The company has a designer who walks around with a briefcase full of stickers.
CarBuzz recently had the opportunity to explore two concept vehicles that were revealed during the 2023 Easter Jeep Safari. As a reminder, Jeep showed off seven concepts during that event and decided to bring two of them to this year's Jeep Beach gathering in Daytona Beach, Florida. The two concepts Jeep brought to Florida are the most interesting: the Wrangler Magneto 3.0 Concept and the 1978 Cherokee 4xe Concept.
The former is the third iteration of the electric Wrangler concept that first debuted in 2021, now with more power from its single electric motor. It's meant to preview what an all-electric Jeep Wrangler will be like. The latter is a 2022 Jeep Wrangler 4xe Hybrid underneath with the body from a 1978 SJ Cherokee.
While poking around both concepts, we noticed some comedy stickers and easter eggs scattered around various places. Mark Allen, Jeep's director of exterior design, Mark Allen, even walks around with a briefcase full of stickers, ready to place them where is sees a potential laugh. This demonstrates that Jeep, more than any other brand, has the best sense of humor in the automotive industry.
The SJ Cherokee was introduced by Jeep back in 1974 as a two-door version of the Wagoneer.
Jeep was owned by American Motors Corporation (AMC) in those days, so the designers decided to embrace that with this concept. The fuel cap features a little gremlin, a nod to the AMC Gremlin built from 1970 to 1978. Other clever exterior details include a retro Jeep badge and a 4xe logo that was reimagined based on what it would have looked like in the '70s, and a custom license plate that reads "78 4xe."
Inside, there are more nods to the AMC owners, including a period American motors sticker that reads "sexy cars for sexy people" and an old toolbox with vintage stickers.
Since it's based on a modern Wrangler 4xe, the Cherokee 4xe Concept uses a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine mated with an electric motor to deliver 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. It can even run on electric power alone.
The dashboard is primarily modern with a standard Wrangler steering wheel, gauges, vents, and buttons, but Jeep installed an 8-track player where the USB ports would typically live. Of course, Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon was mounted and ready to play.
Though the dash looks mostly modern, Jeep installed low-back leather bucket seats with a unique pattern to make the interior feel more old-school. And even though the concept can drive on electricity, Jeep ripped out the power windows in exchange for roll-up ones to be fun.
Though the Recon will be Jeep's first dedicated electric off-road vehicle, the Magneto 3.0 Concept previews what the Wrangler will be like when it finally ditches its internal combustion engine for batteries.
The original Magneto only produced 285 hp, but the 3.0 version now develops 650 hp and 900 lb-ft of torque from its custom axial flux motor. This electric motor is mated to a six-speed manual transmission with a two-speed transfer case and can spin up to 6,000 rpm. It features two-stage power regeneration that's so strong Jeep was able to create a one-pedal off-road mode that requires throttle application to drive downhill.
Riding on 40-inch tires with more than twice the torque of any production Wrangler, the Magneto proves that electric off-roaders can be badass.
If you open up the carbon fiber hood on the Magneto, you'll be treated to some hilarious stickers that show Jeep has a sense of humor regarding the inevitable shift towards electrification. One of the batteries has a "1.21 gigawatts" sticker, a reference to the power the DeLorean time machine needs to go back to 1985 in Back to the Future. There's also a meta-reference to the Power Wheels pink Barbie Jeep that was made available in the 1980s. For doubters who think an electric Jeep doesn't have a historical precedent, think again.
You would only see the funniest sticker if you knew where to look. It lives under the front passenger wheel and depicts a child warning ad from the '70s that would never be allowed today. The ad was designed to alert kids that electricity is dangerous, showing an anthropomorphized electric character holding a knife to a child. A caption reads, "Remember kids, electricity will kill you."
Could you imagine any other automaker making a joke like this? Apparently, these two concepts were the tame ones because the Magenta 4xe had a bondage theme on the interior that had to be stripped out right before being shown to the public. Jeep, never change.
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