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

BUILD IT. It's AMAZING. It's Awesome. It's the perfect blend of old and new. IT's WHAT EVERYONE WANTS !!!!!

Friends, Countrymen, the simple fact is that there is no use for this vehicle in todays military, military tribute vehicle is fine, but why carry 3 guys and gear in the back when you can carry 16 in a 7-Ton, that was my vehicle I commanded in Iraq and it was our true workhorse, around the bigger bases you could see HMMWVs with truck beds but the point is cargo/carrying capacity, and a 7-Ton flatbed carries probably 20X the weight the strongest pickup can.. That's all I had to say and thanks for listening

-Colin

I don't know what's more entertaining...the debate between Oxi and Tony, or the anticipation that Jeep will re-enter the pickup truck segment again one day!

Frankly, I'm tired of the excuses Jeep keeps spewing to the public. The '05 Gladiator concept was their calling. "it's not a good time to enter the segment." Result: Honda Ridgeline, Nissan Titan & Frontier, Toyota Tundra, etc. "We don't have a platform to build a truck and it's too expensive to re-tool for a new one." Result: 4-door JK.

I'm patient and faithful Jeep will answer the cal of "us" the consumer that a true Jeep truck eventually will be built.

I may even consider trading all 3 of mine (69 Commando, 85 CJ7, and 97 ZJ 5.9) for one! Okay, maybe only 2 of them ;)

Have owned many Jeep products to include a J-8 Honcho step side P.U. This truck looks great. I backed out of anymore Jeeps, (I currently own three)after 2007. I don't understand why an off road vehicle would lose the Voltmeter and Oil pressure gauge. Anybody? I remain perplexed why I need extra cup holders and a plug for an Ipod when I am slogging through wet goo to feed my cows. Hey, I had a thirty year run and even made it through four ownership changes. Will find a mint CJ-7 with that big old speedo head holding real gauges not idiot lights.

i would buy it tomorrow!

Where do I buy this thing!

where do I get one?
Would like to have a new Jeep pickup

Best design I've ever seen! I will buy that if they make it.

I have a son-in-law in afghanistan. I don't think he would have much use for it there, but I bet we would have fun with it when he gets home. sure wish I could make that happen

That is one nice beast. If they made that today, it wouldbe the best, most aggressive truck on the road!

Yep, I am with many of you. Jeep, AKA Chrysler has come up with these concepts before but they are all steak and no sizzle. Personally, they should not do concept vehicles. They get peoples hopes up only to be dashed by bean counters. They are much like the ffeds. They do not and will not listen. How many customers does it take to get car builders attention?

I wanted to be the 1st guy in my state to own a Gladiator and the same goes true with the Nukizer 715. Do you need test drivers for the concept. Email-me

When Jeep introduced the Gladiator truck line in 1962, it was a time when auto designers were having love affairs with their French curves. My guess is the decidedly angular lines of the Jeep truck came about not as a bold, rebellious style statement, but as a practical solution. I doubt that Jeep could afford the tooling necessary for those sexy curves, gracefully arced character lines, and wrap-around windshields that the Big Three lavished on their respective trucks. Jeep went with angles, trapezoidal welded-on fenders, and a retro (even in '62) windshield eyebrow. Yet, Jeep managed to build a brand based on this slab-sided, militaristic, utilitarian look.

That's what I think the Nukizer Concept is all about--brand identity. I doubt they will ever bring this to market. Everything about the original M-715 and the Nukizer styling screams "Jeep tough"! I love those old Rhino Chaser grilles!

Now maybe this Jeep will cause a remake of the Movie series "Tremors" to happen! :)

As I have herd and said before "build it and they will come" Come on Chrysler We NEED a new version of the longer wheelbase of the xj's and sittin on a frame as capable as this you Have hit the nail on the head. Mark me down as a buyer!

Seriously
Build It

If you think the rubicon got a good market response, just wait till all the jeep lovers waitng for a HD Pickup get their dream come true.
Gladiators pickups used to have dually options, used for tow trucks, and if there were options for extended and quad cabs - ford chevy and dodge would all have some good competition
Maybe that's the problem America likes Monopolies, so Jeeps stay small

C'mon chrysler listen up, Jeep guys with disposable income are spending big bucks retro rebuilding old rusty M715s and cherokees , wagoneers, etc

There is obviously a market and money to build these, especially if there are a few different body variations

Give us diesel and hemi options, give us a quad, or extended cab, and a dually - those would all be reltively simple variations. I personally would love a Wagoneer style / M715 and or panel/delivery wagon like the old M725 ambulances etc
The options are endless.

Build It and We will come !!!

Great Outstanding Military Concept Vehicle. Needs Diesel (6) Cylinder, Long Bed cargo area, enough to provide spare tire to be mounted FWD of the rear fender, a fold down Windshield, and possibly a humvee Type (CV) joint all time FWD Drive Train,("For Better Ground Clearance), a Manual Stick (5) speed gear box, Galvinized Steel Frame and Body Parts. Frame should be Factory Powder-Coated; This would be an excellent Vehicle. Let's see what happens with the Jeep Nukizer 715. (This Vehicle would be Pure Euphoria if Constructed Correctly.) not to mention a world-wide
Seller.

CW-2 Sean M. Scott
Grumman Albatross
Flying Boats
BU#1275.

oxi,

You need to check out the J8 that the NuKizer is built on.

It IS the military Wrangler, built in Egypt.

With a 3000# payload & an 8000# towing capacity.

Regarding the independent suspension.... What can I say. It is in full production with leaf springs & solid axles. And it sells as fast as they can build them.

Everyone. The J8 is a Military Vehicle. Built in Egypt. Here is the link.

http://www.jgms.com/resource/d4541e3bfbf74f98b6bc2f1efcf8e1eb.pdf

And the VIDEO


http://www.jgms.com/

And I think that pickup bed is the same one used on AEVs TJ Conversion to a Brute Pickup.

Video at 9pm.


http://www.jgms.com/

Hmm, never gonna get built in the US... but lucky for me I live in the Philippines where we have been copying Jeeps for decades. Fiberglass body panels, a 6 liter isuzu diesel, and a ladder chassis should do it, someone does have a corporate 14 bolt rear and a Dana 60 front for sale in Clark so just need a transfer case for this... but no time for building this as currently doing 240z fiberglass panels, rb inline six, on a tube chassis... oh well maybe in 5 years...



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