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Jeep® Trailhawk: Chrysler Group Design Spreads its Wings for its Rugged, Iconic Jeep Brand

Detroit, Jan 8, 2007 – The Jeep® Trailhawk concept merges the spectrum of the Jeep brand by combining the core off-road features of the new body-on-frame four-door Jeep Wrangler Unlimited with the refined sophistication of an all-new on-road open-air concept vehicle, providing a unique and fresh expression for Jeep. Built off the new Wrangler platform, the Jeep Trailhawk is a more refined highway cruiser without sacrificing any of Jeep’s legendary off-road capabilities.

“The key to the look of the Trailhawk,” said Nick Vardis, Principal Exterior Designer, “is the vehicle’s distinctive proportions, due in part to its 116-inch wheelbase. The dash-to-front-axle dimension is dramatically long, giving the vehicle a sense of forward motion, while the front and rear overhangs are tight and abbreviated.“

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Vardis said the body side is muscular and broad-shouldered, with the sheet metal pulled into shape, much like a drawn arrow in the bow of a skilled archer. Even the pillars are pulled back. The forward motion of the body is further accented by the drive of the raising beltline.

The stance is broad, and the wheels, pushed to the corners of the vehicle, are enclosed in robust flares dramatically offset from the body. Partly trapezoidal in shape, yet not asymmetrical, these angular, crisply-contoured wheel flares reinterpret one of Jeep’s fundamental design cues.

“The flares are stretched and pulled taut at one end,” Vardis said. “Each presents a ‘long side’ angled toward the center of the body.”

The body in turn tapers toward the front in plan view to expose more of the flares and accent the wide stance. The flares enclose large 22-inch, five-spoke wheels, each with a hefty 34-inch overall diameter. The specially-crafted tires are accented by a red stripe, with the red color repeated on the exposed brake calipers.

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The lower body, which kicks outward along the bottoms of the doors, intersects the flares crisply. Tucked beneath this horizontal element is a recessed running board, accented by a silver molding. A tall trapezoidal vent, located at the front fender-front door cut line, is home to the circular Trail Rated badge.

The Trailhawk’s long hood is fronted by a signature seven-slot Jeep grille angled rearward to match the lean-back surface of the forward flares, with the slots filled with a mesh texture. Bracketed between the grille and the flares, the chamfered headlamps mimic the lean-back stance. Beneath their clear flush lenses, HID projector beam quad lamps nestled into twin “telescopic” polished aluminum barrels light the way forward while LEDs, configured in parallel stripes provide park and turn signals.

“The main headlamp units are cropped diagonally across the top,” said Vardis. “They peer out from an angled brow, giving the vehicle its bold, sinister look. In front view, the left and right lamps evoke the hooded eyes of a bird of prey.
“Like other concepts, we first viewed the math surface of the grille and headlamps together in the computer” added Vardis. “We immediately noticed the hawkish expression, hence the name ‘Trailhawk.’”

The taillamps mimic the look of the headlamps, including the striped turn signals, with the surface of the liftgate carved away.

The vehicle’s upper structure is set onto the lower body, encased by a crisp, chamfered 360-degree molding that runs around the greenhouse, accenting the high, arching beltline. At the base of the windshield is a seven-slot cowl screen that reprises the grille. The body is painted in Argent Pearl high-gloss, with the flares and lower body a slightly darker low-gloss variant.

The side windows retract fully into the body, leaving no B-pillar above the belt, while the diagonal quarter windows are also fully retractable. Gray-tinted twin longitudinal glass panels over the first- and second-row seats and the glass panel over the cargo compartment are removable, as is the swing-up backlight. With all the glass lowered and removed, the Trailhawk offers occupants virtually the same open-air ambience as a typical soft top Jeep. The fixed central spine contains overhead lighting and several integrated storage bins.

“The Jeep Trailhawk interior emphasizes the vehicle’s open air-freedom, inviting elements of the exterior theme into the interior,“said Cliff Wilkins, responsible for the interior design. “Tough mechanical elements which evoke exterior details are contrasted with sophisticated materials and finishes to give a modern, rugged, purposeful interior while delivering a premium off-road experience.”

The four-passenger interior is dominated by two major design elements —the cross-car instrument panel (I/P) form and a full-length central spine which forms the floor console. The AC outlets, center stack compass/inclinometer, and the dimensional, double-deck “biplane” gauges are housed in circular casings having the appearance of machined aluminum, with detailing matching headlamp surrounds. The two-tone leather-wrapped aluminum steering wheel features vertical individual switches for lights and speed control.

