increase the vehicle’s fuel capacity, Mopar engineers fit a GenRight custom gas tank into the rear crossmember. This also gives the Nukizer better weight distribution, which was noticeable as we drove it over obstacles, and it never felt front heavy or unbalanced as it constantly leaped over sand dunes.

The Nukizer 715 uses the factory leaf spring suspension system with Bilstein shocks to handle a large set of 38-by-14.5-by-17-inch BFGoodrich KM2 off-road tires mounted on Hutchinson beadlock wheels. The factory front anti-sway bar was replaced with a TeraFlex dual-rate bar that gives the Nukizer more control due to the heavier weight of the fuel tank and body.

Mopar also went into its supply of products and added Jeep Wrangler rock rails and front and rear off-road bumpers to the Nukizer. The truck is also equipped with a Warn air compressor and 9.5XP low-profile winch, and Master Pull synthetic winch line. Inside, the Nukizer’s cab is basic charcoal gray and remains simple, yet functional. The only upgrade is a Garmin GPS Map 640 navigation unit, Atlas transfer case shift knobs and ARB locker switches. Yet, considering the vehicle’s DNA and heritage, it would seem wrong to set up this vehicle with leather seating and a DVD player.

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The Nukizer 715 is definitely an eye-catcher, even with its dull “trash can” gray paint scheme as described by Chrysler’s Mark Allen, chief designer, Jeep/Truck Design Studio. The vehicle not only appeals to both Jeep and truck enthusiasts, it also has the real capabilities of the original.

Because the Nukizer 715 hits the mark with its Jeep heritage, and because it was a joint venture with manufacturers of hard-core aftermarket components, many off-road enthusiasts would gladly take on some trails in a well-built pickup like this one, if it were ever made available to the public.

After years of teasing truck enthusiasts and past Jeep pickup owners with cool concepts like the Nukizer and 2005 Jeep Gladiator concept, perhaps Chrysler and its partners at Fiat will respond to the pent-up demand that exists for a no-compromise, small off-road pickup and produce a new factory-built pickup with a seven-slot grille.

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Comments

Cool truck. Too bad it's another piece of unobtanium that only the excessively wealthy could ever hope to have.

Jeep: Strip it down and offer it for the PEOPLE. And add an extended cab too. And watch them fly off the lots and into customers very happy hands.

This is one BA truck! It reminds my of the Power Wagon concept Chrysler had a few years back. Love'n the Diesel power!!!!!

That is a cool pickup.

This is more like it!!! Looks great, is a true Jeep and stripping down some of the hard core mods and accessories could make this affordable and still hugely capable. Much better executed than the fugly Powerwagon concept they also had there.

Nice truck, but Chrysler will not build it. They have gotten lost. If they do build it the price will be so high no one could buy one (no one that would use it for off roading).

Don't get the greenies here about this, or they will take this viral! One of the major reasons Hummer is no longer.

No people it's not suppose to get 30MPG!

Can I buy one now? No. Will I be able to buy one in the future? No. So, do I care? No.

Why do they have to chop every vehicle, truly they want to cater to thugs.

Misleading title!

This lacks cargo capacity, payload, ground clearance and independent suspension front/rear to name of few of the stuff the military demands.

This has nothing to do with the military!

Very similar to modded 3 Litre turbo diesl Pickups you can get in Australia. There should be a market for it in the US.

Sweet merciful lord in heaven that is a sweet vehicle!

Why bother getting publicity and attention when you're not even gonna build it? Why waste everyone's time?

Oxi - Ever hear of the Jeep Kaiser 715? I was very much military an served for more than a few years. This truck is based on it in many ways from the looks to the soft top. That is your military connection.

Wow, whatta truck! Kinda like looking at a Heidi Klum pictorial, ain't nobody but Seal gonna drive it.

this thing is awsome i approve put it into production jeep come on

The sad thing is that Chrysler/Jeep has had several good platforms with which to make a good 4x4 pickup again...and that would normally bring down production costs as well as retail prices.

However, these big corporate clowns never seem to listen to their customers...hence the bankruptcy, government take-over and now foreign ownership.

Any Jeep enthusiast with an ounce of common sense could do a better job...that is if you remove the "greed" factor.

Larry
http://www.4-the-love-of-jeeps.com

@Keith,

I happen to be on the front lines of building what the military demands today and it does not look like that nor does it have straight axles...

