One might think that Jeep dips into their past far too often to stay in touch with their enthusiast base. The fact is, the old stuff is still pretty cool, and concept vehicles like the Mighty FC Jeep -- recently introduced at the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah -- is just one of the ways the brand continues to reach back to its core consumer.
Even when it’s just sitting still, the awe factor of the Mighty FC is incredible. It’s tall, intimidating and utilitarian. It has huge tires, and you know it can crawl over anything because it’s a Jeep.
For those who weren’t around, or were still drinking out of a baby bottle in the late 1950s, the original Willys and Kaiser Forward Control vehicle was built in 1956. Intended as a military and utilitarian vehicle, the design made for a larger, full-length cargo box that was perfect for fire trucks, tow trucks and dump trucks. Jeep’s concept version is definitely not a restoration, but a modernized version featuring a 2012 Wrangler Rubicon frame and V-6 engine to keep it reliable.
Jeep engineers combined the factory Wrangler cab with the Mopar JK8 truck conversion kit to give it the appropriate appearance, but other modifications also were added. The wheel base was stretched and a custom cargo box added with drop side trays and a cargo area that measures more than 8 feet long.
Climbing into the Mighty FC concept gives the first indication of its unique stature. To get in it, you have to step onto the wheel and climb your way into a cab that sits several inches above Mopar’s aftermarket Portal Axles; eight-lug heavy-duty units are used both front and rear and provide extra ride height. Once inside, you realize just how high you’re sitting. The interior space is tight, but the two-tone leather Katzkin seats keep things comfortable and go along with the retro theme.
Although intimidating at first, it takes only a few moments to become accustomed to driving around a few feet higher than everyone one else, and this is even more evident without a hood to peer over. Equipped with King coil-over reservoir shocks and BFGoodrich 40-inch diameter tires mounted on 17-inch Hutchinson bead lock wheels, the Mighty FC does well crawling over the difficult terrain in Moab.
It easily climbed over steep slick-rock and floated well over deep sand. Heading down steep hills is, to say the least, an uncomfortable feeling, especially when the 40-inch rubber is aired down for better traction. Even Mark Allen, head of Jeep Design, mentioned he had a few “uncomfortable” moments while looking straight down onto the dirt during a steep descent. Yet it only takes a few minutes to become accustomed to the Mighty FC once you realize it’s a capable, reliable ride. The TeraFlex control arms and track bars help keep the vehicle steady, allowing the vehicle to feel more predictable.
The ride is also quiet, which is partly due to the Corsa stainless-steel exhaust system that also helps give the Mighty FC additional power to climb steep hills in Low gear. You might expect that the vehicle is heavy, but it feels lighter and more nimble with the articulation and traction that you’d expect from a Jeep.
Jeep engineers like giving their concept trucks a dull utilitarian color, but when accented with a Hanson front bumper and a Warn 16.5-pound winch, the Mighty FC definitely gets the approval of hardcore Jeep owners who crowded around the vehicle when it was on display.
We enjoyed driving the truck and experiencing what Jeep engineers loved most about the project. These concept vehicles are exercises in design and chassis development only, yet we couldn’t help but think the Mighty FC would be the perfect chase truck for any desert off-road race team. In the meantime, the Mighty FC is relegated to making people drool and showcasing the capabilities of Jeep and its team of engineers who are always looking for the next cool idea.
The Jeep Mighty FC concept is an early cab-over design of the late 1950s that’s combined with the chassis, engine and capabilities of a 2012 Jeep Wrangler.
The Jeep Wrangler chassis was stretched and outfitted with King coil-over, reservoir shocks and TeraFlex control arms. The Mopar Portal Axles give the truck additional ride height without a suspension lift and add to the cargo load capabilities.
The cab-over design takes some getting used to, but once you do, the ride is smooth, capable and reliable. The BFGoodrich 40-inch Krawler T/A tires are mounted on heavy-duty 17-inch Hutchinson bead lock wheels.
Jeep engineers created this comical decal of the Mighty FC cab onto a “Star Wars” Imperial Walker. The truck definitely gives a feeling of having a commanding view over the terrain and the ability to crawl over just about anything in its path.
In keeping with the truck’s original utilitarian theme, the bed is 8 feet long and has plenty of room for tool boxes and more. The sides fold down for easier access, and Mopar four-door rock rails protect the long bedsides from severe trail abuse.