2016 Jeep Trailcat Concept
Jeep built the ultimate off-roader for the Moab Easter Jeep Safari
It seems like we just got done with Christmas and Easter is already around the corner. But, that’s okay because that means the Moab Easter Jeep Safari is also right around the corner. The Moab Jeep Safari is an annual event held by the Red Rock 4-wheelers off-road club in Moab, Utah, hosting a fun week of off-roading and all around good fun. 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the Safari, and it will surely be one to remember. it also marks the 75th anniversary for the Jeep brand. To pay tribute, Jeep is bringing seven different concepts that are sure to tear up the trails.
There is the Crew Chief 715 that pays homage to Jeep military vehicles, the Jeep Shortcut, which is inspired by the CJ-5 and is designed for winding trails, and there’s even a lifted Jeep Trailstorm that has two-inches of lift, 37-inch tires, and Dana 44 axles. The most interesting of all the concepts, however, is this one – the Jeep Trailcat. As you might have guessed from the name, this baby is powered by the same 707-horsepower mill that powers the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.
With the announcement of the Charger and Challenger Hellcats, immediately Jeep fans started screaming “us too,” and at the Detroit Auto Show, Jeep CEO Mike Manley confirmed that a Hellcat-powered Grand Cherokee was in the works. A week after that, Jeep was caught testing that very model on an empty race track. Now, with the Moab Easter Jeep Safari on the horizon, we’ll finally get a chance to see what a Hellcat-powered Jeep can do on the trails.
A lot of work went into making the concept, and in all honesty, it comes off as a custom build that you might expect some off-road fanatic with lots of money to build in his garage. Jeep says the Trailcat is at home on Moab’s most rugged trails, or on a high-speed section – designating it as the perfect all-around off-roader. With that said, let’s take a closer look at the Trailcat Concept, which could be one of the best off-road concepts that we’ve seen in quite a while.
Continue reading to learn more about the Jeep Trailcat Concept.
It all started with a 2016 Jeep Wrangler. Be that as it may, this puppy isn’t a Wrangler anymore. The first thing to go were the doors, bumpers, and the support cage. In turn, steel front and rear bumpers were installed with a set of fog lights mounted on top of the front bumper. A frame extension is attached to the top of the bumper as well, sitting right above the new lights. The windshield was chopped down by two inches to give the Trailcat a sleeker look, which facilitated for a redesigned support cage from the windshield back. As you can see the new support cage slants down toward the rear not that there isn’t a need for rear headroom.
The hood itself has also changed, being replaced by a power-dome vented hood. The front grille is painted in Satin Black while the headlights and fog lights are now LED units. The doors have also been replaced by tubular units. Here is where it really gets interesting, though, because to accommodate that 6.2-liter HEMI Hellcat V-8, the wheelbase had to be stretched by a total of 12 inches, which also lends a strong stance to the modified Wrangler. Under the body, you’ll find Dana 60 axles in the front and rear, and Fox shocks in place of the standard shock absorbers. This off-road monster rides on 17-inch beadlock wheels that are wrapped in 40-inch BFGoodrich Krawler T/A KX tires.
On the inside, you’ll find more than a few things that point to the Wrangler model that the Trailcat once was. For instance, the same dashboard remains, however in place of the radio, there is simply a trim insert. I guess you don’t need to listen to your favorite tunes while you’re tearing up the trails. The “oh-crap handle” on the passenger side of the dashboard also remains, but the insert on it is painted satin black with a green “Trailcat” logo on the right-hand side. Down below to HVAC controls sits the shifter for the six-speed manual transmission with a custom shifter ball that features the Hellcat logo.
All of the seats in the Trailcat were removed. In the rear, there is what appears to be a storage box, or a strategically placed fuel tank. From our view in the one photo of the interior, it’s hard to tell for sure, but there are clearly no rear seats. The front seats were borrowed from the Dodge Viper and are made from carbon fiber. They are wrapped in Katzkin leather seat covers that have green stitching that matches the exterior paint finish. As Jeep put it, the Trailcat’s interior is “simple, yet functional,” and I would have to say I strongly agree.
The highlight of the Trailcat Concept, as you already know, is the supercharged 6.2-liter Hellcat V-8. It is mated to a six-speed manual transmission that sends power to all four wheels. Remember to make that engine fit, Jeep had to stretch the wheelbase by an entire foot, but somehow it managed to cram the massive power plant in there.
Jeep didn’t elaborate on what kind of numbers this baby can post, but given the setup and what we know about the Hellcat powerplant, this sucker isn’t something to mess with. With this Hemi engine producing 650 pound-feet of torque, and those 40-inch tires, I can’t image much this thing couldn’t climb or cross. Hell, it’s fast enough to clear small gaps with a relatively short straightaway, if you really get brave enough to do so.
If I had to guess, I would have to say that 60 mph on a straightaway will probably come in 4.2 seconds – about 0.7-seconds slower than the Hellcat-powered cars. Top speed is probably upward of 170 mph, but I doubt you would ever want to take this thing that fast. It’s meant for hitting the trails and climbing over rough terrain, not drag racing. However, if someone wants to get frisky on the easier tracks, I’m sure the Trailcat would easily fulfill the thirst driven by any man’s need for speed. Hopefully, we’ll get to see some video footage of this concept in action later this month in Moab.
This is such an awesome concept that we’re looking at here. Jeep obviously put a lot of work into it, especially with having to stretch the wheelbase so far to accommodate that large Hellcat engine. I think the coolest part about this concept is that if you really wanted to, you could put a similar project together in your own garage – assuming you have all the necessary know-how, that is. Most of the parts like the suspension, wheels and tires, and even the front bumpers can either be fabricated or purchased from aftermarket suppliers. It might cost you a little money, but I doubt it would be that hard to get your hands on the Viper seats.
If I were in charge of things over at Jeep, I would setup a package that Wrangler owners could purchase to visually convert their Wranglers into Trailcat form. From there, interested customers could explore extending the wheelbase, dropping in a Hellcat, and chopping the windshield themselves. It would be one hell of a project, but it’s probably the only way anyone will ever get close to owning a Trailcat. Of course, if consumer reaction supported it, Jeep could offer the Trailcat on a build-to-order basis. That would be an interesting idea, but would probably be pretty appealing to those who love to go off road.