Every year in Las Vegas, thousands gather to check out a whole slew of aftermarket special vehicle parts at the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) Show. This is a car-and-truck nerd’s paradise. Every possible way you could ever dream up your favorite vehicle, someone has made the parts to fulfill your dreams. SEMA is rad. But this year, due to COVID, SEMA went digital, and Jeep teased a Gladiator concept which had all the trucks nerds guessing. Well, the cat is out of the bag, and the Jeep Gladiator “Top Dog” Concept is revealed.
The used to be Jeep Gladiator pickup is bad to the bone
Let’s get right to it. Where the bed once was, now a modular camper-top thingy sits. What we are looking at is a PCOR-sourced storage system that houses all manner of overlanding and off-grid success. The PCOR shell is home to a mini-fridge, gas stove, a mess of pull-out tool drawers, storage containers, and an electric hot dog rolling oven for some inexplicable reason. I mean, hot dogs rule, but what the hell is it doing on a Jeep Gladiator?
Getting back to the useful gear, you might have noticed the big ol’ rack on top of the Jeep Gladiator concept. Jeep thought about your big item storage needs. The rack makes sure you can still carry a kayak, bicycle, or any other gear that you might have used the truck bed before it was converted into a carnival food stand (really, Jeep? Hotdogs?). To access the roof rack, there is also a built-in foldable ladder.
What else separates the Top Dog from the rest of the liter?
Although the back half is definitely the stand out of this Jeep concept, there is still a bit more going on with this “K-9 Blue” Jeep. According to MotorTrend, the Jeep Gladiator Top Dog has a two-inch lift, Fox suspension, massive 37-inch BF Goodrich KM3 mud tires, bespoke fender flares, and 17-inch bead-lock-capable wheels. It kind of puts of a Rubicon-type vibe, ya know, if Rubicons could cook hotdogs.
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The front end of the Gladiator also got some tough-guy, off-road drip. The nose sports a heavy-duty front bumper and bull bar housing an 8,000-lb Warn winch. Jeep also saw fit to push it just over the top with a rear winch as well, in case you want to try to pull it apart or build a really cool, yet not very useful bridge.
This is a strange truck
This is thing awesome – bizarre – but awesome. The list of non-hotdog-related features continues on the Jeep Gladiator concept with a Jeeping staple, a pair of A-pillar mounted LED auxiliary lights. Jeeps drivers need extra lights; everybody knows that. The Gladiator also has other typical Jeeping wares like rock rails mounted under the doors, a custom hood and snorkel, and unique door seal guards.
The interior has mostly standard equipment except that the instrument panel is finished in K-9 Blue to match the body. Other features include a black leather interior with blue stitching, stainless steel pedals, and heavy-duty all-weather mats.
What about the powertrain?
Yeeeeeaaah. For some reason, Jeep didn’t see fit to give this larger and much heavier concept truck more power and take the opportunity to tease the new V8. Nope. It’s just got the 3.6-liter V6 that makes 285 hp. There’s no reason to believe that 285 hp isn’t enough power to move this giant hotdog stand around, but with all the extra weight and girth, a little more power would probably be handy.
Although this Jeep Gladiator concept feels a little strange, it really does look tough as hell. Imagine rolling up on some unexpected campers way out in the woods and scaring them half to death only to pop the trunk and offer them some good ol’ ballpark dogs instead. That’s really every off-roader’s dream, after all.