With vehicles like the upcoming full-size SUVs Jeep® Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer that are currently under development, we figured we would take a look at the full-size 2004 Jeep® Rescue Concept. The Rescue showcased some future technology as well as styling that would influence vehicles later in the decade.
The 2004 Jeep Rescue Concept, was designed as the ultimate Jeep search and rescue off-road vehicle. Based on a 2004 Dodge Ram 2500 chassis, the Rescue features true 3/4-ton capability with a unique 80-inch wide and 123-inch wheelbase chassis (which is just over 5-inches wider and 4-inches longer than a current 2020 Dodge Durango). The front hydropneumatic suspension combined with the heavy-duty link-coil rear suspension, adjustable ride height suspension that can give the vehicle an additional 4-inch lift for water fording, the Rescue Concept makes sure it will have a solid footing on all surfaces.
With a set of custom 37-inch, Goodyear MTR treaded tires with run-flat capability and an onboard tire pressure control that allows the ability for the driver to “tune” the tire pressures for the maximum traction depending on the situation.
Under the hood, lied a powerful 5.9-liter High-Output Cummins turbo diesel that produced a 325 horsepower and 600 lb.-ft of torque and was mated to an NV5600 six-speed manual transmission. The Rescue Concept also was equipped with a pair of American Axle and Manufacturing (AAM) 3/4-ton axles and an NV273 part-time transfer case, there is a strong connection with the Dodge Ram 2500.
While the Rescue Concept looks very familiar to the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited models we have come to love over the past 13 years, the Rescue set itself apart by foreshadowing the four-door Wrangler with its bold styling at the time. Just like the Wrangler, the Rescue could be configured to an almost totally open vehicle, with its folding front windshield, a retractable sliding glass sunroof up front and rear fold-forward canvas roof over the rear, as well as featuring removable doors.
On the front of the vehicle, a massive front bumper with massive tow hooks and a winch built into the bumper housing similar to what would be found on the upcoming 2005 Dodge Ram 2500 Power Wagon. But, unlike the Power Wagon, the Rescue Concept also received a winch built in the rear bumper as well. The Rescue also featured white LED lighting for long-distance visual search and reduced power use, a technology that wouldn’t become a reality on Jeep’s until almost 15 years later.
Inside, the Rescue featured a three-row seating arrangement, with fold-flat rear seating to provide room for different rescue needed gear. The stylish and very industrial-grade interior featured a comfortable cabin with lots of room, thanks to its 3/4-ton sized cabin. Passengers could fasten into their seats using 4-point harnesses. The Rescue Concept featured a lot of state-of-the-art technology for the time, that would eventually see its place in Jeep models that currently available today. A large 3D topographical map navigation system could forecast upcoming terrain, while a series of under the chassis cameras, provided a point-of-view camera system allowing the driver to avoid certain dangers in their path.
Adding to the more concept-like features of the cabin was a passive infrared (thermal) cameras, to assist the driver and their passengers for search and rescue. A satellite phone, Very High Frequency (VHF) radio, and digital video recorder with satellite transmission capability also added to the impressive list of search and rescue equipment. The Rescue Concept also featured an AC electric power (10 kW) generator.
The Jeep Rescue Concept not only showed Jeep diehards a styling direction to where the brand was leading but tested the waters for a true full-size SUV at the time and became an iconic concept vehicle for the legendary brand through its place in the world of merchandising. While the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will be more civilized by being based on the new Ram 1500 (DT) architecture, we would like to think a heavy-duty Jeep wouldn’t be entirely out of the question.
So what do you think of the Jeep Rescue Concept? Leave your comments below.
2004 Jeep Rescue Concept Image Gallery: