Entering its third year in production, the 2023 Jeep® Wrangler (JL) Unlimited Rubicon 392 is the halo vehicle of the Wrangler lineup. With its 470 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque 6.4-liter (392 cubic inch) HEMI V8, the Rubicon 392 is the most capable and powerful production Wrangler ever. But it’s not the first time a 392 HEMI was put under the hood of the Wrangler by the Chrysler Group.
Everyone knows that Jeep and Mopar have teased multiple HEMI V8-powered Wranglers over the past dozen years. But there is one concept that many people have forgotten, which was one of the first inspirations that would lead Jeep to finally create the current Rubicon 392.
Stepping back to 2007, Jeep was hot off the release of its all-new Wrangler (JK) and more significantly the four-door Wrangler Unlimited model. At the time it marked the biggest leap forward for the Wrangler, moving away from its true Willys roots.
To help showcase the possibilities of this “new” Wrangler, Mopar unveiled its Wrangler Ultimate Concept at the 2007 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show.
Starting with a 2007 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon, the Mopar Underground design team set out to create the “ultimate” Wrangler at the time – combining premium style and the best off-road machine at the time.
Unlike the current Rubicon 392 (which features the 392 HEMI from the Dodge//SRT Scat Pack models), the Wrangler Ultimate Concept was equipped with a Mopar 392 HEMI crate motor. The fuel-injected 392 HEMI, produced around 525 horsepower at the time, but official horsepower and torque numbers were never published for the Ultimate Concept.
The Mopar Underground team enhanced the Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon with a 3-inch suspension lift, to help fit 35-inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain rubber wrapped around custom, polished Alcoa Forged 18-inch wheels.
While chrome isn’t on most enthusiasts’ lists these days, in 2007, the Mopar Underground gave the Ultimate Concept numerous chrome touches. This included a chrome fuel filler door, taillamp guards, tubular side steps, side mirrors, tow hooks, door handles, hood hinges, and even the fascia overlays. To help offset all of the chrome, the exterior was painted in an experimental Liquid Charcoal Pearl.
Inside, the Ultimate Concept was outfitted with premium touches. The seating surfaces feature Orange mesh fabric and Dark Slate Gray Nappa leather with Black baseball-like stitching. The instrument panel was also treated with Argent Pearl/Satin Silver color highlights. Showing just how far the Wrangler has come in 15 years, the Ultimate Concept featured the new at the time MyGIG™ Multimedia Infotainment System and DVD screens for passengers in the front and rear.
While the 2023 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 392 comes equipped with heavy-duty Dana 44 front and rear axles with thicker axle tubes, a 2-inch factory lift, specially-tuned high-performance FOX aluminum monotube shocks, and Tru-Lok electronic locking differentials, there is no doubt the dreams of a high-performance Wrangler four-door were put into place long ago by the team in Auburn Hills!
2007 Jeep® Wrangler Ultimate with 392 HEMI Concept from Mopar Image Gallery: