Jeep Unveils Two Pickup Concepts Pre-Safari

By Jim McCraw

Every year at the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah, the Jeep folks bring along a bunch of concept vehicles, most of them using available Mopar aftermarket parts, to gauge the vehicles' acceptance among the thousands of Jeep faithful who gather there each year.

In addition to showing off a bunch of Wrangler and Grand Cherokee specials, Jeep unveiled two pickup truck concepts this year: the Jeep J12, reminiscent of the old Gladiator pickups; and the Mighty FC long bed, a stunner styled after the old Forward Control Jeep pickups.

The J12, in brilliant red, uses Wrangler doors and hinges, as well as an extended version of the Mopar JK-8 pickup truck conversion bed. It's built on top of a Wrangler Unlimited chassis that’s been extended 18 inches and fitted with a Mopar 3-inch lift kit, Teraflex sway bars coupled to an ARB air locker, Dynatrac D44 and D-0 axle assemblies, and 36-inch mud tires, all mounted to 16-inch wheels. The new bed is 6 feet long.

Up front, there are Gladiator-style fenders, a new version of the Gladiator grille and the trademark brow over the windshield header. Inside, there’s lots of body-color paint and a wild plaid interior with not-so-practical Katzkin white seat inserts on the bench seat and bedliner floor material.

The outrageous Mighty FC is also based on a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon chassis and cab, once again using the Mopar JK-8 pickup truck conversion kit as a starter and made over to look very much like the Jeep Forward Control pickups built between 1956 and 1965. The cab has been fitted with a custom flat nose, seven-slot grille and an extra pair of high-intensity-discharge headlamps positioned directly over the front Mopar Portal offset axle assembly for enormous ground-clearance numbers.

The axles use King coil-over reservoir shock assemblies front and rear, and Teraflex control arms and track bars, with giant 40-inch tires mounted on Hutchinson 17-inch eight-lug beadlock wheels. The body features Hanson bumpers, a Warn 16.5 winch system and an 8-foot cargo bed with drop sides and a cut-down tailgate hiding the spare tire. The interior is fitted with a red plaid Katzkin leather bucket seat.

No definitive announcements are likely to be made about these two trucks, but we hope these pickups get the kind of reaction they deserve. No doubt there will be questions about pricing and crashworthiness, but if Mopar can offer a Ram Runner kit to change the personality of your Ram 1500, why not offer similar packages to turn your Wrangler Unlimited into unique pickup?

We'll have more to talk about when we get behind the wheel of these vehicles at the 46th annual Easter Jeep Safari in a few weeks.


International Harvester has returned! IVECO /Fiat which still own the IHI trade name look like they are going to do a 2012 version.

The Cab forward is their version of the Unimog. I guess that can be a IVECO as well.

Two words: Build them!

I really want to see these trucks built. I really do. But, somhow I don't see that happening anytime soon.

It looks like if you stepped on the brakes to hard it would tip forward onto its face.

Looks like a Volkswagen bus. I think that they would have to dramatically lower the bumpers to meet crash ratings. Otherwise you could kill someone in a 20 mph crash.

@Jugger I wonder how IVECO passes the European pedestrian safety regulations with this?

@Robert, Enough with the Europeon annecdotes that have nothing to do with these topics.

These will never be production vehicles...

Love the Forward Control concept... there was an original one for sale nearby recently. Tempting, but I don't need another project.

Looks like it would take more than a pair of scissors to break into those. I guess that's a pretty big advancement for them.

I remember the cabover as a kid. The local MOBIL Station had one with a plow on it to remove snow from the gas pumps.

Cab over has its advantages but I doubt it will pass basic safety regulations for government controlled roads...

Chrysler is already accessing Fiat for its New CUV's. So not too far fetched to assume other aspects of Fiat will join in, If these projects go ahead.

@Danny - If you read the other thread about these 2 vehicles, especially the cabover, we were speculating that Ram might dip into the Fiat parts bin as cabover and van style chassis cab 4x4's already exist in the rest of the world. The world you live in is not flat. You will not fall into the abyss if you venture beyond continental USA. Fiat will use its onership of Chrysler to bring over a large number of its products. I bet Iveco will show up as Ram medium to heavy duty trucks.
If you are still not convinced about the importance of paying attention to Europe and other foreign markets look at Ford. Most of their products with the exception of the Mustang and F Series are "global" products engineered in Europe.
If you are a GM fan, the Camaro is a reskinned Australian product.

The portal axles will be a Jeep Mopar part.
What is cool is that a kit will be available to put a Hemi in a Jeep. Imagine a 6.4 Hemi in a Jeep with portal axles.

