Jeep does resto-mod of 1968 M-715 for Moab Easter Safari

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Jeep 'Five-Quarter' is an updated 1978 M-715 military truck that will join several new Gladiators on the trails at Moab | Jeep/Mopar photos

A resto-mod 1968 Jeep M-715 Gladiator-based military vehicle will be among the six concept vehicles that Jeep and Mopar debut this month on the 53rd annual Moab Easter Jeep Safari, the automaker said as it released information on its 2019 six-pack.

“The Moab Easter Jeep Safari provides the perfect venue to interact with and gather feedback from our most loyal and passionate customers – the diehard off-road enthusiasts who attend the event each year,” Tim Kuniskis, head of the Jeep brands North American operations, was quoted in the announcement.

“This year’s Safari will mark the debut of the highly anticipated all-new Jeep Gladiator on Moab’s scenic and demanding trails,” he added. “To celebrate, we are showcasing six fun and ultra-capable new truck-based Jeep concept vehicles that are certain to turn heads and delight the crowd.”

“Customization is one of the highest priorities for Jeep brand enthusiasts,” added Steve Beahm, head of Mopar, FCA’s parts and service division. “This is why we have proactively developed a portfolio of more than 200 exclusive parts and accessories for the all-new Jeep Gladiator.

“At the 2019 Easter Jeep Safari, we will be inspiring our customers by showcasing just a fraction of what is currently available in our catalog and also some conceptual accessories that might make it into production in the near future.”

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700+ horsepower supercharged ‘Hellcrate’ engine powers the resto-mod Jeep

Among the six concept vehicles is the M-715 Five-Quarter that underwent a resto-mod update at Jeep and Mopar’s in-house workshops. The vehicle, said Jeep, “is a seamless blend of vintage and modern components. The term ‘Five-Quarter’ is a historical nod to Jeep trucks of the past that were one and one-quarter tons – or “five quarters.”

The project started with a 1968 military pickup.

“The original front sheet metal was removed and a full carbon-fiber front end takes its place,” according to the new release. “Also, an all-new, bobbed 6-foot custom-fabricated aluminum bed was installed that has been perforated and re-imaged using a mix of water jet cut panels and wood slats.

“Additional body modifications include a 3.5-inch drop to its convertible soft-top, further enhancing its factory monster truck silhouette.

“Headlights have been replaced with new HID lights along with LED auxiliary lights for vast outward visibility. Rearward, LED halo lights have been installed in the original tail light buckets.

“To protect the body, the original rockers were removed and replaced with functional rock rails that run the length of the body side. Modified front Jeep Gladiator Rubicon steel bumpers have been installed that complement the brushed metal-finished body and tailgate producing a polished look.

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“The M-715 Five-Quarter’s off-road capability has been enhanced by reinforcing the original frame and replacing the leaf springs with a heavy-duty link/coil suspension system. Additionally, the front axle has been pulled forward two-inches and replaced with a Dynatrac Pro-rock 60 front axle and a Dynatrac Pro-rock 80 axle in the rear, while 20-inch beadlock wheels are wrapped with large 40-inch tires.

“Inside, new Jeep Wrangler seats free of headrests have been installed for a sleek, low-back visual. Additionally, water-jetted aluminum components make up a new lightweight and premium instrument panel as well as door panels. A repurposed vintage 8-71 supercharger now serves duty to encase the transmission and transfer case shifters, and the floors have been bed-lined for enhanced durability.”

To propel the vehicle over the rocky Moab trail obstacles, the resto-mod included the installation of a supercharged 6.2-liter “Hellcrate” V8 engine with more than 700 horsepower.

Joining the “Five-Quarter” on the Moab trails will be:

•  The Jeep Wayout, a new Gladiator with body armor and designed for “overlanding” with a roof-top tent, custom canopy and two auxiliary fuel tanks.

The Flatbill, designed with the motocross culture in mind and two dirt bikes in its bed.

•  The J6, a new Gladiator but with 1970s styling and a bed that is a foot longer than standard.

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•  The JT Scrambler, with a throwback color scheme and graphics in Punk’N Metallic Orange and Nacho, just like the 1980s.

•  The Gladiator Gravity, a gravity-defying vehicle created for rock climbing by both the vehicle and its occupants, with ropes, carabiners, helmets and shoes in a cargo carrier basket and with a unique Mopar/Decked truck-bed storage system for lockable cargo space.

The annual Easter Jeep Safari comprises a nine-day series of day-long drives on various off-road trails around Moab, Utah. The event ends April 20, the Saturday of Easter weekend.

A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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