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Twenty Five Great Jeep Concepts From The Past

This week Jeep introduced some amazing concept vehicles, specifically the Mighty FC (Forward Control) and JC-12 concepts. All of us here at Hooniverse love them – they’re just amazingly awesome and we all want them, especially the FC. Unfortunately neither of those will ever be built. 

While discussing if we should or shouldn’t run the pictures of those new concepts, which are now all over the internet, we have concluded that we should instead run pictures of Jeep concept vehicles from the past. You see, Jeep has a history of making fantastic concept vehicles none of which were even remotely intended for production.

After the jump we look at some of the many Jeep concept from the last two decades or so. All of us here prefer the production-ready concepts rather than production vehicles with aftermarket bolt-ons or wild-ass-hair one-offs. Those real-life concepts, such as the new FC, give a glimpse of what once was and what could have been.

This is not an all-inclusive list. In my research I have found many more Jeep concepts but their pictures were not always good or the concepts themselves were just insignificant, such as the Fender (as in the guitar) Jeep Wrangler. There is a number of horrid Jeep concepts in this list too – I left them in there intensionly in case you thought that the Compass is the worst Jeep ever.

My favorites from this list are the production-ready and tough J8 and the awesome Nukizer 715. I also love the expedition ready Wrangler Overland. Those latest concepts have been created by a team called “Mopar Underground” which is said to be Jeep engineers working outside of work hours. Take a bow guys, those are great. Too bad the bean-counters, industry experts, marketing specialists, and product managers will never allow these vehicles to see the light of day.

1990 Jeep Freedom Concept


1991 Jeep Wagoneer 2000 Concept


1993 Jeep Ecco Concept


1997 Jeep Dakar Concept


1997 Jeep Icon Concept


1997 Jeep Wrangler Ultimate Rescue Concept


2000 Jeep Commander Concept


2000 Jeep Varsity Concept


2001 Jeep Willys Concept


2001 Jeep Willys 2 Concept


2004 Jeep Liberator CRD


2004 Jeep Rescue Concept


2004 Jeep Treo Concept


2005 Jeep Gladiator Concept


2005 Jeep Hurricane Concept


2005 Jeep Jeepster Concept


2007 Jeep Trailhawk Concept


2008 Jeep Renegade Concept


2009 Jeep JT Concept


2009 Jeep J8 Sarge


2010 Jeep Lower Forty


2011 Jeep Wrangler Overland


2010 Jeep Nukizer 715 Concept


2011 Jeep Wrangler JK8 Independence Concept


2011 Jeep Wrangler Pork Chop Concept


  • buzzboy7

    I like the JT. Reminiscent of
    <img src="http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6089/6047147070_0aba469440_z.jpg&quot; width="600">

  • acarr260

    The renewal of interest in Jeeps that will never see production is going to push some people over the edge… or finally motivate me to pull the old FC out of the barn.

    • Let me understand this… you have an FC in the barn and you haven't touched it in some time?

      • acarr260

        I've posted its sad picture on here before… Longrooffan has already called first dibs on her if I ever decide to get rid of her.
        <img src="http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4036/4387444638_880668d780.jpg&quot; alt="P1000209" height="375" width="500">
        It's been in storage since the mid- or late-90's.
        Also, said barn is on a family farm that's a 4-hour drive from where I live, so wrenching on it on the weekends is difficult.

      • acarr260

        The FC also has to fight for my restoration/fixing budget. In the same barn as this is my car from high school ('74 Monte Carlo; it was a "classic" when I graduated… I'm not that old), and my father has a '72 Chevelle SS in his garage that he has told me I can have if I want to pull it out and fix it up. So far, I'm socking my money away to get the Chevelle up and running first.

        • Good luck… let us know if you want to part with it.

          • acarr260

            That's what everybody says… I'm really starting to doubt their sincerity with the Good luck part of that statement.

    • Do it. Now. I'm so envious that you can probably feel the Envy Radiation across the interweb tubes.

      • acarr260

        I've posted the picture on here before, but look above your comment and you can see that it's not as simple as pulling her out of the barn and adding some fresh gas. Since that picture was taken, we aired up the tires, broke loose the rear drums (with a backhoe… they were really, really stuck), and it was moved to a newer barn with better insulation.

  • njhoon

    The Nukizer gets me all tingly. I know it is 'New Kiaser' but I also saw it as 'Nuke Izer', either way it still make me tingly.

    • acarr260

      I want… no, I need a Jeep that can do a slap wheelie like a monster truck!

  • Miguel / Veloz Media
  • Miguel / Veloz Media
  • Miguel / Veloz Media
  • Miguel / Veloz Media

    UGH. Sorry guys.

  • These seem to alternate between production ready/you could put this together at the parts counter (or somebody is already doing this aftermarket) and WTF. Very few in between.

    • Speaking of "production ready/you could put this together at the parts counter", the Freedom could have been produced so easily…and I would have sold my hijankelbits for one in the early '90s.

      • I want the Overland. Badly.

        • Is there anything on there you couldn't buy and bolt on a Wrangler yourself? Looks like a lightly modified Wrangler Unlimited to me.