Lou, Don't play dumb. You know exactly what I am talking about. I like many are just tired of hearing about European/Australian/anti-NA annecdotes that are off-topic. Once in a while is ok but enough is enough already! He is like a broken record. Like the posting rules say, we what everyone says but only if it pertains to specific topics.

@Danny they are not off topic. As Lou said it is not a US specific development as Chrysler sell Jeeps globally. They access the resources that suit. You would be safer talking about Ford Super Duties , Chevrolet Silverado's and Dodge Ram's as their is NO Global input.

@Danny - I'm not playing dumb. I don't see any anti - North American comments coming from Robert Ryan. Please point out the "anti - NA" posts for me as I'm having a real hard time finding any.
As previously mentioned, we will see a large number of European products in North America. Drive by a Ford lot. All the (non pony)cars are European based vehicles. Ford plans on paring down from 100 name plates to 25-30. Any person on this blog with experience outside NA is a welcome source of first hand information.
Fiat DNA will find its way into Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram products.
How many stories have we had about "global" Rangers, and Colorado's, and Hilux for example?
You don't need to be Paul Revere to see that the "Europeans are coming", and the Asians for that matter.

The topic is not "I wonder how IVECO passes the European pedestrian safety regulations". The topic is Wrangers for Moab. I should talk Super Duties? Please spare us from your passive agressive postings and stay on topic.

@Danny - that quote is out of context. We were talking about the Iveco Daily 4x4 and Eurocargo 4x4. It was a continuation of the conversation on the other Moab Jeep thread. Take a look at the Eurocargo 4x4. It sits very high like the Mighty FC. Read that thread and you will see why Robert Ryan made that comment.
Here is the Daily 4x4

Exactly, I was struck by the similarity and it looked a bit like a Unimog.

@Mopar Man,
Ram already took down Toyota in 2011!

Well they never built this:
Talk is cheap. More big $ spent on concepts that will never be built.

@mobile69 I think they will. They are not just going to keep building concepts, they will eventually go with a concept that a lot of people react to favorably.

Build the J12!

I would bet that no Jeep Concept ever got the reaction that the Gladiator got. If they need to go by public reaction... THAT is the concept to build. I'm sure they could update it enough to meet today's standards, not that it's far off.

Exactly Greg. I've gotten tired of waiting for a jeep truck concept to actually make it into production.

Portal axles = Real HD independent suspension. Look underneath that thing. No low slung frame from the factory or cheap torsion bar tie ins and drop brackets. The other truck has a real axle. Both of those two set ups demonstrate how to do a HD 4x4 properly. The IFS Chevy touts on their HD is a joke. This is how it's done!!

@MoparMan, Dodge period is taking down Chevy for good. We're going to take out their Silverado sales with our superior Dodge Ram. Better interior, better exterior and a Real HD with an axle up front. Their car sales will fall off a cliff as a result. Look at where GM gets the bulk of it's profit, the Silverado. We kill that we just chopped down their money tree. Then we just need to chop down Ford's. Albeit a much stronger money tree with deeper roots. We can still do it.

Uhm, how do you get into the FC cab? If the tires have 2" of oily caked-on mud, that could be pretty comical.

The only thing I worry about is that if they try to make these wouldn't dodge complain that the jeep trucks are interfering with their ram truck sales figures? Maybe they will be forced to make them a limited special edition of a RAM truck???


Probably not i think that if they build the"red truck" or the gladiator they could make it smaller, lets say kinda like the "tacoma".
and if they do this, then Ram shouldnt even worry about bringing a Dakota replacement.

think about the 80's toyotas they were miniature but GOD DAMn i see them runin' 35's or higher some still using the little 22R.

i know jeep is using all the little engines designed by fiat and they are achieving MPGs in the higher 20s "with a munual gear"ofcourse.


@MoparMan, Dodge period is taking down Chevy for good. We're going to take out their Silverado sales with our superior Dodge Ram. Better interior, better exterior and a Real HD with an axle up front. Their car sales will fall off a cliff as a result. Look at where GM gets the bulk of it's profit, the Silverado. We kill that we just chopped down their money tree. Then we just need to chop down Ford's. Albeit a much stronger money tree with deeper roots. We can still do it.
Posted by: DodgeGuy48

Dodge guys are delusional. I am not a Chevy guy but don't you ever get tired of saying Ram is taking down Chevy? Now you're taking down Ford and Toyota too? Fix your own company before you start worrying about taking down others. That would be a good start.

