Back in late March, Jeep showed off it’s latest concepts for the annual Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah. Among the concepts was an amazing retro-fabricated 1965 Jeep Wagoneer, that the FCA Design’s “Jeep Design Operations” team bought off Craigslist last summer from California. The concept was the hit of not just the seven concept that the design team rolled out for the event but was probably the most photographed vehicle at the Easter Jeep Safari this year.
So, when we heard that FCA US lent the concept to our local Mopar group for the first big meeting of the year we had to go see it in a natural setting. The Detroit Area Modern Mopar (DAMM) group held their meet at Stony Creek Metropark in Shelby Twp., Michigan. It was the perfect back drop for what this vehicle was for.
First off, let me say I am kind of biased when it comes to Wagoneers. The Jeep Wagoneer (SJ) models, are my favorite vehicle of all time. But this Wagoneer Roadtrip concept, is simply amazing.
Right off the bat, the first thing you notice is the color. While it’s not the original color of the truck, it’s a re-imagined version of it that they call “Mintage Green”. In a parking lot, filled with Dodge Charger and Challengers in a variety of high impact colors like Sublime, Plum Crazy and TorRed, it stands out. It is outlined in almost a buttermilk color that highlights the roof, bumpers and wheels. The grille was also updated from the “Rhino” grille to the classic “Razor” styled grille from the Wagoneers of the mid-60s to the late-70s.
The Jeep Design Operations team stretched the wheelbase 5-inches on the Roadtrip. Body panels were altered to accommodate the wider track and custom fender flares. They even installed intergraded rock rails into the truck. But, one of the most unique elements of the Roadtrip is its beautiful glass windows throughout the vehicle. It is made with Bottle Green architectural glass, which gives you the feeling of looking at a classic glass Coca-Cola bottle.
Inside the Wagoneer Roadtrip is an amazing Oxblood-colored leather that covers both the front and rear bench seats, door panels, as well as kick and rear panels too. The ceiling is covered with a very retro wicker material. While the floor, cargo area and interior side of the tailgate are covered in a body color bed-liner material.
Under the skin is where the Roadtrip really shines. The Jeep Design Operations team boxed and reinforced the old SJ frame. Dana 44 front and rear lockers, four-link suspension with coilover springs were also installed. Big 33-inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A are wrapped around 17-inch steel wheels painted in that buttermilk color. While the engine is a Mopar sourced 5.7L HEMI V8 create motor mated to a 4-speed automatic transmission.
The Roadtrip wouldn’t be an Easter Jeep Safari concept, if it didn’t have a ton of Easter eggs across the vehicle. A custom cooler made from a period-correct luggage set and a tool box created from the valve cover of this truck’s original 230 Tornado OHC-6 engine accompany the interior. The toolbox itself has a compass built into where the oil cap was originally placed and bottle opener on the side. Period correct stickers were reproduced and placed on the exterior glass of the windows. The roof is also equipped with vintage fishing rods and skis.
The Wagoneer Roadtrip Concept is not only a great nod to the 1960s outdoorsman adventure vehicle, but simply is one of the best vehicles to capture 1960s Americana.