Oxi - If that was the case you would know the Kaiser 715 this is named after was utilized back in the 60's. This is not a new one off concept for todays military. It is a retro Jeep vehicle much like todays Mustang. This IS NOT A NEW PROJECT FOR THE DOD!!!!

@Keith,

Old school does not work on the modern battlefield anymore. The DoD wants independent suspensions for speed and mobility!

Oxi - Read what I am saying one more time real slow as maybe you will actually get it this time. This truck is not in anyway designed to be used by or bid on by the DOD, Army, Navy, Marines, USAF or Coast Guard. It is a concept vehicle for PUBLIC demonstration and hopefully will wind up for sale in some form for the public consumption. The looks are based off the Kaiser Jeep. The looks it is based off are the only thing military about it. No where in this article does it say the DOD is considering these. Are you really that ignorant?

@Keith,

Read the title again:

'Military Maneuvers'

It's a misleading title...are you that blind?

@ Oxi, read Keiths post again and then open mouth insert foot. For someone who claims to be the know it all about military vehicles should know that the army used what is referred to as a kaiser 715 aka jeep pickup for many years along with the dodge powerwagon. As for the title its not misleading as the J8 is used by the military of foreign countries. Hence the term mil spec as referred to in the article.

The Nukaiser 715 however is NOT intended to be a military vehicle even if its chasis is.

TY Jeff. Glad to know someone gets it.

Oxi:

"Military Maneuvers" refers to what the NuKizer is a tribute to, not what it was designed for. Like I said, a retro looking Jeep pick up for the public, not anything to do with current MIL Spec. Show me in the article where it says the military was consulted or even considered as a consumer for the project. You can't because they aren't.

Oxi, it scares me that you have a job, let alone are on the front lines of any military development. Please read and don't just look at the pictures, that is all.

As far as this vehicle, it is far to nice to ever be mass produced but at least mopar is getting the hint that a diesel, strong axles, and rugged is still in demand.

@ oxi - when I read your posts it explains why the military has 100% QC on many of its machines and finds 25% need to be redone. That's because d-psh-ts like you assemble them. You'd of thought you designed the gas pedals on Toyota vehicles as well.

To bad no one did QC on oxi.

I love it! Please build it!

@everyone:

Misleading title, this is a pure civilian vehicle and does no good service to the military!

@Tony,

Take your hatred comments somehwre else and buy your GM like your socialist master Obama wants you to. Another multi-billion $ loss for GM posted, are you gonna cry and press for more accusations upon Toyota like the feds are doing anyway to help poor GM?

they should do a limited edition of these mean machines....

maybe let you choose what engine/transmission? and tire size..?

love to see one in person...

@GaJeep

Strong axles? Straight axles are not very strong. MRAP's with straight axles cannot even handle the terrain in Afghanistan! That is why they are replacing them with independent suspensions under military contract! They are being converted over in Kuwait and Afghanistan as we speak.

The U.S. military demands speed and mobility as well as heavy payload requirements and straight axle trucks do not fit the bill much anymore.

@ oxi

I just read an article about a small truck, the Jeep Nukizer 715 I think i was called. I think the military would be interested in using this truck in he battle field. Its got good ground clearance, lots of power from its diesel engine so it should be quick and get decent mileage. Those straight axles would be good off road and look very tough. Plus look a all the cargo room in the box. You could mount a machine gun in the back, throw canvas over it and haul troops, or just supplies. All Jeep needs is an insider (you would be a likely candidate) to grease the wheels for them. We could end Iraq and Afganistan conflicts real fast with this machine. Come on, what do you say? You may not like Obama but you don't hate America, do you?

Yes Oxi, I forgot about all those non straight axle dump trucks, tractor trailers and duece and a halfs I see. Are you even aware of the payload ratings on the vehicles you speak of? The Humvee is no heavy hauler.

You still don't get the concept of the article title either do you? It refers to the looks and the heritage of the Kaiser Jeep 715/J8 it was styled after and loosely related to. It has nothing to do with the application of the vehicle. The article never pretends it is. You could put the same title on a review of the civilian Hummer H1 and it would mean the same thing. I honestly can't believe you are that hung up on a meaningless article title. I think you spent too much time in the sun desert racing your Tacoma.

Sweet mother of God!!! I would give my left nut for the opportunity to buy this truck at a Jeep dealership! The simplistic chassis, the bulletproof drivetrain, the perfect engine, and the classic good looks are all I could ever want from a 4x4.

