If you've never been to Moab, Utah, it needs to be on your bucket list. And if you've never been there the week before or after Easter for the Red Rock 4Wheeler's Easter Jeep Safari (now in its 45th year), add that to the list as well. At that time, it is the center of the universe for those who love four-wheeling. The rounded red slickrock of Utah also happens to be some of the most beautiful backcountry in the world. Maybe that's why Jeep designers and engineers have been coming here for more than a decade to show off their concept vehicles and underground projects to the 4x4 faithful.
The event is called the Mopar Underground, and it's run by Mark Allen, head of design for Jeep. His crew of in-house pickup and SUV enthusiasts gets to dip into one of the biggest and coolest parts bins in the world and create just about anything their twisted imaginations can formulate. They even give attending media a chance to take the creations out for a spin. Each unique vehicle typically reflects some aspect of the Jeep or Ram Truck character. Some explore current trends in the off-road or racing industries, while others are more futuristic, and still others are just plain cool.
What follows are the vehicles we got a chance to see and drive outside Moab this year. Like most project vehicles, these were not perfect, but they show what is possible. And for that, we tip our hats to Jeep (and Ram Truck) for making the effort. It's fun to watch and see how these guys play, and it gives us a chance to see what's going on behind the marketing spin. Enjoy!