Jeep FC 150 Concept
Jeep’s classic Forward Control keeps truckin’ with new underpinningsby Mark McNabb, on
Jeep’s 1960 FC 150 Concept is what happens when old meets new. Jeep and Mopar engineers decided to pair the FC’s cab and bed with the underpinnings of a 2005 Jeep Wrangler TJ, combining the old-school looks of the FC with 21st century technology.
Why go through all the trouble? Well, for the 2016 Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah, of course. This year marks the 50th running of the famed trail for the Jeep Safari club, as well as the 75th anniversary for the Jeep brand. Needless to say, Jeep brass wanted to commemorate the occasion well.
The FC 150 Concept is only one of seven specialized concept vehicles built for the 2016 Easter Jeep Safari, continuing a tradition started in 2002 when Jeep began showing off concept vehicles on the desert trail. This year’s event takes place March 19 through 27 in Moab, Utah and is open to pre-registered participants.
For those with good memories, you’ll recall this isn’t the first time a Forward Control has made the Moab concept list. In 2012, Jeep built the Mighty FC Concept based on a Wrangler JK. It was pretty awesome and paid tribute to the original FC – what we see here.
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You’d never know anything was different about this antique FC 150 by looking at it – besides perhaps the modern BFGoodrich Mud Terrain T/A KM2 tires. And that’s what makes it fun! The body still bears all the scares of farm life on a cattle ranch. Heck, Jeep is even keeping a bale of hay in the bed for character.
The FC 150’s front end is where most things happen. With it being a forward control design (hints the FC designation), the driver and passenger sit nearly on top of the front axle. The squared-off cab might not be the posterboy for aerodynamics, but the design allows for Smart Car-style u-turns. That can come in handy on tight trails. Out back, the bed still features the original tailgate with its chain hooks and iconic, hand-painted emblems. A tough I-beam rear bumper features a reverse light and pintle hitch.
Jeep didn’t divulge too much information about the FC 150’s interior, besides saying the seats are vinyl, accented by a custom headliner wrapped in a vintage duck hunting pattern. There’s also a CB radio, an analog compass, and Mopar all-weather floor mats. We’d be the gauges and switchgear are all kept in the original style.
Drivetrain & Suspension
Jeep Wrangler TJ pictured
While the FC 150 looks antique on the outside, underneath things are different. The truck rides on a ladder frame from a 2005 Jeep Wrangler TJ. Both axles are upgraded, with a Dana 44 up front and a massive Dana 60 out back. This gives the FC 150 a huge advantage in strength and reliability. Solid 17-inch wheels with old-school hub caps keep the retro look going, while modern 33-inch BFGoodrich tires give it outstanding traction.
Power comes from the Wrangler TJ’s legendary 4.0-liter inline six-cylinder. In 2005, the PowerTech I-6 was rated at 190 horsepower and 235 pound-feet of torque. Jeep didn’t mention any power improvements, so the engine is likely in its stock form – at least for the most part. Mated to the iron block straight six is an old-school, three-speed automatic transmission. Of course, Jeep included the TJ’s part-time, manually operated, two-speed transfer case, giving the FC 150 a robust 4WD system.
It’s downright amazing to me that Jeep could rescue a dilapidated antique and bring it back to life. Imagine this truck, sitting forgotten in some mid-western bar, only to be transformed into a modern machine that represents the Jeep brand at one of the biggest events the automaker attends. That’s good stuff.
While nearly all of me loves what Jeep did, a small part cringes with the thought of cutting up an original FC 150. I keep telling myself the frame was rusted through and the engine ceased – whether it’s true or not. At least I’ll sleep better tonight. Regardless, this is an awesome custom job that perfectly marries the past and (somewhat) present in a fun package that will attract a ton of attention. And that’s just what Jeep needs at the Easter Jeep Safari.