Jeep’s throwback tribute to the CJ-5

The 2016 Easter Jeep Safari is nearing its invasion of Moab, Utah and Jeep has certainly made preparations. In fact, the automaker has built seven custom concept vehicles for the annual event. Jeep has been a part of the Easter Jeep Safari, a Jeep club event, for quite a while, having prepared concept vehicles for the trail run since 2002. The Safari itself has been held since 1966, making 2016 its 50th anniversary. It also happens to be Jeep’s 75th anniversary. With so much compiled into one event, Jeep went all-out with this year’s concepts.

One of the seven concept vehicles is this, the Wrangler Shortcut Concept. It’s built as a throwback to honor the classic Jeep CJ-5 that began production in the mid-1950s. it’s called Shortcut for its short wheelbase, body-hugging bumpers, and its ability to navigate tight, winding trails that would otherwise halt a larger vehicle.

The Jeep, along with its six other companion vehicles, were built with by Jeep and FCA’s iconic Mopar brand using Mopar parts, Jeep Performance Parts, and one-off-built parts. Jeep engineers, designers, and fabricators all took part in the concepts’ creations. After their initial trial-by-fire at the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, the vehicles will be used for promotional and exhibition purposes, touring the country to car and Jeep shows.

The 2016 Easter Jeep Safari takes place in Moab, Utah March 19 through 27. It’s open to anyone in the Jeep-loving public who have pre-registered.

Continue reading to learn more about the Jeep Shortcut Concept.

Exterior

The Wrangler Shortcut obviously looks different than a regular two-door Wrangler. It’s almost hard to pinpoint what the Jeep team has done, until looking close. Up front, the Wrangler’s ugly plastic bumper was ditched for a chrome-plated steel bar that recalls the CJ-5’s steel bumper. Two tow hooks provide recovery points and two slots on the passenger side can hold a license plate. It’s simple and sweet.

"The hood is also unique, getting that classic power dome in the center, just like the CJ-5."

The front grille is also special, having been set at a steeper angle and narrowed by a couple inches. You’ll notice how the headlights encroach the vertical grille slots. The hood is also unique, getting that classic power dome in the center, just like the CJ-5.

Around to the side, the Wrangler’s removable doors have been removed for good – Jeep fabricators filled in the door jam, removed the hinges and latches, and make the opening look more seamless than before. Out back, custom taillights sit flat on the fenders rather than hanging off the sides like on the production Wrangler JK. The tailgate is also a one-off piece, getting the classic Jeep logo stamped into the metal. Chrome-plated hinges allow the tailgate to fold down rather than swing out – again, just like the CJ-5. A matching chrome bumper like the front unit brings up the rear. A single tow hook provides a rear recovery point.

The badging is also unique. A chrome-plated and scripted “Shortcut” badge adorns the rear while old-school-style “V6” badges ride on the front fenders. Just above the V6 logo is a Jeep logo stamped into the metal. This was last seen on the previous generation Wrangler TJ and on all models prior.

Continuing the classic look, the Jeep team remove the modern roll bar assembly and replaced it with an old-school hoop and supports. Since the bars wouldn’t’ protect backseat passengers very well, the rear bench is removed. Down low, the Jeep rides on 17-inch solid steel wheels wrapped in BFGoodrich Mud Terrain T/A KM2 tires.

Interior

2016 Jeep Shortcut Concept - image 669116

Jeep designers obviously has some fun with Shortcut’s interior. The factory interior was removed and a thick, red coat of truck bed liner was sprayed on the floor. The factory dash was re-installed, but with the lower half painted in a matching red color. Next, the seats got a complete makeover with low-back buckets wrapped in alligator-style leather and plaid inserts. The red alligator hide continues onto the center console lid. The combination looks fantastic and is certainly something we’d expect to see in a now-antique car. For an extra bit of fun, a red bandanna is kept tied around the steering column.

Drivetrain

"The 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and five-speed automatic transmission are left unchanged"

Things are kept mostly stock under the hood. The 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and five-speed automatic transmission are left unchanged, save for a modified exhaust system. In its stock form, the engine produces 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque.

The same can’t be said for Shortcut’s suspension system. The Jeep team upgraded the axles to Dana 44s front and rear and added a two-inch suspension lift with Fox Racing shocks. That allows the Jeep to traverse nearly any obstacle found in Moab.

Conclusion

2016 Jeep Shortcut Concept - image 669117

The Jeep and Mopar team did a fantastic job of capturing the iconic looks of the classic CJ-5 with this modern-day Wrangler JK. Sure the engine and dash are dead giveaways, but a quick glance by an untrained eye would likely result in a peg this Jeep for something much older.

While Jeep doesn’t have any known plans to produce something like this on a mass scale (not that it could with the old-school roll bar), the simple exercise of creating this concept rig is something awesome. The Jeep team is known to be some of the most brand-loyal and passionate folks in the industry who enjoy their products just as much as consumers. The quality of this build, and its six concept comrades, goes to show how much dedication and fun went into these projects. We can’t wait to see them tackle the Utah desert!

  • Leave it
    • No engine modifications
    • Only a concept

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Press Release

A carefully crafted take on the beloved Jeep CJ-5, this Wrangler-based concept vehicle invokes the spirit of 1950s Americana with a shortened body and functional simplicity.

Exterior styling cues include a unique grille, hood, tailgate, front and rear wheel flares and custom chrome front and rear bumpers. A modified exhaust, 17-inch red steel wheels and 35-inch BF-Goodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM2 tires help the Jeep Shortcut maintain the look of an icon.

Jeep Performance Parts featured on the Shortcut include a front and rear Dana 44 axle and a 2-inch lift with Fox shocks. Overall body length has been reduced by more than 12 inches to keep the Shortcut concept vehicle light and maneuverable on the trails.

Inside, the simple yet functional interior features low-back leather bucket seats with plaid inserts, a red ball shifter handle, four-point safety cage and Mopar all-weather mats.

The Jeep Shortcut is powered by the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine and mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission.

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