          • No, it's actually quite easy:
            – 2" lift kit (pick one, even spring spacers will do)
            – Mopar steel "snow wheels"
            – 35" M/Ts should fit without fender mods
            – Roof rack, bumpers, winch, snorkel, blah, blah, all COTS stuff.

      • I really surprised I couldn't find one produced by somebody like these guys: http://www.newportspecialtycars.com/index.htm

    • Yup.

      The crazy crazy and "here's a pile of available parts" ones are of little interest to me, aside from retroactively seeing the geneses of styling elements that came later.

      The "it's so easy"! ones like the Dakar or J8 hurt the worst. Don't give me this "oh, just buy the parts from AEV" shit, because an extra $15k for a custom build is not the same as available OEM.

      The (big) Rescue would've been awesome during the heady days of ~2003-2008 before big SUVs were The Devil. Would've been nice to have those around on the used market, as the chassis they're based on has a service life measured in geological time.

      With the death of the Dakota, maybe there's now an internal business case for a Jeep truck again.

  • BlackIce_GTS

    The Jeepster is from 1998. It always reminds me of Top Gear Overdrive on the N64.

    • Tiller188

      Heresy though it might be to Jeep fans, and as much as I love a lot of these concepts (that Nukizer is awesome), the Jeepster caught my eye. I think it's because those fenders made me think of this:

      <img src="http://sbiii.com/smottpix/tnkhist7.jpg&quot;, width="500">

      Suddenly I really want to see a tracked and armored version of the Jeepster. Because rally tank.

  • eCurmudgeon

    Am I the only one who took a look at the Hurricane concept and thought "Warthog"?

    • Smells_Homeless

      Nope. Well, yes, kind of. I thought "ElChupathingy."

      • eCurmudgeon

        "Like a… puma?"
        "Yeah! There you go…"

    • battEryJEEP

      Did you know that the Hurricane had two HEMI's? One in the front AND the back? WTF to that!

  • That Jeep Wrangler Overland concept makes me want to fill it with steaks and beer and disappear into the desert for two weeks. What a nice rig. Of course if it were actually sold, it would make it no further than the mall.

  • pj134
  • Brian Driggs

    I really, REALLY like the Willys2 and Treo concepts, but actually sold my GVR4 to buy a first Gen Montero specifically so I can build my own overland vehicle like the Wrangler Overland pictured above. That's just awesome.

    • Damn, you must be the only one.
      I saw the Montero pics… I envy you, can';t wait to see what you have up your sleve.

  • Marcal

    The Rescue Concept looks like really cool to me. Simple, efficient, effective.

  • facelvega

    Is it just me, or are NONE of these concepts even close to the Jeepy goodness of the new Mighty FC? I also appreciate that Jeep has done the more sedate red version of the Nukizer, more practical and good because I never saw the Nuke before. I don't mind all the Wrangler packages and Scrambler versions from the list, but they are all simple suggestions. All their crazy-looking concepts of the past 20 years don't seem Jeep at all, just more boring concept cars like any other automaker churns out. Not even tough, and accessing only the kind of sad, glitzier, fat and fake reality that the Rover Evoque evokes. Was there a big turnover is the jeep design and engineering department last year? Because suddenly it seems that they are abruptly, beautifully back on track.

  • JayP2112

    The Ecco has a stink about it like the JJ… the K-Car of Jeeps (Yea- I know… it used Omni bits)
    <img src="http://www.allpar.com/images/jeep/jj.jpg"&gt;
    While looking for that ^^^^^ I found this…
    <img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_i_AovfzNXgQ/SlAYH7Q2nTI/AAAAAAAAzz8/sa4WAiu1o6s/s400/1958-jeep-fc-van-prototype_28500255.jpg"&gt;

    • pj134

      The JJ would have been able to get up a 60 degree slope in loose soil. That ain't no K-car.

  • Number_Six

    What the hell happened 91 – 93?

    • Equal Opportunities acts saw the styling studios being forced to employ more blind, stupid people.

  • I'd quite like to see a Jeep / Chrysler concept for a vehicle that doesn't have an interior that feels like its made from the same material as the tray from a box of chocolates.

    • Maymar

      Hey, it's at least Rubbermaid-grade material.

      Seriously though, the new stuff's pretty nice inside.

      • To be fair I've not driven a current gen Cherokee, but found the Patriot and Commander a little, er, unappetizing. As well as the Compass and Dodge Nitro. And 300C. And Avenger. And the Caliber.

        • Maymar

          Most of the major changes were enacted for 2011 – only the Nitro and Liberty (Cherokee in the UK?) haven't benefited from updates beyond a steering wheel. Granted, the refreshed interior in the Caliber/Compatriot isn't exceptional, but better (although the new Dart is supposed to be phenomenal).

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  • boxdin

    Where’s the new FC forward control w the gear driven axles? That is the coolest concept from Jeep ever.

    • I agree, but this article was written before that FC concept was shown.

  • boxdin

    As I recall the FC is two years old? Shown at Moab at least two yrs ago. Many of these shown are more than two years old.