Jeep’s Gladiator Rubicon Red Bare Concept Is One Sweet Trail Truck
The 2021 Easter Jeep Safari (yes, it’s ON!), held March 27 to April 4, invites thousands of off-roaders, rock crawlers, and adventurers to enjoy the rugged trails and obstacles of Moab, Utah. It’s a time of camaraderie, encouragement, and accomplishment. Each year, the Jeep brand and Jeep Performance Parts (JPP) create custom-built concept vehicles to show off what’s new and possible in the Jeep world. Not just merely for show, these Jeeps are running, driving, and wheel-able during the week.
This year’s creations will be joined by the 2020 concepts that didn’t get the chance to play in Moab, which includes the Gladiator Farout, Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392, and Gladiator Top Dog.
Featured this time is Red Bare.
With its Fire Cracker Red exterior paint, there’s no losing this Jeep Gladiator Rubicon concept on the trail. The hot rod-esque hue is subdued by matte black graphics, a matte black grille insert, and 17-inch matte black wheels for a look that is unmistakably modern. Open-air freedom comes courtesy of the factory black soft-top and half doors.
A Mojave hood and cowl pieces tweak the front end slightly and protect Red Bare’s efficient, economical 260 hp, 442 lb-ft of torque 3.0-liter “EcoDiesel” V-6 diesel engine connected to a TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission. Despite the come-and-get-me red paint, the diesel isn’t hot-rodded or packing any surprises under the hood. The Dana 44s have been upgraded with 4.88 axle ratios for a 91:1 crawl ratio, ideal for rock crawling in Moab.
It’s well known that Gladiator Rubicons are made for tackling off-road terrain and don’t need any upgrades to make them off-road capable. Most Jeep owners do, however, find it hard to resist basic suspension upgrades and bigger tires. The same applies here. The Gladiator Red Bare has a JPP 2-inch lift kit that allows for 37-inch BFG mud-terrain tires. JPP Sand Slider rock rails and a front bumper grille guard help protect against rocks, and a Warn winch assists in the event of a recovery.
The bed of the Gladiator has a bounty of opportunity for individualization. In the case of Red Bare, it features a cargo bed-mounted sport bar (would this have looked good in black?), a bed cover that hides a spare tire, and a rack system show off some of the many possibilities for the otherwise bare pickup bed.
There’s no missing the red flannel covering portions of the Katzkin Black leather seats and dashboard of the interior, aiming for a “bold, rustic finish.” The floors are lined with spray-on bedliner, matched to the exterior paint, topped with Mopar slush mats to protect against the elements.
Bare Red should have no trouble keeping up with the group and should shine up nicely after trail runs. Best of all, it shows you don’t have to re-invent the Gladiator completely to add a lot of personality with some key custom touches.
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