Car Reviews

Jeep JT Scrambler Concept Drive: Channeling Our Inner ‘80s

This Gladiator dressed in Scrambler orange makes us smile

This Gladiator dressed in Scrambler orange makes us smile

When the folks at Mopar say they have the Jeep JT Scrambler concept available for a quick ride, you say “yes, please” and elbow others out of the way.

This is the concept that made its debut at the 2019 Moab Easter Jeep Safari. It offers a double dollop of fun: It has the throwback two-tone orange Scrambler graphics from the CJ Scrambler of the ’80s but rides on the modern Gladiator architecture. It was one of three customized Gladiators at the Safari.

The Scrambler is a heritage-inspired remix of the CJ8 Scrambler from the early ’80s. Eighty percent of the transformation of this Gladiator Rubicon was achieved with available Jeep Performance Parts from Mopar; the rest is customized, such as the mid bolster and the unique color and stitching combo. The production wheels also have unique paint.

Under the hood is the standard 3.5-liter V-6 engine from the Gladiator with a cold air intake and a cat back exhaust.

You can’t get the prototype Punk’N Metallic Orange and Nacho body-side stripes running from the front panels to the bed and matching hood graphic today, but you can get a similar graphic in black and dark gray. Atop the white exterior is a vintage amber top—wait while I go out and get a perm and some shoulder pads to continue my cruising.

And you can’t get the Amaretto Brown retro-looking leather on the dash and door handles with orange thread, which is a throwback treat. The Katzkin leather seats are also Amaretto Brown.

But the point of making concepts to show at the Easter Jeep Safari is to gauge reaction from a crowd with hardcore enthusiasts as well as Jeep newbies. And the Mopar folks tell us the Scrambler got a giant thumbs up, so who knows. The unique style elements proved popular and could make it into a future Mopar catalog.

But for now, we welcomed the chance to take the Scrambler for a little cruise down Woodward Avenue. Yes, it drove like the Gladiator it is. But during a week when Detroit is celebrating car culture as part of the Woodward Dream Cruise, it got approving looks from others on the road.

The Scrambler concept rides on 17-inch slot wheels and has a 2-inch lift kit to fit the 37-inch BF Goodrich KM3 Mud-Terrain tires. There are 7-inch off-road lights in the front and 5-inch LED lights on the roll bar to light the bed.

Mark Bosanac, the new head of Mopar Service, Parts & Customer Care for FCA North America, says the average Gladiator buyer is already spending about $1,000 USD on accessories, choosing from the 200 available items when the pickup launched.