The Jeep Gladiator Top Dog Concept for the virtual SEMA show aims to bring cars and bicycles together.
The Spartans versus the Persians. The Romans versus the Gauls. Arsenal v. Tottenham. Over the centuries of human endeavour, we have seen so many great clashes of mind and might. So many brothers pitched against brother, in the fight for supremacy. The greatest struggle of all? Drivers versus cyclists. Despite so many of us drivers having begun our wheeled lives on bicycles, once we get four-wheels and a seat, we tend to treat our Lycra-clad brethren like scum. The feeling is often antagonistically mutual.
Well, Jeep is having no more of this. The legendary 4×4 maker has created this, the ‘Top Dog’ concept for the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show which would normally take place at this time of year in Las Vegas, but which of course is happening in an online form in 2020 because… well, you know because why.
“Loaded with nearly 20 Jeep Performance Parts, we built this go-anywhere Jeep Gladiator Top Dog Concept for passionate mountain-bike enthusiasts,” said Mark Bosanac, Head of Mopar Service, Parts and Customer Care, FCA – North America. “Across the entire Jeep lineup, we offer more than 500 quality-tested parts and accessories.”
This Gladiator (the pickup-truck version of the current Wrangler 4×4) has been turned into a Top Dog with the fitting of a huge PCOR (an independent 4×4 accessories specialist) flatbed storage system. That’s the big black box you can see in the Glad’s load bay.
On the passenger-side of the storage system, pull-out drawers securely store tools and supplies that mountain bikers need when out on the trails. Vast interior storage shelves, exterior lighting switches and extra power supplies are within easy reach, which is nice.
What’s better — waaaaaay better — is what’s on the other side: a fridge and a hot-dog roller grill. Yes, you heard me right. This Gladiator can be stocked up with refreshing chilled drinks and warmed-up hot-dogs. Now, Jeep asserts that this is so that you can “refuel riders for the next section of challenging trails.’ But we say that this is arguably the greatest peace-offering in the history of the automotive-cyclist wars.
Imagine it. You swing into a parking space and alight from your Gladiator Top Dog just as a cyclist comes past. Normally, that cyclist would hate you on sight, merely for the fact that you’re driving a large, high-sided, 4×4 but wait — watch the expression on his or her face soften into a broad smile as you pop open the side panel and extract a piping-hot sausage-in-a-bun and a cold fizzy drink and present it to them. At last! A bridge — a bridge made of mobile refrigerant and heated-up pig parts! — has been built between the two warring tribes.
Oh, sure — there’s other stuff about the Gladiator Top Dog. A roof-rack for extra storage above the drivers’ cab, and a mount on top of the PCOR storage box which can carry two mountain bikes. There’s also storage for traction mats for vehicle recovery and extraction and extra lights for seeing where you’re going out in the woods at night.
Power for the Top Dog (and crucially therefore for its hot-dog grill) comes from a 3.6-litre ‘Pentastar’ V6 with 285hp and 353Nm torque, mated to a TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission. For serious off-roading, it gets a JPP two-inch lift kit with FOX shocks that provides increased ground clearance, augmented by 17-inch JPP beadlock-capable aluminium wheels and 37-inch BF Goodrich KM3 mud-terrain tyres. Concept steel “high-top” wheel arches provide additional clearance at all four corners.
Up front, raided from Jeep’s Mopar (Motor Parts) accessories catalogue, there’s a JPP Rubicon Bumper. The bumper holds a concept two-inch steel grille guard, inspired by the Jeep J6 concept and the exclusive JPP 3,629kg capacity Rubicon Warn winch that includes 30m of Spydura Synthetic Rope. The bonnet gets exterior latches, there’s a snorkel for river-wading, and extra LED lights built into the windscreen pillars.
Body sides are protected by JPP rock rails, customised with welded two-inch steel tubes, similar to the front-grille guard design. Black door-sill guards feature a raised Gladiator logo and help protect interior sills from scratches and scuffs. A second JPP Warn winch (having two winches arguably makes this the greatest car ever built) is installed at the rear of the Jeep Gladiator Top Dog Concept. Just above the rear-facing winch, a roll-out storage drawer carries a foldable ladder used to access the dual bike rack.
Inside the cabin, the exterior colour theme of K-9 blue and black is continued with an instrument panel that matches the body colour. In addition, black Katzkin leather seats, armrests, shifter boots, steering wheel and the handbrake are accented with blue stitching.
“Built to handle the demands of an active lifestyle and offering one-of-a-kind open-air freedom, Jeep Gladiator is the perfect canvas for Mopar to push the envelope even further with the addition of an array of Jeep Performance Parts,” said Jim Morrison, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA North America. “Mopar’s new Top Dog Concept results in even more clever functionality and versatility for Jeep Gladiator.”
All of which is well and fine, but to be honest, Jeep had us at hot-dog grill. Let us take our Gladiator Top Dogs and go forth, to spread the bounty of warmed-up sausages to our cycling former-enemies!