<%@LANGUAGE="VBSCRIPT"%> ROCKCRAWLER.com - Jeep 101, Denver, Colorado
ROCKCRAWLER.com
Jeep 101
Denver, CO 2001

By Cole Ford
Jeep 101
Jeska Horgan-Kobelski gets off-camber on the off-road course in Jeep's new Liberty!
Summer School at Jeep!
All summer Jeep will be holding Jeep 101 courses all over the country. It is being held in conjunction with the Chrysler Proving Grounds event. Jeep 101 is an extremely interesting approach to marketing the Jeep brand and the events are designed to nurture and grow future Jeep enthusiasts. It also holds some fun and interesting stuff for those of us who are already long time Jeep freaks.

THE MAIN EVENT!
The main event is an off-road course that Jeep made on-site for people to test drive the new Jeeps and to introduce newcomers to off-road travel. This had to be the most fun of the day, but not because it was a hardcore 4x4 course that you can thrash a new Jeep Liberty on, though. Most of us could probably take our rockcrawling rigs through it backward in 2 wheel drive. The course was a series of hills, banked corners, log bridges, log pits, articulation bumps, and small rocks. While this stuff is just the path to the real trails for some of us, the real fun was watching the "ear-to-ear" grins of the people who were experiencing our passion for the first time. I wish I could have stood at the end of the course with a sign that read "It's a Jeep thing…Now you understand!"

Jeep Liberty
The Jeep Liberty is the star of the show.

The Head of the Class?
OK. I know the rumors have been flying about the new Jeep Liberty. Every time Jeep changes anything, us loyal Jeep owners get a bit nervous. The definite focus of the event was the introduction of the new Jeep Liberty. Everywhere you looked you saw Liberties.

We drove the Liberty both on the Jeep 101 off-road course and on the on-road course. With only this limited exposure to it, my final judgment is still out. I am a little bit more convinced that Jeep may be headed in the right direction once again. At the main entrance of the event there was a Liberty sporting many custom parts and 31" mud tires. The 31's seemed to be a pretty good fit with no suspension modification. Hmmm, wonder what it would take to stuff some 36" meats under it?

Jeep Tech Tent!
What more could you ever want? I could (and almost did) spend the entire day talking to a Jeep engineer about all the tech displays they had set up. There are cut-away displays of all the Jeep drive train components and even a complete Jeep Wrangler frame and drive train to play with.

Jeep Liberty
How much more American is this Liberty?

Fun, Fun and more fun!
OK, so it is not a major trail ride or 4x4 event. But there is lots of fun to be had for new and old Jeepers alike. I don't want to ruin the experience for you so I wont let you in on all the details. But here are some of the things you can expect.

There are old Jeeps, custom Jeeps, outdoor equipment, Jeep Provisions, displays of the new Liberty and chances to look at the new suspension close up. Check out how the rear sway bar is mounted! Then travel over to the Tech tent and ask a Jeep engineer about it!

Got a friend that does not quite understand the Jeep thing? This is the perfect place to introduce them to it. Send them on the Jeep 101 course with one of the instructors and I guarantee they will come back with an evil grin on their face

Jeep 101
Jeep had a cut-away 5 speed tranny for us to check out.
Jeep 101
Rolling chassis are always fun to look at, too. Keeps the knees from getting scuffed up.
Jeep 101
This cut-away NV242 lets you see exactly how the transfer case works.
Jeep 101
A cut-away differential was also on-hand for inpection.
Jeep 101
This is the heart of the new Liberty - the 3.7L Power Tech V6, which is based on the Grand Cherokee's motor, minus 2 cylinders.
Jeep 101
No, this isn't Evel Kneivel's car. It's the interior of the custom-painted Jeep Liberty seen in the photos above.

Jeep Liberty
Jeep Guru, Michael Lyons (right), showed us around the Jeep 101 camp and answered all of our questions in the Tech Tent.

Events that are still coming this summer:

  • Charlotte: June 28-July 1
  • Boston: July 12-15
  • Columbus: August 2-5
  • Philadelphia: August 16-19
  • Hartford: September 13-16
  • Pittsburgh: September 27-30
  • Indianapolis: October 11-14
  • Atlanta: October 25-28