Jeep, you MUST build something like this!!!

@Keith,

Ever heard of the MTVR, LVSR PLSA1, M-ATV to name a few?

The Jeep concept is fine, I do not mind retro builds and would be glad to see it off-roading on trails...

Man If Jeep made all there Vehicles like this, they wouldn't be able to keep up with the demand!
Jeep Truck should be in there line up!
Give us a Hemi in the Wrangler...
Give us a truck like this Diesel or Hemi Powered!
Give us Dana 60's!
Man there loosing money!

@oxi - ooohhhhh, I said something against your beloved Toyota. SSSSoooorrrryyyyy. Yeah, Right.
I'm a Ford guy not a GM guy. GM deserves to go broke, but now they are wasting my money.
Oxi - must stand for " I desperately need oxygen to my brain".
Toyota screwed up. So has Ford, GM, Dodge and every other car maker on the planet at one time or another.
Save your conspiracy theories for web sites that cater to people like you.

For those of us who like the NUKIZER and would love to see a Jeep pickup back in production Please, if you can't say anything positive keep it to yourself.....

If I were Chrysler and read all this nonsense I'd blow it off too.

If you are able demonstrate some maturity. i.e. behave as an adult and be constructive.

Thank you

Hey Senior AMC - If you are able demonstrate some maturity. i.e. behave as an adult and be constructive.

This is a truck guy site. That kind of eliminates maturity and anything resembling constructive adult behavior.

Read any post by Bob or bobby1971 and you'll seee my point.

I have to agree with Senior Jeep!

The Nukizer is a killer truck.

lets get it built!

Is this going to be made? I hope it gets a hard top and different colors too. PS the hardtop better have a BROW!
I am rebuilding a J10 turing it into a J30 Read about it here;

http://www.ifsja.org/forums/vb/showthread.php?t=106514

I sure do Hope Jeep comes out w/ a truck and I sure do hope you can buy it stripped and ad to it as you get the bucks!

Guess none of you guys that are fighting about the military connection picked up on the fact that this is a modified J8 Egyptian Army version of a jeep! Yes, the Egyption Army still uses JEEPS.....not humvees! The J8 is a 4 door Jeep Truck with a d44 front, d60 rear, and 2.8L oil burner!


The J8 can be purchased at any Jeep dealership! Bit pricy to import!

Same engine as in my '06 Jeep Liberty CRD. I spent quite a few years in the Army around the M-715 5 quarter. Always wanted one for my own. This looks like it would be a great vehicle to have, especially around the rural area of Iowa that I live. Since I already have experience with the 2.8L VM diesel, this vehicle would be a nice fit.

Jeep, are you listening?

Chrysler, marketing are you listening?

Fiat, stai ascoltando?

It was bad enough to make us drool over the Jeep Gladiator prototype, just to see all the goodies (pick up body, lockers, winch) put into a Dodge Ram(!!) as the Power Wagon. Many Jeep guys have been recycling old FSJ pick ups and Comanches because Jeep has been lacking a pick up truck for a while. Jeep guys won't just settle for a Dodge, no matter what (I'd never buy a Dodge or anything else from Chrysler myself, but put a Jeep badge on it and we'll talk).

Do us a favor and make the Nukizer a reality! Strip it down to Wrangler X and Wrangler Rubicon level, and put it on the market.

The Jeep brand NEEDS a vehicle such as this.

I like it and Id love it alot more than the old 715.The old 715 was a strong platform even though it orginal 6 cyl. was kinda a poor choice it was tough.But it was also slow and hard on gas.And yes Jeep is back in uniform again the J8 is coming.Hummer reminds me of a fat rich woman,to heavy to lift,to wide for narrow places and worth to much to dump.

shucks howdy LOVE those retro builds ehh ladies and gents? Too bad this is prob the only place i will ever see it unless i get the gumption to build one my own self.

Oxi, you are either a young person who hasn't even hit puberty yet and has no clue what you are talking about, or lord help us you really DO work for a company contracted by our government to build equipment that keeps getting my brothers and sisters killed. Wouldn't suprise me either way so either grow up or go haze yourself.

0311

My friend who is lived in Utah has recently bought a Nukizer 715 Jeep from an retired army person and it is helping him a lot in his farm house.

ALL I HAVE TO SAY.BUILD IT AND WE WILL BUY IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



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