Although yes, the Jeep Gladiator program may have been scrapped by the kids over in Auburn Hills due to the need to create a new platform for the vehicle. Despite the sighs and sad faces from Jeep truck enthusiasts everywhere, it looks as though the American side of the German-American hybrid may have come up with something that'll turn those frowns upside down. It's being called the "Scrambler" by some, but "cool" by many more. It's a pickup truck based on the new Jeep Wrangler platform, and it's been spotted tooling around the highways and byways of Metro Detroit, and it may even see the light of day before...
...the end of the month's SEMA show. Allpar's got what they're claiming is more of the skinny:
"Set for an introduction at the SEMA show in about a week, this new pickup concept reportedly consists of two variations. Sources familiar with the strategy tell us that DaimlerChrysler hopes to produce these pickups in small volumes at the Viper Plant, using mechanicals from the 2007 Wrangler, while aftermarket kits will also be made available to fit previous-generation Wranglers. We'll have to await the official announcement in about a week to see exactly how the distribution and manufacturing details will be carried out. But a program such as these Jeep pickups, if our information is correct, is the perfect marriage of the SEMA show's current status: It's a major manufacturer future-product announcement with a clever nod to the aftermarket built right in.
While we presume that the '07-based pickups will be sold through Jeep dealerships, we're told that the kits will reportedly be available to transform 1997-2006 Wranglers into the pickups you see here. Sources suggested that the kits will cost about $8,000-$10,000 (assembly not included), and would require lengthening the frame with parts supplied in the kit. The truck we photographed had a wheelbase extended to approximately 119-inches."
Ooh, that'll be good news to all the folks who bought themselves some Wranglers with all of the discounts Chrysler's been throwing down over the past couple of years. We can't wait to see how this develops.
UPDATE: Ok, Glenn "sometimes right, sometimes wrong, but always looking for the big score" Paulina now has an update on his "sure bet" on the "Scrambler":
The Wrangler-based pickups we photographed show an updated version of the AEV Brute pickup conversion done by American Expedition Vehicles. AEV has a strong history with Chrysler Corp., having DaimlerChrysler's Design Excellence Award at the 2002 SEMA show.
According to our sources, AEV has created a new version of the Brute based on the all-new 2007 Wrangler, and has discussed some level of joint-venture manufacturing with DCX, utilizing the Viper plant as a prime niche-production site. AEV would take their business and production volumes to a new level, while DCX could tap into AEV's experience with Wrangler-based pickup conversions. If such a relationship comes to fruition, it would most likely be offered through official Jeep channels, bringing an interesting pickup alternative to Jeep dealers for a very low overall investment. It would solve the cost issues that killed the Gladiator concept, which used its own unique platform.
It's our understanding that the arrangement between AEV and DaimlerChrysler is still in the concept stage, perhaps awaiting the public's response to the new 2007 Wrangler-based pickup at this year's SEMA show.
We had posted this update: These photos may actually be an AEV Conversions vehicle called the Brute, which has been on the market for some time (thanks, David G. and Jason West.) Jason West wrote, "Those are AEV Brute trucks which have been in production for a few years now, with AEV's new Highline fenders and hood. That top is all new though, I haven't seen that one yet. Very cool. Looks like they've also redesigned the bed a bit (gas filler is back on the driver-side and the side tiedowns are gone) and widened the tailgate."
The Jeep Scrambler: Wrangler-based Pickup [Allpar.com]