The annual Easter Jeep Safari is the pinnacle of 4x4 celebrations. Off-road enthusiasts from near and far travel to cake their rides in dirt from the pristine playground of Moab, Utah. Just ahead of the event I got the chance to drive some of the coolest concepts that made their way to Moab this year. Just like in past years, Jeep rolled out a buffet of fun builds, showcasing plug-in, electric, diesel, and V8 powertrains in the process.
The highlight of this year’s group was the reformed electric Wrangler, named Magneto 2.0. I drove the first version of this project a year ago, and took Jeep’s word when it said the original wasn’t anywhere close to production. This year, Magneto arrived with 625 horsepower, 40-inch rubber, and numerous other off-road upgrades to make it even more of a monster off-road. While it may not be anywhere near production, the Magneto 2.0 proves that a Wrangler EV will be a total riot on the trails in the future.
Next on the docket was Bob, a Gladiator with a foot of its bed missing – a trend commonly known as “bobbing” a truck. The Gladiator has built a bit of a reputation for tough departure and approach angles due to its long overhangs, so Bob’s main purpose is to alleviate that. Jeep took things a bit further adding carbon fiber fender flares, 40-inch tires, and King shocks for full attack mode.
Powering this build is the 3.0-liter diesel engine, my least favorite of the Wrangler lineup, but the low-end grunt helped Bob over the rocks with little stress. A mix of clever design and serious hardware, this shortbed Gladiator represents one of the most fun trends in the Jeep community.
My day ended with an absolutely unexpected twist with the Jeep M275 concept, a Vietnam War–era ambulance converted into a modern beverage truck. Powered by the 6.4-liter Hemi V8 from the Wrangler 392, this enormous machine is a sleeper in its own right. Jeep cleared out the back section of its original equipment and put a full bar area in its place, complete with two beer taps and space for a keg.
To my surprise, several Jeep designers walked over to me and insisted that I drive the monstrosity over the rock course, probably just to make them laugh. I took them up on the offer and, well, watch the results for yourself.
We have a full breakdown of Jeep’s entire range of concept cars from this year, but this was a chance to drive some of the highlights. Easter Jeep builds don’t typically come to fruition, at least in their current form. However, any company that is willing to put its unproven concepts on the dirt and in the hands of people outside the company deserves recognition for that.