Wrangler Flattop Concept

Styled more akin to a sailor's haircut than an aircraft carrier, the Flattop sports a chopped top and runs 37s without a lift. According to that Jeep's designer, 40s are "dumb." The windowless, no-B-pillar Flattop has a one-piece lightweight roof that sits 2 inches lower than stock. The grille comes from the Dragon special edition for the Chinese market, and it gets modified Rubicon 10th Anniversary hood and bumpers, Warn Zeon winch, and TeraFlex spare tire carrier. It's all finished in sandstone metallic paint with copper and brown details on grille surrounds, hinges, side rails, mirrors, tow hooks, and the LED headlight trim.

To fit the M/T 37s, the fender flares are 1.5 inches wider and mounted 3 inches higher. The fenders were then opened up underneath, a process the designer noted could be undertaken by the backyard mechanic. Mopar is working on adding something very close to these to the catalog. Underneath, the six-speed manual Flattop breathes through Mopar intake and exhaust, runs Dynatrac ProRock 44 and 60 with ARB air lockers, TeraFlex anti-roll bars, Full-Traction control arms, and King shocks. The greenhouse gets the same brown/copper color scheme, seen in the Katzkin leather seats and on the dash.

Wrangler Stitch Concept

While we were in Moab, we heard a Jeep employee admit out loud, "Already, the Wrangler's a bit porky." That confession about Wrangler heft -- the truth hurts -- was the driver behind Stitch, which is essentially an updated Pork Chop that takes the philosophy one step further.

This is the diet concept: The windshield has been chopped a couple inches. It has the same rollcage as Pork Chop, but substituting chrome-moly steel saved about 35 pounds. The frame has been drilled to lighten the Wrangler, crossmembers needed only for towing rigidity were removed, and a "10-gallon bucket was filled" with all the brackets, mounts, and braces they pulled off. It has a tiny battery that weighs "like, four pounds," no audio system beyond the faceplate, no ventilation system of any kind, a carbon-fiber replica of the Rubicon 10th Anniversary hood, lightened Viper front seats, no rear seats, and a vinyl "top" fashioned after welding curtains. Not done there, Jeep substituted aluminum Full-Traction control arms, aluminum floorpan, and aluminum GenRight fuel tank. Much of the body paneling has been removed, replaced by an "architectural fabric" any man on the street would call heavy-duty aluminum window screen. Most motorcycles have more protection from the elements.

As a result, Stitch weighs about half a ton less than a stock Wrangler, but with Mopar cold-air intake and exhaust, makes at least as much power as a regular Wrangler. That gives Stitch a better power-to-weight ratio than a Grand Cherokee SRT. Mickey Thompson 35-inch tires on light, forged 17-inch wheels are countered by 4.88:1 gears in the ARB-locked Dynatrac ProRock 44 axles. King shocks with pneumatic bump stops and Tom Woods driveshafts keep the standard springs settled. There's no lift -- it just sits higher because of the missing 1000 pounds. As you'd expect, Stitch is a blast on fast dirt sections, where it's easily steered with the right foot in 2WD but faster to launch in four (it spun all of them in 4-Hi -- after switching off traction control). It also crawls and climbs more easily and gives a gentler ride from lower air pressure, but the diet most showed its advantage slowing from speed.