Riding the transmission tunnel, the console’s raised walls create a full-length open bin, handy for the storage of sundry items. Within the console’s side rails, two front/rear combination armrest/storage bin modules, movable via concealed tracks, can be positioned fore-aft at the occupants’ discretion. Using the familiar touchpad technology of laptop computers, a flip-out pad for the remote control fold-away flat screen navigation unit is housed in the forward armrest.

“The open console’s unique utility is enhanced by the relocation of the transfer case ‘Terrain Selector’ switch to the center stack of the I/P,” said Wilkins. “Also, there is the use of an electronic gear selector/park brake lever mounted to the right side of the steering column to continue this effect.”

Additional storage is available forward of the drop-open center stack control module, and in the lower door trim panels.
The driver and three passengers can relax in individual premium leather seating in Bark Black and Firewood Orange. The vehicle’s floor is a durable spray-finish with integrated non-slip heel pads, practical for all-weather use.

In the cargo area, each quarter panel houses a removable, portable “audio pod” sound system. Handsome in their rectangular dark gray cases accented with silver circular speaker bezels, each “pod” is fitted with a dock for an MP3 player. For carrying of first aid or road hazard gear, jerry-can style boxes in easy-to-find Firewood Orange are mounted forward of the speaker “pods.”

The utility of the cargo area is enhanced by a drop-down tailgate featuring integral concealed storage, four cup holders, and a sliding Load ‘N Go cargo tray with movable partitions that roll rearward for easy retrieval of stored items.

“One of the most remarkable things about the interior,” concludes Wilkins, “is that it was designed and surfaced entirely electronically — there were no traditional sketches or 3-D models. Even so, the interior turned out just as we had envisioned.”

Chrysler Nassau Concept: Artistic, Refined Definition of “What It Is to Be a Chrysler”

Detroit, Jan 8, 2007 – Combining refinement, function and style, the Chrysler Nassau concept explores a new expression of the Chrysler brand. The four-door, four-passenger Chrysler Nassau luxury coupe is, as Alan Barrington, principal exterior designer of the concept said, “a more emotional and artistic articulation of what it means to be a Chrysler.

Though built on a full-size 120-inch wheelbase, the Nassau appears more visually compact than a comparable Chrysler 300C.

“Traditional exterior proportions have been enhanced with a silhouette that recalls the classic English ‘shooting brake,’” said Barrington. “This provides SUV-like interior volume with a lower, more roadworthy physique.”

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Barrington said the exterior design vocabulary is fluid and sophisticated with special attention paid to wheel placement relative to the body surface for a sleek, toned stance.

“In order to attain a more compact appearance,” explained Barrington, “the Nassau has deliberately concise front and rear overhangs, with the body surface wrapped around the large 10-spoke 21-inch wheels.”

Accenting the Mystic Blue Pearl color of the body, the sill and the lower portions of the front and rear fascias are finished in Starbright Silver. The lower surface of the body is defined by a subtle undercut that rises slightly toward the rear wheel.

Though the arc of the roof resembles that of a coupe, the Chrysler Nassau concept is in fact a four-door hard top with front and rear side glass that retracts fully, revealing the absence of an above-the-belt B-pillar. The crisp but fluid A-line that closes slightly against the rising belt is also of particular note.

“We sought to capture the effect of a classic sculpture — an artistic approach with a shapely flowing of lines that give the impression of movement even while standing still,“ Barrington said. “The line in the profile draws down and into the taillamp, leading the eye of the observer toward to the dramatic back end which creates its unexpected ‘shooting brake’ appearance.”

In side view, the upper portion of the rear hatch is steeply raked, with the back light swept cleanly around to the C-pillars. The lower portion of the tapering back light glass is pulled emphatically rearward, a treatment repeated in the near vertical surface of the lower hatch. The flanking taillamps are graphically the reverse of the headlamps, with the lenses growing wider as they sweep around to the side, with the bright accent along the bottom of the lens. Much of the lens is populated by rows of bright rectangles set in a red field, the rectangles helping to delineate the surface of the rear quarters when the lamps are unlit. All exterior lighting is visually distinctive with the use of atypical textures, colors and LED technology.

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Fronting the long hood is a new interpretation of the eggcrate Chrysler grille, rendered in chrome and satin aluminum. Bracketing the grille and sweeping rearward nearly to the wheel openings, the long, narrowing headlamps and their upper chrome brows combine with the rising sculptured line of the upper fascia to subliminally evoke the uplifted wings of the Chrysler badge.

