I got this today and figured i would pass it along. There is some pretty good info and an interesting video.
Moab, Utah, Apr 7, 2009 - The Mopar® Underground design team showcased six customized Jeep® vehicles and Dodge trucks today at the 43rd annual Moab Jeep Safari 2009.
Overseen by Mark Allen, Chief Designer—Jeep/Truck Design Studio, Chrysler LLC, the Mopar Underground design team has been customizing production vehicles since its creation in 2002 and has introduced 14 Jeep concept vehicles to enthusiast crowds at Moab Jeep Safari.
“These vehicles are built with pride and passion for the Jeep brand by a small group of dedicated engineers, designers and fabricators to explore and demonstrate the many facets of off-roading,” Allen said.
The Mopar Underground design team creates vehicle concepts, which are meant to develop performance parts, accessories and customization, as well as new vehicle concepts. In fact, the first-generation Dodge SRT4 was born from this team’s style initiative.
“Moab Jeep Safari provides a great venue and works as a proving ground to test Jeep vehicle concepts driven alongside Jeep brand enthusiasts, who can provide immediate feedback at the event,” Allen said. “As a result, we use knowledge gained at this off-road event to explore new directions for Jeep platforms and to develop Mopar Performance Parts and Accessories to suit these vehicles.”
Mopar Underground Jeep Wrangler Overland
The Jeep Wrangler Overland is perfect for those craving travel and adventure. Taking a 2009 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited four-door, the Mopar Underground team turned the vehicle into a mobile “on-the-go” self-contained campsite.
To increase cargo capacity for hauling gear, the Jeep Wrangler Overland’s rear seats were replaced with a large, flat, rubberized utility floor. Mounted to the cargo rack is an all-new ARB two-person Simpson II rooftop-mounted tent and touring awning. The interior of the Jeep Wrangler Overland features water-resistant Mopar front-seat covers, rugged Mopar slush mats and a Daystar dash bin and lower switch panel.
Helping to enhance off-road travel is a new Mopar 2.5-inch suspension lift. A full-traction rear sway bar was added, allowing the addition of aggressive 35-inch tires mounted on 17-inch steel Mopar winter/off-road wheels. Additional off-road protection at the front and rear is provided by American Expedition Vehicles’ steel bumpers and for added security a Warn 9.5ti winch.
In order to prepare the Jeep Wrangler Overland for desert duty, an American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) Jeep Wrangler heat-reduction hood and snorkel kit is fitted to the vehicle. Mopar windshield-mounted off-road lights and Daystar bumper-mounted lights provide additional lighting for nighttime and off-road driving.
The “J8 Sarge” is a military version of the new Jeep Wrangler platform, built as a non-combat military support vehicle. Built from the 116-inch wheelbase version, the “J8 Sarge” is offered in either two-door or four-door configurations. Special J8-only structural upgrades in the body and chassis combine to increase the GVWR rating to 7,400 pounds.
The platform can be configured as a light-troop carrier, ambulance or cargo truck. Other notable features include the Dana 60 rear axle mounted on leaf springs, larger front-disc brakes and exclusive J8-only 17-inch x 8-inch steel wheels with a larger 5-inch x 5.5-inch bolt pattern. The rear differential is equipped with Trac-Lok limited slip device/differential (the front is open).
The powertrain is a VM Motori S.p.A. 2.8-liter 4-cylinder turbo-diesel engine that produces 158 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. The four-wheel-drive system is the Command-Trac® with both high and low-range gearing.
Other features unique to the “J8 Sarge” are heavy-duty steel bumpers each equipped with two forged military-spec 'helicopter hooks' (rated at 1.5 GVWR each), a hood-mounted air-intake snorkel, dual rear-mounted battery boxes and heavy-duty spring hood latches.
The “J8 Sarge” has been upgraded with 1.25-inch Superlift front coil spacers, 35-inch tires and custom cargo top. It’s painted Olive Drab with military markings. The “J8 Sarge” is manufactured in a Chrysler LLC joint-venture facility in Cairo and premiered at Moab Jeep Safari 2008.
Mopar Underground Jeep “Grand Canyon II”
The Jeep “Grand Canyon II” is the most luxurious off-road vehicle built to date by the Mopar Underground Team. The objective for the team was to take a top-of-the-line 2009 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland and ready it for serious off-road action.
To improve traction for rock crawling, a set of 285/70R17 tires were mounted on a set of Wrangler Rubicon wheels and fitted with a Superlift 4-inch suspension system. Off-road protection was provided with an ARB high-clearance front bumper and Mopar heavy-duty rock rails.
