Driven: Jeep Mighty FC

John Discher – Chrysler Photo Imaging

The J-12 concept draws from an interesting part of Jeep's history, but you might not remember the Forward Control vehicles that Jeep built in the 1950s and '60s. Those funky trucks incorporated a cab mounted over the front axle and a full-length pickup bed into a relatively compact footprint.

Mopar Underground brought the FC heritage back to life to showcase Mopar's portal axles at the annual Easter Jeep Safari, an enthusiast gathering in Moab, Utah. A portal axle is like a traditional live axle until you get to the hubs, where a planetary gearset acts as another gear-reduction box. In the case of the Mighty FC concept, the portals multiply the 4.10:1 axle ratio by a factor of 1.5, resulting in an impressive 6.15:1 final-drive ratio.

The chief advantage of portal axles is the additional ground clearance they afford, and the FC exaggerates that with its massive, 39-inch tires. Only one brake caliper per corner is actually needed to stop, but vehicles built for Easter Jeep Safari skew more toward awesome than adequate, so the FC runs two calipers at each wheel. We appreciated the extra stopping power when the transfer case was shifted into its 4.00:1 low range and we needed to stop on top of large rocks for photography. Pesky crash regulations mean that the Mighty FC will never be more than a concept vehicle, but the portal axles are available from Mopar for an incredible $12,500 (front) and $11,000 (rear).

mklcolvin
My favorite Jeep concept is still the Jeep Hurricane from 2005. Four-wheel steering is awesome!

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