Every year, Jeep releases a bevy of concept vehicles to be shown at the Easter Jeep Safari off-road event in Moab, and at least some portions of those concept vehicles are usually inspired by classic models. In the past we’ve seen a remastered Forward Control, a J-series pickup, CJ models, and even a Cherokee Chief. This year, Jeep hit up an untapped classic for one of its show rigs: the Jeepster Commando.
The new concept attempts to capture the long, low roadster look of the original sold by Willys-Overland from 1948 to 1950 and later—in slightly updated form—under the Kaiser Jeep brand as the Jeepster Commando from 1966 until the early 1970s. (Jeep has been owned or operated by numerous ultimately doomed suitors between the end of World War II and today. So, um, keep your chin up, Fiat Chrysler.) Based on the new-for-2018 Wrangler Rubicon, the Jeepster mostly succeeds in its emulation.
Jeep’s designers started by laying the windshield back another 2.5 degrees and chopping it to match the white hard top, which itself has been lowered 2.0 inches overall. The windshield can still be folded forward on top of the hood, too. Old-school white-painted accents adorn the tops of the doors and the fenders to match the top, and they really pop against the Firecracker Red body color. To offset the lowered roof, or just because lifting Jeeps is a default modification for Moab vehicles, Jeep slapped on a 2.o-inch suspension lift kit with 2.5-inch-diameter shocks. Combined with the 37-inch BFGoodrich K02 tires, the effect is a purposeful, burly stance entirely unlike that of the rather spindly, low-slung 1960s-era Jeepster Commando.
Ditto the Jeepster concept’s quadrant of LED running lights, which are mounted to the front bumper and A-pillars and are said to put out 8000 lumens of illumination. The old Jeepster Commando might as well have lit its path with candles in comparison. Other modifications include a custom tubular roll bar, an internally mounted spare tire, and Firecracker Red accents throughout. Where the externally mounted spare tire would live on any other Wrangler, the Jeepster has prototype storage bins that look quite cool. While those bins are likely to make it to Jeep’s accessories catalog sometime soon, let’s all hope Jeep makes available a white hardtop option and fender accents for those who’d like a little more retro in their modern Wrangler.