Name: Jeep Gladiator
Debuted: January 2005 at North American International Auto Show in Detroit
Specs: four-cylinder 2.8-liter turbodiesel engine, 163 horsepower, 295 pound-feet (400 Newton-meters) of torque, six-speed manual transmission, four-wheel drive, 4,150 pounds (1,882 kilograms) weight
Why We Remember It Now:
With Jeep allegedly dusting off the “Gladiator” moniker for its new pickup truck (formerly known as "Scrambler"), this week’s Concept We Forgot is dedicated to the namesake concept introduced nearly 14 years ago.
It was way back in 1962 when Jeep introduced the “Gladiator” moniker for a fullsize pickup truck based on the Wagoneer. Much like the latter is making a comeback in standard and Grand Wagoneer forms, the “Gladiator” name is about to be revived if we were to rely on the rumor mill. Today, we’re setting our time machine to the early days of 2005 when the nameplate was temporarily resurrected for a pickup truck. It didn’t have a long life because the Gladiator you see here was merely a concept – a rather cool one at that.
Gallery: 2005 Jeep Gladiator concept
Introduced towards the end of the Wrangler TJ’s life cycle, the Gladiator was described back in the day by Jeep as being a “lifestyle pickup with all of the rugged functionality of the famed Jeep Wrangler.” In other words, it had everything that we love about the Wrangler, plus the added utility of a bed. Speaking of which, the four-foot-wide bed was extendable for carrying longer items, stretching from 5 foot, 8 inches (1,725 mm) to 6 foot, 8 inches (2,026 mm). With the tailgate down, it measured 8 foot, 11 inches (2,723 mm).
Inheriting the Wrangler’s familiar design traits, the Gladiator hasn’t aged at all despite being almost 14 years old. As a nod to pickup trucks from yesteryear, Jeep installed the spare wheel on the side of the bed. Under the spare wheel, there was a lockable storage panel, while quick access inside the cabin was possible through a nifty little panel located to the left of the wheel.
The Gladiator was a veritable workhorse by offering a 1,500-pound (680-kilogram) payload and a more than generous ground clearance of 13.7 inches (348 mm). It sat on 18-inch wheels wrapped in chunky (265/75 R18) tires for both axles, which featured a multi-link suspension offering “smooth ride over all surfaces with plenty of suspension travel for capable off-roading.”
While this Gladiator never saw the light of production day, the new one will. We are actually only a few days away from its confirmed reveal at the Los Angeles Auto Show set to open its doors at the end of the month.