Well ya that is true since the Dakota is gone i forgot all about that and ya im not a Dodge guy at all I love my jeeps and my classic Mopars from 68 to 73 (mainly the Dodge Charger) Dodge will not take over anything they Don't even own themselves haha and that making them smaller idea is actually a really really good idea. I really hope they bring these classic jeep legends back on the road, all modernized. :)

Well actually too add to Big Roy's comment the cab over, come to think of it used to be about the size of a Tacoma or a Frontier so it really would be a perfect replacement. Those engines would feel lil old school too cuz of their size, small horsepower, BIG torque and the manual gear boxes that's actually really clever.

If they don't build them i will go back to my hatred for modern jeeps I own a 74 CJ5 and I love it!!!! so jeep get respect again build something unusual and cool, just like when the original versions of these trucks came out!

OH! and do not forget they are huge like this to take on the Jeep Safari!

@Big Roy - I can't see Ram objecting either. These trucks are built on Jeep chassis. That would put them in the small truck class. I think that a variation of the Mighty FC would be a great idea to give small truck buyers a very short wheelbase and a decent sized useable box. The biggest negative with this concept is that the engine is behind the cab in the box. This site did a piss poor job of showing those aspects of the truck and explaining the features. The portal axles are an awesome design for offroad but cost around 12,000 dollars each. Too deep for my pockets.

They both have their advantages, but I really don't see the FC version hitting it off. My wife hates the look, though the long bed on the short chassis is a huge advantage over the road whales we currently call full-sized pickups.

On the other hand, a return of the old Gladiator (or even the Gladiator concept of '05) would probably be quite a hit for Jeep lovers--especially if it also had a pop-top. To tell you the truth, this is exactly the model I'm waiting for. I do want a conventional drop tailgate if I'm going to carry plywood or such, but it's certainly not impossible to have a two-way tailgate such as we used to see in late-'60s, early-'70s station wagons. I really don't see how they could be any less safe than what we're using now.

Oh, and could the moderators PLEASE kill those stupid posts by "Mechanic" and "MoparMan"? Not only are they off topic, they're downright insulting and childish.

No diesel, forget it

@DodgeGuy48, you make take down Chevrolet. I can actually see that as GM doesn't appear to give a rat's behind about Chevy trucks or Chevrolet's following. You will not however take down Ford. There's too much at stake in Ford losing their truck base and Ford loyalty. Right now we're king of the mountain and there's no doubt Ford will do everything in it's power to keep Chevy and Dodge from kicking it off. Good luck trying though.

As for these trucks, I have to commend Dodge for doing a great job here. They'll never be production trucks but as an exercise in serious truck design, they built a couple of winners. Both look very Military ready.

@FT1: While I won't argue the popularity of the Ford truck and even its durability over the short run, you still have to admit GM's trucks seem to stay on the road longer overall. Note however that I am not promoting GM either since I have never owned either a GM or Ford truck nor have I owned a Chrysler truck outside of a D-50 twin built by Mitsubishi back in '83. My experience with Ford in general seems to live up to the F.O.R.D. acronym since I have never owned a Ford car that had any kind of real reliability compared to either GM or Chrysler products I have owned.

Again, that's beside the point. I do believe that it's possible for either GM, Chrysler or both to surpass Ford's products over time if Ford continues to pretty much ride on its laurels. Yes, I know the Raptor is a sweet truck--I was tempted to purchase one myself--but it's grossly too expensive to be anything but a plaything and that's not what I need. Add to this the dropping of the Ranger compact pickup (later mid-sized) simply meant that I won't ever own of Ford truck until they change their policies. To be honest, I will make the same statement about GM and its S-10 truck. Chrysler's Dakota? Started out too big and simply kept growing.

Jeep, on the other hand, seems to at least have in mind a truly functional truck that can also be an off-road plaything. These two [i]not official concepts[/i] built by the Jeep engineers and technicians are more an attempt by Jeep's employees to show management that there is a desire--nay, a [i]demand[/i] for a Jeep-based truck that lives up to the Jeep name as the Chrysler/Benz SUVs couldn't. These are Compass/Patriot street toys trying to live on the Jeep name, these two are off-road workhorses that exemplify what Jeep is. The fact that they are both based on the JK platform means that they will both be smaller in overall dimensions than the Ford/GM/RAM road whales with different capabilities that would make them ideal haulers on less-than-ideal surfaces such as logging roads or even primitive trails where those road whales simply cannot fit.

