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17 August 2018

Remember the Jeep Stitch Moab concept? It conquered the Rubicon Trail this week

By Malcolm FlynnMalcolm Flynn
  • What a concept - a concept car you can actually drive. What a concept - a concept car you can actually drive.
  • Jeep designer Chris Piscitelli in the Stitch concept. Jeep designer Chris Piscitelli in the Stitch concept.
  • This Stitch had 499kg cut out of the chassis, floor pan and suspension components. This Stitch had 499kg cut out of the chassis, floor pan and suspension components.
  • Big sections of the body were also jigsawed away, with the holes disguised by a fabric wrap. Big sections of the body were also jigsawed away, with the holes disguised by a fabric wrap.
  • The Stitch is the second of three Moab concepts to apply the Colin Chapman philosophy of added lightness to improve performance. The Stitch is the second of three Moab concepts to apply the Colin Chapman philosophy of added lightness to improve performance.
  • Stitch has a similar power-to-weight ratio to a 6.4-litre V8 Grand Cherokee SRT. Stitch has a similar power-to-weight ratio to a 6.4-litre V8 Grand Cherokee SRT.

Concept cars usually have one job, and that's to look good on a motor show stand for a few days. 

They rarely have working mechanicals and often even lack an interior. 

Jeep's concepts are different, however, with the annual Moab collections all based on production models and therefore retaining their ability to drive. 

You might not expect them to be driven beyond the ramp of a car transporter, but they are, and Jeep designer Chris Piscitelli blew that perception out of the water by tackling one of the world's most challenging and iconic off-road tracks in the Stitch concept last week. 

Chris isn't just one of the stars of the Jeep design studio, he's a dyed in the wool Jeep guy and hot rodder. In fact, it was his idea to bring the Stitch along. 

If you don't remember Stitch from its 2013 debut, it's the second of three Moab concepts to apply the Colin Chapman philosophy of added lightness to improve performance. 

In this case, Stitch had 499kg cut out of it Swiss cheese-style with the deft application of a hole saw to the chassis, floor pan and suspension components. 

Big sections of the body were also jigsawed away, with the holes disguised by a fabric wrap. 

With just the standard 3.6-litre V6 under the bonnet, Stitch has a similar power-to-weight ratio to a 6.4-litre V8 Grand Cherokee SRT. 

Stitch's predecessor was Pork Chop in 2011, and the most recent iteration is the 4SPEED from this year's event. 

  • Stitch's predecessor was Pork Chop in 2011. Stitch's predecessor was Pork Chop in 2011.
  • The Pork Chop's claim to fame is more fun and performance via weight-saving tactics. The Pork Chop's claim to fame is more fun and performance via weight-saving tactics.
  • The most recent iteration of the Moab concepts is the 4SPEED. The most recent iteration of the Moab concepts is the 4SPEED.
  • The roofless 4SPEED concept rides on 18-inch monoblock wheels with 35-inch tyres. The roofless 4SPEED concept rides on 18-inch monoblock wheels with 35-inch tyres.

If you're thinking Stitch is alooking a little different to how you remember, it was recently given a makeover by Mr Piscitelli as the fabric covering the body hadn't aged well. 

  • Stitch's original look. Stitch's original look.
  • Unfortunately, the fabric covering the body hadn't aged well. Unfortunately, the fabric covering the body hadn't aged well.

The new Stitch is wearing matte silver paint and mesh instead of fabric, and has also scored a new set of wheels. 

Back to the Rubicon, Chris emerged after doing the 19km McKinney Rd to Rubicon Springs stretch of the California trail in either direction with a huge grin on his face and Stitch looking as good as ever. 

Jeep designers and concepts are the real deal.

What concept would you like to put through its paces as the designer intended? Tell us in the comments.