Jeep Gladiator Concept
"Gladiator" was the name of Jeep pickups in the 1960s, but this concept actually harkens back further to the more militaristic Jeep Truck of the 1950s. In essence, the Gladiator marries a Wrangler front end with a very small extended cab and a seven-foot cargo box. The ultra-long, 138-inch wheelbase makes room for the jaunty, side-mounted spare. Jeep has fitted the Liberty's new 2.8-liter diesel under the hood, and the Gladiator naturally features four-wheel drive and solid axles front and rear. The rear axle is not located by leaf springs, which wouldn't allow for the short rear overhang, but instead uses coil-over dampers. The cab has the usual rear-hinged access door on the passenger side, but driver's side access to the rear seat is via a small "dog door" roughly two feet square. That's appropriate because the rear bench is better suited to canines than to people. The Gladiator also offers a twist on the Midgate theme: the cab rear window powers down, the rear-seat squab tucks down to the floor, and the rear bulkhead then slides forward, like a drawer, to increase the cargo bed to a full eight feet in length. Regardless of whether or not that trick could be engineered for production, this good-looking pickup would be a great, and fitting, addition to the Jeep line.