Old Jeep reworked into modern marvel

 
 
Posted4/9/2018 6:00 AM
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  • Jeep Wagoneer Roadtrip concept

    Jeep Wagoneer Roadtrip concept Courtesy of FCA

  • Inside, the Wagoneer features original front and rear bench seats, which received new leather.

    Inside, the Wagoneer features original front and rear bench seats, which received new leather.

  • Known as the original luxury 4x4, the Jeep Wagoneer was built from 1963 to 1991.

    Known as the original luxury 4x4, the Jeep Wagoneer was built from 1963 to 1991.

  • The Jeep Wagoneer was the first four-wheel-drive vehicle to have an automatic transmission.

    The Jeep Wagoneer was the first four-wheel-drive vehicle to have an automatic transmission.

Each spring, Jeep shows off a handful of radical and really cool concept vehicles at its annual Easter Jeep Safari.

The event, held in Moab, Utah, and now in its 52nd year, was started in 1967 and has grown to be a nine-day off-road bonanza. Besides tons of trail tackling with loyal enthusiasts, the brand brings out a slew of concepts to prove their designers' imaginative wheels are always turning with new ideas.

This year, one such creative, and classic, rig was the Wagoneer Roadtrip concept.

The designers' goal was to create something that conjured up fond family vacations to Yellowstone National Park and other beautiful outdoor locales, all while coddled in comfort.

This 1965 Wagoneer was updated by Jeep with a number of modifications, such as a longer frame and custom fender flares.
This 1965 Wagoneer was updated by Jeep with a number of modifications, such as a longer frame and custom fender flares. -

For the foundation, a 1965 Wagoneer was selected and, despite its modifications, it still retains its original steel body, which is painted in a cheerful light green and white color scheme.

Unique badging (both inside and out) calls out its participation in this year's Safari.

Underneath, the wheelbase has been stretched 5 inches, and the body has been updated to accept the additional length, a wider track and custom fender flares.

The vintage-looking luggage rack is a nice touch for a Jeep dubbed the Roadtrip concept.
The vintage-looking luggage rack is a nice touch for a Jeep dubbed the Roadtrip concept. -

Other subtle exterior styling tweaks include reshaped wheel wells, bumpers and integrated rock rails. A razor grille freshens the look up front, while Bottle Green architectural glass replaces the original pieces.

Inside, the Wagoneer features original front and rear bench seats, door panels, kick and rear panels, which are all trimmed in Oxblood-colored leather. A wicker headliner gives the Wagoneer an open, lighter feel and the floor was given a bed liner coating to make it tough-as-nails for those outdoor excursions.

The inside metalwork has also been painted green, matching the exterior. Additional interior details include a custom cooler fashioned from period-correct luggage, and a toolbox created from the valve cover of this Wagoneer's original 230 Tornado, overhead-cam, straight-six engine.

The Jeep's instrument panel was reworked and the metal painted in a matching light green paint.
The Jeep's instrument panel was reworked and the metal painted in a matching light green paint. -

That factory installed (and well outdated) powerplant was removed and now underhood lies a modern 5.7-liter V-8, mated to a four-speed automatic transmission.

Besides the looks, the Wagoneer's off-road capability has been bolstered, too, courtesy of a boxed and reinforced frame, Dana 44 front and rear axles with lockers, four-link suspension with coilover springs, and 17-inch steel wheels wrapped in 33-inch BF Goodrich Mud-Terrain tires.

While the retro Roadtrip concept gives no direct indication of future Jeep products, it does communicate the brand is committed to its heritage and always up to celebrate the past, while having a load of fun along the way.

• Share your car's story with Matt at auto@dailyherald.com.

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