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31 August 2018

Jeep Wagoneer Roadtrip concept: Car nut designer Chris Piscitelli gave us a steer | video

By Malcolm FlynnMalcolm Flynn
  • They don't make them like they used to, but they never made them quite like this. They don't make them like they used to, but they never made them quite like this.
  • That's an upturned Ford bumper you're looking at, of unknown origin. That's an upturned Ford bumper you're looking at, of unknown origin.
  • The five-inch wheelbase extension is cleverly disguised with wheelarch flares. The five-inch wheelbase extension is cleverly disguised with wheelarch flares.
  • The Canyonero angle. The Canyonero angle.
  • No SJ handled like this, but the JK Wrangler the Roadtrip shares its suspension and axles with sure does. No SJ handled like this, but the JK Wrangler the Roadtrip shares its suspension and axles with sure does.
  • The '67 nose was ditched for Roadtrip in favour of a '72 full-width grille. The '67 nose was ditched for Roadtrip in favour of a '72 full-width grille.

I don't know about you, but I'm getting pretty sick of concept cars which promise 500km EV range, fully autonomous capability and construction from the sort of materials that make Polar Bears smile, only to realise the actual car on the motor show stand is a fibreglass mockup with all the functionality of a Matchbox car.

It's also pretty clear that a lot of these concepts will never see production, but rather form the latest move in an ongoing pissing contest among manufacturers for headline glory.

This isn't always a bad thing though, with Richard Ferlazzo's Efijy being a key example that had no relevance to Holden's showroom product but leapt straight into the dream garages of pretty much anyone who's uttered the phrase 'broom broom.'

  • Richard Ferlazzo's Holden Efijy is still just as breathtaking as it was at the 2005 Sydney motor show. Richard Ferlazzo's Holden Efijy is still just as breathtaking as it was at the 2005 Sydney motor show.
  • The resemblance with ZZ Top's Cadzzilla is no coincidence. The resemblance with ZZ Top's Cadzzilla is no coincidence.
  • Efijy's craftsmanship is astounding close up. Efijy's craftsmanship is astounding close up.
  • Every single angle is a delight. Every single angle is a delight.
  • That's no fake engine cover, it's a fully-operational supercharged 6.0-litre LS2. That's no fake engine cover, it's a fully-operational supercharged 6.0-litre LS2.
  • This is one (of two) exhaust tip that belongs in a museum. This is one (of two) exhaust tip that belongs in a museum.
  • Efijy's wheels are a nod to the FJ Holden's original hubcaps, but were machined from solid billet aluminium. Efijy's wheels are a nod to the FJ Holden's original hubcaps, but were machined from solid billet aluminium.
  • Even the Holden badge references the FJ-era font. Even the Holden badge references the FJ-era font.
  • No FJ tribute would be complete without the distinctive centre brake light. No FJ tribute would be complete without the distinctive centre brake light.
  • The FJ theme is also clear on the inside, but with thoroughly modern (for 2005) details. The FJ theme is also clear on the inside, but with thoroughly modern (for 2005) details.
  • As we said, modern for 2005. As we said, modern for 2005.
  • The level of detail is a credit to Richard Ferlazzo and his design team. The level of detail is a credit to Richard Ferlazzo and his design team.
  • Efijy actually previewed the electric park brake that's now commonplace. Efijy actually previewed the electric park brake that's now commonplace.
  • You'd probably want to be wearing socks with these pedals. You'd probably want to be wearing socks with these pedals.
  • Multimedia screens were still a new thing in 2005. Efijy's is curved like one of the original TV sets. Multimedia screens were still a new thing in 2005. Efijy's is curved like one of the original TV sets.
  • The secret to Efijy's ground-hugging stance while retaining driveability is adjustable suspension. The secret to Efijy's ground-hugging stance while retaining driveability is adjustable suspension.

Efijy actually works too, with its voluptuous body cloaking a C5 Corvette chassis and a supercharged LS2 V8, and has proven it by doing the happiest of happy laps at the Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit.

Jeep concepts also tends to buck this lack of functionality trend, with the annual Moab Easter Safari collections able to do exactly what their looks suggest.

  • Jeep Wrangler Sandstorm 2018 Moab concept. Jeep Wrangler Sandstorm 2018 Moab concept.
  • Jeep Wrangler J-Wagon 2018 Moab concept. Jeep Wrangler J-Wagon 2018 Moab concept.
  • Jeep Wrangler Nacho 2018 Moab concept. Jeep Wrangler Nacho 2018 Moab concept.
  • Jeep Wrangler Jeepster 2018 Moab concept. Jeep Wrangler Jeepster 2018 Moab concept.
  • Jeep Renegade B-Ute 2018 Moab concept. Jeep Renegade B-Ute 2018 Moab concept.
  • Jeep Wrangler 4SPEED 2018 Moab concept. Jeep Wrangler 4SPEED 2018 Moab concept.

They do generally have a close relevance to Jeep's product line-up though, using production models as their basis and generally showcasing a bunch of optional dress-up bits from Mopar.

Not always though, with the arguable star of this year's crop celebrating the SJ Wagoneer that's been out of production since 1991, which was at least a decade past its use by date.

The Wagoneer Roadtrip doesn't attempt to emulate the grandeur of Efijy, but is the only other concept I can think of that hits the trifecta of cool, functional and production irrelevant.

I was lucky enough to score a quick steer with its designer, Chris Piscitelli on the tail end of the new JL Wrangler's international launch in the US this month, and he gave us the good oil on its back story.

 

Other Jeep Wagoneer Roadtrip facts:

- The base car cost just US$5,000 in rust-free original condition. An average one will cost you $20k in Aus.

- It's actually a 1967 model, but the quad-headlight nose was updated to the 1972 full-width two headlight look for Roadtrip.

- The front and rear bumpers are actually upside-down Ford units, of undisclosed origin.

- The Wagoneer name (with Grand prefix) is expected to return as a super-sized version of the Grand Cherokee, but it's unclear when. The Wagoneer Roadtrip's existence has nothing to do with future model plans.

What classic concept would you like to drive? Tell us in the comments.