The 2011 Grand Cherokee wasn't the only fancy new Jeep to be unveiled recently. Chrysler's in-house tuners, Mopar Underground, took the wraps off three custom Jeeps at the recent Moab Jeep Safari. Hit the jump for the lowdown.
Mopar Underground Jeep Wrangler Overland
This one's for all you Russel Coight types out there. Mopar Underground decked out a 2009 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited with an ARB roof-mounted tent, 2.5-inch lift kit, 35-inch tyres on 17-inch rims and a full-traction rear swaybar.
A vented bonnet keeps it cool in desert climes and a snorkel allows adventurous drivers to get a high-water mark above the door handles. A 9.5ti winch is also fitted and the rear seats have been junked to increase cargo room.
Mopar Underground Jeep Grand Canyon II
The Grand Canyon II places a little more emphasis on luxury than the Overland, but it still looks like a rugged lil' thing. Knobbly 285/70R17 tyres are mounted to Wrangler Rubicon rims, which are in turn bolted to a 4-inch lift kit.
A high-clearance front bumper and underbody cladding helps keep the Grand Canyon II in one piece, and give the luxo-spec Jeep a tough veneer.
Mopar Underground Jeep Lower Forty
Think roads are for pussies? Ever pondered the legalities of marrying your first cousin? The Jeep Lower Forty may be right up your alley. "Enormous wheels" is this car's key drawcard, and with gargantuan 40 x 13.5-inch tyres mounted to 20-inch Mopar alloys, it doesn't disappoint. I mean c'mon, it looks like a freaking Tonka truck.
In case you're wondering, Mopar Underground managed to fit those massive rollers without altering the base Wrangler's standard centre of gravity. They accomplished this feat by widening the fenders and mounting them four inches higher, which left ample room to squeeze in that outrageous rolling stock without needing a lift kit.
A chopped windscreen makes it look even more bonkers, and the 5.7 litre Hemi V8 gives the Lower Forty a substantial pair of cojones for attacking those dunes.
None of these cars are destined for production just yet, but with Mopar Underground actively gauging show-goers reactions to the customised Jeeps, we may yet see a few of these features get added to Jeep's options list. For more technical info, check out the press release below.
The Mopar?? Underground Design Team at Moab Jeep?? Safari 2009
The Mopar Underground design team showcased six customised Jeep vehicles and Dodge trucks last week at the 43rd annual Moab Jeep Safari 2009.
Overseen by Mark Allen, Chief DesignerJeep/Truck Design Studio, Chrysler LLC, the Mopar Underground design team has been customising production vehicles since its creation in 2002 and has introduced 14 Jeep concept vehicles to enthusiast crowds at Moab Jeep Safari.
"These vehicles are built with pride and passion for the Jeep brand by a small group of dedicated engineers, designers and fabricators to explore and demonstrate the many facets of off-roading," Allen said.
The Mopar Underground design team creates vehicle concepts, which are meant to develop performance parts, accessories and customisation, as well as new vehicle concepts.
"Moab Jeep Safari provides a great venue and works as a proving ground to test Jeep vehicle concepts driven alongside Jeep brand enthusiasts, who can provide immediate feedback at the event," Allen said.
"As a result, we use knowledge gained at this off-road event to explore new directions for Jeep platforms and to develop Mopar Performance Parts and Accessories to suit these vehicles."
Mopar Underground Jeep Wrangler Overland
The Jeep Wrangler Overland is perfect for those craving travel and adventure. Taking a 2009 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited four-door, the Mopar Underground team turned the vehicle into a mobile on-the-go self-contained campsite.
To increase cargo capacity for hauling gear, the Jeep Wrangler Overland's rear seats were replaced with a large, flat, rubberised utility floor. Mounted to the cargo rack is an all-new ARB two-person Simpson II rooftop-mounted tent and touring awning. The interior of the Jeep Wrangler Overland features water-resistant Mopar front-seat covers, rugged Mopar slush mats and a Daystar dash bin and lower switch panel.
Helping to enhance off-road travel is a new Mopar 2.5-inch suspension lift. A full-traction rear sway bar was added, allowing the addition of aggressive 35-inch tyres mounted on 17-inch steel Mopar winter/off-road wheels. Additional off-road protection at the front and rear is provided by American Expedition Vehicles steel bumpers and for added security a Warn 9.5ti winch.
In order to prepare the Jeep Wrangler Overland for desert duty, an American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) Jeep Wrangler heat-reduction hood and snorkel kit is fitted to the vehicle. Mopar windshield-mounted off-road lights and Daystar bumper-mounted lights provide additional lighting for night time and off-road driving.
Mopar Underground Jeep "Grand Canyon II"
The Jeep Grand Canyon II is the most luxurious off-road vehicle built to date by the Mopar Underground Team. The objective for the team was to take a top-of-the-line 2009 Jeep Grand Cherokee and ready it for serious off-road action.
To improve traction for rock crawling, a set of 285/70R17 tyres were mounted on a set of Wrangler Rubicon wheels and fitted with a Superlift 4-inch suspension system. Off-road protection was provided with an ARB high-clearance front bumper and Mopar heavy-duty rock rails.
The already well-appointed Jeep Grand Cherokee interior was prepped for severe duty with the addition of Mopar accessories front and rear slush mats, cargo liner and stainless-steel sill plates.
Mopar Underground Jeep "Lower Forty"
Mopar Underground's Jeep Lower Forty takes the new Jeep Wrangler platform to a new extreme. The Jeep Lower Forty is equipped with massive 40-inch x 13.5-inch 0R20LT tyres mounted on Mopar 20-inch forged aluminium wheels. The Mopar Underground crew added the aggressive wheels and tyres to a stock, two-door Wrangler Rubicon without the use of a suspension lift. The team's goal was to achieve added ground clearance without altering the vehicle's centre of gravity. To accomplish that feat, the team trimmed copious amounts of the body and fenders to provide the needed tyre clearance. Once achieved, the team used a saw to chop out 3-inches of height from the windshield frame and increased the rake by 10 degrees.
Custom front and rear fender flares were made 1-inch wider and 4-inches higher compared with a stock vehicle. A new one-piece-carbon-fibre hood with a Jeep CJ-like power dome and an all-new drop-down tailgate stamped with the Jeep logo were added to the vehicle to complete the exterior design.
On the interior, an all-new roll cage was neatly integrated into the body tub and tied directly into the frame rails. The spare tyre was relocated to the cargo floor and a custom cargo rack, supplied by Poly Performance, was installed. Once all body modifications were completed the exterior received a fresh coat of Red Eye No. 3 paint, a custom colour developed by the Mopar Underground team specifically for this project.
Custom touches can be seen throughout the interior of the vehicle, including a colour-matched centre console and instrument panel. The seats were re-covered with Mopar's Katzkin leather package in a two-tone scheme. The carpet was removed and a durable truck-bed liner was sprayed inside to protect the floor. Rugged Mopar floor mats complete the theme.
The Mopar Underground team turned to the Mopar catalogue for the vehicle's mechanical upgrades. The Jeep Lower Forty features an all-new 5.7-litre HEMI V-8 engine and a Getrag 238 six-speed manual transmission. Powertrain installations were handled by Burnsville Off-Road using an AEV installation kit.
Mopar supplied Dana 44 front axles and Dana 60 rear axles equipped with 5:38 gears and Dynatrac prepared ARB air lockers to handle the vehicle's massive tyres.