Thursday, August 16, 2007

Jeep May Bring Back Wrangler-Based Scrambler Pickup

DEATH VALLEY, Calif. — Rumors of a Jeep-based pickup truck have been circulating since the debut of the Gladiator concept in 2005, but this test mule caught in the California desert suggests work on a production model may be under way.

Although the test mule caught undergoing hot-weather testing is clearly based on the latest JK chassis, whether it will make its way to the U.S. is unclear. The prototype is right-hand drive and is equipped with leaf springs, so it's most likely a military-spec model designed for the export market.

The Jeep JT Concept truck, which has been making the rounds at various events this year, was built from just such a vehicle. When asked if the JT indicated plans for a production model, Jeep's engineers said no decisions have been made, but they built the JT using minimal modification to show just how plausible a modern-day Scrambler could be built.

Even if a production version of the Scrambler gets the green light, don't expect to see it in showrooms until at least 2009 at the earliest.

What this means to you: Jeep saw what adding an extra two doors did for Wrangler sales, maybe it's hoping the addition of a utility bed can further expand the Wrangler's appeal.

Right-hand drive setup and hood-mounted snorkel suggest this is a military-spec Jeep instead of preproduction prototype. (Photo by KGP Photography)
This is clearly the same chassis as the current Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, but with the rear doors welded shut, it's not much for hauling the family. (Photo by KGP Photography)
Leaf springs out back and a utility bed inside are two more signs this Jeep isn't headed for showrooms anytime soon. (Photo by KGP Photography)

No comments: