Meet the Jeep Wrangler Red Rock Concept Vehicle from SEMA 2015
In what has been just shy of two decades, the success of the Jeep Wrangler has been sort of an enigma. Maintaining much of the same overall design, the Wrangler has consistently offered excellent driving performance alongside steadily increasing amenities and features to bring what is today one of the best selling, most internationally-renowned compact mid-size SUVs on the market.
Those who have seen even a used Jeep Wrangler for sale are undoubtedly impressed with the model’s legendary longevity on the road and durability even in the toughest situations. With such a great track record, Jeep has not needed to make many major structural or performance improvements off of the original excellent design.
Perhaps that is why the Wrangler is such a good template for special editions and concept cars, with Jeep having produced over a dozen such editions – to wide critical acclaim – since the model’s debut. While each of these special editions has offered all the same reliable offroading power and casual style of the standard Wrangler (and then some), a few of these special editions have really made a stand on their own for originality and intriguing design.
One such concept model that comes to mind is the newly revealed Red Rocks Concept Wrangler, first unveiled at the 2015 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) trade show in Las Vegas earlier this month.
Built in partnership with renowned auto parts maker Mopar, Jeep created this concept as an homage to the Red Rock 4-Wheelers off-road club, which hosts an annual Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah each spring.
For 2016, Jeep wanted a special edition Wrangler to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Easter Jeep Safari, which began in 1967 and has run every year since, taking contestants through an off-road drive along the “Behind the Rocks Trail” at Red Rocks, Colorado. The result: a powerful piece of machinery dubbed the Red Rock Concept.
Modeled after the classic red Wrangler, this concept will serve as the model for a limited 50-vehicle production run of a Red Rock special edition, slated to begin in 2016. Each special edition vehicle will be individually serialized, identifying each as a member of this exclusive line.
These serialized models will come standard with may of the amenities added especially for the Red Rocks concept, with many of the excluded improvements available from Mopar as after market additions.
“The annual Easter Jeep Safari remains one of the most significant events on any Jeep enthusiast’s calendar,” said Mike Manley, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA Global, in an official press release on the Red Rocks concept.
“We’re extremely grateful to the Red Rock 4-Wheelers for continuing this iconic Jeep event, and we present our Wrangler Red Rock Concept as a tribute to them and the enthusiasts who attend the annual Jeep Safari and support our brand,” said Manley.
Jeep began production on the Red Rock Concept by starting with its classic Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon Hard Rock edition. This means the concept started with next-generation Dana 44 solid front and rear axles, a power dome vented hood, a Rock-Trac transfer case with a 4.10 axle ratio, new premium off-road rock rails, and front and rear red tow hooks inherited from the Hard Rock edition.
The Red Rock also inherited Tru-Lok electronic locking differentials and a 4:1 low-range ratio from the Wrangler Rubicon Hard Rock. Boasting a similar 73.1:1 crawl ratio with the manual transmission, the Red Rock Concept can climb and scale obstacles like nobody’s business.
The Red Rock Concept’s impressive profile and off-road prowess are only enhanced further by a 2-inch lift kit, 17-inch bead lock wheels – standard in low gloss black with low gloss Granite Crystal bead lock rings – wrapped in bold 35-inch BFG K02 all-terrain tires, LED headlamps and fog lights, and a Jeep-branded CB radio. These together make the Red Rocks Concept a truly impressive tool for even the roughest, toughest off-road driving.
For ultimate towing power, the Red Rock Concept includes an aftermarket Warn Rubicon winch, along with a reinforced swing gate and wheel mount along with front and rear differential covers.
And the impressive customizations don’t stop on the outside. For this concept, Jeep sprung for Amaretto Brown Katzkin leather seats with silver accent stitching and a “Red Rock” embroidered seat back logo, an impressive interior for a concept with an already dominating exterior. Together, they make one seriously cool-looking off road vehicle.
And, being based as it is off the Wrangler Rubicon Hard Rock Edition, this concept comes standard with all of the Hard Rock’s typical gear. This includes its powerful, efficient 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine, capable of pumping out 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. With an impressive fuel efficiency of 16 mpg city and 21 mpg highway, the Red Rock Concept can travel an estimated 472 highway miles on a single tank of gas – critical in a high-stakes desert race or long-distance excursion.
But the Red Rock Concept doesn’t just share a body and engine with the Wrangler Rubicon Hard Rock – it also includes all the standard and available amenities. That means that while you’re cruising through the desert in this impressive concept, or in one of its special-edition offspring, you could be gripping onto that available leather-wrapped steering wheel and blasting your own tunes through the incredible available Alpine Premium sound system.
You will be hard pressed to find yourself lost even in the most barren terrain with the help of the Wrangler’s standard Radio 430N with entertainment features, phone, and web-connectivity by Mopar, SiriusXM Travel Link, Navigation by Garmin with intuitive user interface and navigation with lane guidance, and Uconnect Voice Command. For a piece of machinery so well adapted to the rough and tumble outdoors, the Red Rocks definitely maintains its modernity through its impressive tech amenities.
The Red Rocks concept can certainly turn heads simply with the improvements to its exterior – not to mention all of the impressive care given to making a ride in this and every Wrangler as comfortable and luxurious as possible. With illuminated footwells and illuminated center console cup holders, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with LED map lights, and an available Automatic Temperature Control system to adjust heating and cooling cycles, this concept offers superior rideability alongside its already superior driveability.
“The Jeep Wrangler is the most accessorized vehicle in our portfolio, with almost 100 percent of customers buying at least one accessory or performance part,” said Pietro Gorlier, Head of Parts and Service (Mopar), FCA – Global, in the release on the Red Rocks Concept.
“Mopar continues to support serious off-roaders by offering a full line of high-end, hard-core quality aftermarket Jeep Performance Parts to personalize their rides and tackle extreme trails,” said Gorlier.
Mopar (a contraction of the words Motor and Parts) has been offering excellent auto parts and services for nearly eighty years and is no stranger to partnering with Jeep in the creation of special edition and concept models. This Red Rocks concept is actually the most recent of over 50 concept cars developed by Jeep and Mopar for the Easter Jeep Safari since 2002, and reigns as the most impressive and stylish to date.
So whether you’re a die-hard, lifelong Jeep Wrangler enthusiast or you’ve just had your interest piqued by a used Jeep Wrangler for sale near you, it’s worthwhile to check out this amazing Red Rocks Concept from Jeep and Mopar. You knows? If you really like it, maybe you could be one of the lucky recipients of the Red Rocks Special Edition upon its release. One thing is for certain, however: this concept is a seriously impressive piece of engineering.
Photos: © Jeep/FCA