<%@LANGUAGE="VBSCRIPT"%> ROCKCRAWLER.com - 2004 North American International Auto Show

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Story and Photos by Mike Cohn

Jeep
JEEP SHOWS RESCUE CONCEPT AT NAIAS

DETROIT, MI - It was a big morning at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. DaimlerChrysler made a big production out of debuting its new concepts - one of which was the eagerly-anticipated Jeep Rescue.

My morning began by meeting Trevor Creed, Senior Vice President - Chrysler Group Design. He was very excited about the upcoming press conference and seemed genuinely excited about the Rescue.

We've seen sketches of the Rescue but nobody had yet seen it in the flesh. Of course, the big question in many of our minds, was what type of axles are under it? The answer is that there are two big ones under there, and yes, they are both solid!

Based on the latest Dodge Ram truck platform (not the Jeep TJ), "Jeep Rescue is the supreme trail search and research vehicle - one that only Jeep could build," said Trevor Creed. Rescue has hydroformed frame rails riding on an 80-inch chassis with a 123-inch wheelbase and is filled with all sorts of goodies a true off-roader would love.

With four removable doors and a lever-actuated opening top, the Rescue is an almost totally "open" manner - especially with the folding front windshield and retractable backlite. The top consists of a sliding glass sunroof in front and a fold-forward canvas roof in the rear.

I spoke with design team member, Dan Zimmerman, and he made sure to point out to me all of the guages, levers, and buttons in the Rescue, including steering wheel mounted front and rear winch in and out buttons , 3-D topo mapping and navigational software, passive, infrared cameras, under-chassis cameras, and more.

Based on the Dodge Ram 2500, the Rescue is powered by a 325-hp Cummins turbo diesel engine that produces an astounding 600 ft-lbs of torque. The transmission is an NV5600 and it is coupled to an NV271 transfer case. The front axle is an AAM 9 1/4 (9.25" ring gear) and the rear is the AAM 10 1/2 (10.5" ring gear), also borrowed from the Ram.

Rescue has an 80 inch wide chassis with a 122.3 inch wheelbase, all riding on 37-inch Goodyear MT/R run-flat tires. In addition, the tires can also be aired up and down from within the cab and the suspension can also raise up an additional 4 inches.

With giant axles, large tires, a great suspension, and plenty of room and gadgetry inside, the Rescue defintely hints at what Jeep has in store for not only serious off-roaders, but for search and rescue units, and researchers, as well. Definitely stay tuned, as we're pretty sure you'll be seeing more of the Rescue in the next couple years. Whether or not the Rescue itself will become a production model remains to be seen, but elements of the Rescue will surely find there way into future Jeep models.

Click on photos below to view larger versions:

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