Mopar Underground Jeep “Lower Forty”
Mopar Underground’s Jeep “Lower Forty” takes the new Jeep Wrangler platform to a new extreme. The Jeep “Lower Forty” is equipped with massive 40-inch x 13.5-inch 0R20LT tires mounted on Mopar 20-inch forged aluminum wheels. The Mopar Underground crew added the aggressive wheels and tires to a stock, two-door Wrangler Rubicon without the use of a suspension lift. The team’s goal was to achieve added ground clearance without altering the vehicle's center of gravity. To accomplish that feat, the team trimmed copious amounts of the body and fenders to provide the needed tire clearance. Once achieved, the team used a saw to chop out 3-inches of height from the windshield frame and increased the rake by 10 degrees.
Custom front and rear fender flares were made 1-inch wider and 4-inches higher compared with a stock vehicle. A new one-piece-carbon-fiber hood with a Jeep CJ-like power dome and an all-new drop-down tailgate stamped with the “Jeep” logo were added to the vehicle to complete the exterior design.
On the interior, an all-new roll cage was neatly integrated into the body tub and tied directly into the frame rails. The spare tire was relocated to the cargo floor and a custom cargo rack, supplied by Poly Performance, was installed. Once all body modifications were completed the exterior received a fresh coat of Red Eye No. 3 paint, a custom color developed by the Mopar Underground team specifically for this project.
The Mopar Underground team turned to the Mopar catalog for the vehicle’s mechanical upgrades. The Jeep “Lower Forty” features an all-new 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 engine and a Getrag 238 six-speed manual transmission. Powertrain installations were handled by Burnsville Off-Road using an AEV installation kit.
Mopar supplied Dana 44 front axles and Dana 60 rear axles equipped with 5:38 gears and Dynatrac prepared ARB air lockers to handle the vehicle’s massive tires.
“Mopar has taken the step to add 100 new off-road, truck and performance parts and accessories in the last year in response to customer demand,” said Jim Sassorossi, Director—Mopar Global Parts Sales and Marketing, Chrysler LLC. “An additional benefit is that now 3,250 Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge dealerships located across the United States are the one-stop destination point for all of our customers’ vehicle-upfitting needs.”
Following is a sampling of the most significant new accessories and performance parts from Mopar:
Two-inch and 4-inch Lift Kits
Mopar now offers Jeep and Dodge truck customers a complete and comprehensive line of lift kits. Mopar is expanding its off-road performance line to include Dodge trucks with a new 4-inch lift kit, which requires a minimum 18-inch wheel and allows for up to 37-inch tires.
Half-window and Half-door Kits
Since 1987, Jeep Wrangler soft-top model vehicles have been available with factory-installed half-doors, which have become known as a signature, uniquely Jeep feature. This year, Authentic Jeep Accessories by Mopar offers half-window kits and half-door kits for 2007 model year and newer Jeep Wrangler vehicles. These doors are available in kit form, which will enable customers to convert their Jeep Wrangler for summertime and trail-riding use and easily switch back to full doors when needed. Both kits will be available starting in June 2009.
Dana 44 Axle
Mopar is now offering a complete axle kit for 1997 to 2006 model year Jeep Wranglers. This new front and rear axle is a Dana 44, with four to 10 gears and electric lockers. This is a modified, new-production axle that will bolt directly into the previous model year Jeep Wrangler and is currently available for purchase.
Jeep has used soft tops made by Bestop for many years. Now Mopar Accessories has teamed up with Bestop to offer a select line up of tops, doors and other soft goods for Jeep owners. Bestop Kits will be available this month.
ATK 4.7-liter Stroker Motor
Following up on Mopar’s announcement last year that it would investigate adding a stroker motor to its portfolio, the parts maker displayed a 4.7-liter engine on the XJ Stroker vehicle at Moab. This is the same motor that won the 4X4 SUV category at the 2008 Score International Baja 1000 in Essenada, Mexico. Mopar plans to launch the ATK 4.7-liter Stroker motor for Jeep applications starting in September 2009.
More than 70 Years of Mopar
When Chrysler bought Dodge in 1928, the need for a dedicated parts manufacturer, supplier and distribution system to support the growing enterprise led to the formation of the Chrysler Motor Parts Corporation (CMPC) in 1929.
Mopar (a simple contraction of the words MOtor and PARts) was trademarked for a line of antifreeze products in 1937.