I love the FC model's capability to carry oversized loads or even serve as a kind of off-road van like the antique fire engine pictured in the article. I'm not so sure it would be as useful as an on-road model except perhaps in tight urban environments as a delivery vehicle not too different from what are already in use in both Europe and Asia as well as third-world countries where carrying capacity is more important than appearances.

The Gladiator idea is, to me, the ideal choice for someone who doesn't really need a heavy-duty/8' bed/10,000pound towing monsters that I call Road Whales. A 5.5'/6' bed with drop tailgate capable of carrying a 4'x8' sheet of plywood/drywall, lumber, mulch, etc. for a small home is a perfect size and adding the real off-road play ability (like using the bed as a stable platform for a telescope or camera tripod without having to carry them on your back and still get up that trail) makes it much more useful for someone like me.

My biggest complaint with almost all the commenters on this site is that they are conceited and extremely biased, an attitude I see equally when I'm out at Rousch Creek and other off-road parks from people driving road-whale pickups in areas where even my JK surprises experienced Jeepers. I've seen those big trucks have to see-saw to make corners my JK 4-door handles easily and seen them have to bypass areas that even the old Grand Waggoneer can travel. Sure, those big trucks work great out in the desert where you don't have any trees and even rock formations give you some room to maneuver, but in forest country they either have to knock down saplings or find a way around places that the Jeep squeezes right through. Simply put, that conceit is misplaced when it comes to real-world needs in the wilds though I don't deny those big trucks are great for on-road and typical construction work.

You want a truck? Great. Use what you need. Just don't try to tell me that it's what I need when you don't even know how I would use it.

please put these trucks into production


You said Fiat dna will find its way into alot of Chrysler products,also Chrysler DNA is finding its way already in alot of Fiat products,look at European cars today,and the future of Fiat,Maserati,Lancia,Ferarri.

The Chrysler 300,200 are rebadged as Lancia's..the Grand Cherokee is being used for a new Maserati suv,Dodge Journey is a Lacia suv in Europe ect...

Fiat was excited to be able to use Chryslers platforms for upscale European vehicles..Chrysler will benefit by getting smaller Alfa Romeo platforms for small vehicles compact,sub compact..And Chrysler will use Iveco vans ,but minivans,mid-large cars trucks suv's will remain Chrysler products..

Ford uses Volvo chassis for its Edge,Taurus,Explorer..Focus,Festiva are European imports as well..Econoline will be replaced by an import..Ford only has the Mustang and F-Series that are not based on an import !!

GM has the Camaro based off imports as well,many GM's Cadillacs,Camaro's are based off of Holdens and Opel/Vauxhalls..Plus the small cars based off Suzuki's.

@Robert Ryan,

Educate yourself,these are NOT International clones...Jeep had these in the 1960's !!

JEEP !!!!


I'll take a J12 please. I love the old school design. Don't change a thing with it. And keep the wrangler doors. And for the love of God, let me have it with the 2.8L CRD!

@Car Crazy - you are not telling me anything I didn't already know. Point is - many of the better North American "Domestic" cars (and I use that term domestic very loosely) are rebadged and slightly reskinned "global" products. Ford has officially said they will pare down to 25 - 30 global name plates. They also said they plan on reversing the sales ratio between car and truck products.
There aren't going to be many exclusively North American vehicles that will appeal to Europe. I wouldn't be bragging too much about the Grand Cherokee as it already is based on the Mercedes M-class SUV. So Fiat will take a reskinned rebadged Mercedes "Grand Cherokee" and re-rebadge it as a Lancia. Nice try though ;) At least the Journey and the 200 class are still NA platforms.
Maybe Fiat (read Ferarri) can help Chrysler/Dodge make a car that can actually go around a corner at speed. LOL

@Car Crazy You missed my point.
"Educate yourself,these are NOT International clones"
They sold all those Jeeps here. My reference to the IHI Scout is it represented the ultimate unvarnished early 4 X4 Pickups that were used for work only. In that group is those Jeeps you mentioned , Land Cruisers, Nissan Patrols and Land Rovers. Not the sort of thing to drive to impress, but only do a job.
Agree 1000 percent about US manufacturers reliance on foreign designs. The reason they are struggling internationally, is they are not producing cutting edge stuff i.e Apple IPAD but instead rely on others to design and engineer their vehicles.

J12 isn't bad looking, (except for that hideous front end) and it needs a back seat for dogs and such (or even storage, aftermarket companies take note, we need to carry things into the field and need secure places to store them.)

If my wife sees the J12, there goes our budget (if Jeep builds it).

I married the right woman. She'll look at it and say "real truck. Buy it."

And I would.

The comments to this entry are closed.