Auburn Hills, Michigan - Each year, the Jeep faithful get together in their thousands around Easter at Moab in Utah for a week of serious off-roading on some of North America's most rugged trails.
And each year Chrysler brings a small fleet of custom-built Jeep specials, partly to show its customers what can be done using off the shelf Mopar accessories and a bit of imagination, and partly to try out new ideas for customising that may or may not find their way into the Mopar catalogue.
This year's Easter Jeep Safari - the 49th! - will run from 28 March to 5 April and these are the Magnificent Seven one-offs that Jeep will showcase at Moab:
Based on a Wrangler with a 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 and six-speed auto transmission, the Chief is a tribute to the classic 1970s Cherokee, evoking the west coast surfer lifestyle with vintage white over blue paint, removable sides, chromed bumpers and 17-inch slotted alloy rims.
The surfer theme continues inside with special Hawaiian-style pink, blue and white-flowered mixed fabric and leather trim, a rosewood grab handle and tiki-style shifter.
The doors and windshield have been chopped 50mm and the Chief rolls on a 50mm lift kit with Fox shocks, Dana 44 axles with lockers, and modified Rubicon rock rails.
This salute to legendary Jeep military vehicles is based on a four-door Wrangler, with basic 16-inch steel rims, Firestone NDT military tyres, canvas roof and bench seats. Power is by V6 Pentastar and undercarriage, as with the Chief, by 50mm Mopar lift kit, Fox Shocks, and Dana 44 axles.
Low-backed bench seats, an integrated roll cage, painted steel floor and a built-in “ammo box” cooler that holds 85 cans complete the interior.
Jeep's take on an expedition vehicle has a 2.8-litre diesel and auto transmission, a Mopar 50mm lift kit with Fox shocks, sway bar links, Dana 44 axles and 17-inch body-colour steel rims, a high-clearance steel front bumper with winch, power step rock rails and an extended rear body and high-top roof.
The inner roof, floor and load bed are finished in polyurethane “bakkie liner”.
GRAND CHEROKEE OVERLAND
This concept is aimed at expeditioneers, featuring a custom-made front bumper with built-in winch and tow hooks, extended wheel-arch flares, SRT tail-lights and bonnet, off-road rock rails and bash plates and 18-inch milled rims shod with BF Goodrich All-terrain T/A tyres.
The roof has been sprayed with bakkie liner and carries a two-person hard-shell rooftop tent, and drive comes courtesy of a three-litre V6 turbodiesel and eight-speed Torqueflight transmission.
RENEGADE DESERT HAWK
Jeep has also jazzed up the new Italian-built, 2.4-litre MultiAir powered Renegade with off-the shelf Mopar stuff, including rock rails, bash plates, trailer hitch, roof rack and special decals depicting the Fins and Things Moab trail.
Inside, there are Katzkin seat covers, body-colour bezel accents and all-weather floor mats.
CHEROKEE CANYON TRAIL
This Cherokee-based concept - also with 2.4-litre Fiat MultiAir power - has a nine-speed automatic transmission with active drive lock, low range and a locking rear differential. It sports Mopar rock rails, two-piece under bash plate, sump and front suspension bash plates as well as custom-made 17-inch painted rims wearing BF Goodrich All Terrain T/A tires, which provide an extra 12mm of lift.
It has a matt black bonnet with a topographical decal showcasing Hell's Revenge, a renowned off-road trail in Moab, Jeep Performance Parts body decals and satin black roof accent trim.
The interior is zhoozhed-up with Katzkin leather seat covers and accent stitching, Jeep Performance Parts embroidered logo on the head restraints, body colour bezel accents, cargo tray mat, cargo management system, a Moab Off-Road bag and all-weather floor mats.
WRANGLER RED ROCK RESPONDER
The Responder is a support vehicle concept, purpose-built to get through the harshest terrain in response to any vehicle emergency, with spare parts and tools stored in the built-in drawers and compartments of the cargo box.
It has a 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 and automatic transmission driving Dana 60 axles with 5.38 gearing and 17-inch beadlock rims with 37-inch BF Goodrich Mud Terrain T/A KM2 tires, lifted 100mm by a Jeep Performance Parts lift kit and Fox shocks.
The Responder wears Wrangler Rubicon 10th Anniversary Edition steel front and rear bumpers, a Warn winch and cargo boxes on each side with a high-lift jack and accessories, fire extinguisher, roadside accessory kit, first aid kit, Snap-on tool soft bags, recovery kit, a dual compressor and air reservoir with air hose and accessories - and even has space for a cooler or a case of water.
It's finished in red with a 10th Anniversary bonnet and hydraulic bonnet supports, Jeep Performance Parts body decals and LED headlights, foglights, A-pillar and off-road spotlights. The inside is just as loud with embroidered black and red Katzkin leather seats, Jeep Performance Parts logo embroidered on the head restraints, red accent bezels, grab handles and all-weather floor mats.