The Chrysler Nassau’s lower fascia is accented by the long chrome brows of the tapering left and right fog lamps, a detail replicated in the “repeater lamps” of the slim, door-mounted side view mirrors. The plan view of the Nassau highlights the dramatic swept-back curves that define both the front and rear fascias.

Stepping into the Chrysler Nassau, one enters a new world of luxury specially designed to a younger, aspiring audience. The presiding interior theme is one of flowing seamless sculpture composed of leathers and fabrics derived from futuristic architectural interiors.

“We looked carefully at space efficiency,” said Ben Chang, principal designer of the Nassau’s luxurious interior. “We pushed the interior surfaces outboard to increase the space inside while individual bucket seating provides each of the four occupants personal space.

“The look of various components inside the vehicle was inspired by the design of contemporary cell phones, computers, iPods and MP3 players,” Chang added. “We paid close attention to the graphics and finishes of these technologically advanced products, seeking to make controls in the Nassau’s interior that the driver interfaces with similar to what you’d find in the office or among personal electronic devices. We strived to achieve a seamless interface between your car and the rest of your electronic world.”

The instrument panel is a showcase for new technologies in data display, personal control interface, and home theater-inspired entertainment. Gear selection is accomplished via a pod control mounted on the instrument panel while the steering wheel incorporates auxiliary paddle shifters.

“The look of the instrument cluster was based on an expensive watch, again because we sought to create a visible connection with what people have and use,” Chang said.

While the instrument cluster has its own taut brow, the shape of the forward portion of the instrument panel is sensuously sculpted. Housing the main cluster, the upper surface of the panel includes a wide asymmetrical elliptical opening.

The shape was inspired and reminiscent of Constantin Brancusi’s famous Bird in Space sculptures. Brancusi, an artist based in Paris from the 1920s to the 1940s, was preoccupied by physical attributes of birds in flight, or more specifically, the essence of flight. The theme fits perfectly with the vehicle’s goal of giving the constant impression of smooth, slender movement.

Within the housing of the instrument panel (I/P) is a three-layer screen, which allows the simultaneous display of the navigation, passenger entertainment and vehicle function displays.

As they move toward the doors, the left and right side lower portions of the two-tone I/P rise upward, again subtly reprising the Chrysler wings. Sandwiched between the upper and lower surfaces of the instrument panel are partially-concealed horizontal vents that direct cool air into the cabin.

The four handsomely-formed bucket seats are covered in cream-colored leather, with the suede accents in a fine bamboo texture, a theme repeated on the door trim panels. Occupants can gaze upward through twin “Picture View” skylights, longitudinal blue-tinted glass panels that run the length of the roof panel. Those in the rear seats can enjoy a movie displayed on the flush video screens incorporated into the rear-facing portion of each of the front seat headrests.

Running fore-aft between the seats is a center console with a satin silver trim strip that travels from the I/P center stack to the upper rear seat backs. Set within the console are the front and rear “joy stick” controls designed to function much like the “mouse” control of a home or office computer. Power window switches and flush-mounted pop-up cup holders are also contained in the console.

Among the more interesting visual details within the Deep Mystic Blue and Cream interior are the refined-yet-simple chrome accents and textures used on the silver speaker grilles on the doors, seat back monitors, headliner and foot pedals.

Behind the passenger cabin, the surface of the boat tail-shaped cargo cover is accented with five stainless steel accent strips, while panels in the carpeted cargo area below offer additional storage.

“With its sculptural artistry and technological sophistication, the interior of the Chrysler Nassau is the perfect complement to its visually-arresting exterior,” said Chang.

2008 Dodge Challenger Videos

I thought everyone might be interested in watching these, since the Challenger articles are receiving the most hits.

    • So how many of you are ready to purchase one as soon as they are produced?

      • What do you like are dislike about it?

        Oh…Here are the Video’s I promised.

        Read the rest of this entry »

        JUNE IS MOPAR MONTH ON CARPIX TV

        The 2008 Dodge Challenger driving on Rte.66 video (exclusive) + SRT8 Magnum and Charger video + Dodge Viper SRT10 extreme driving video. All on the new Carpix TV service from June 4th 2006. Free trailers available now at the site here: – http://www.carpix.net/inxpges/vidindx.html
        June is Mopar month at Carpix – check out the trailer for the 2008 Challenger on Rte.66 video on YouTube here:- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfdrobP4Azs

        7.2 Liter SuperHemi ?

        The Hemispherical Blog takes all credit on this post on a rumor about a SUPER HEMI!

        Chrysler SW Engineers new 7.2 Liter SuperHemi or 440 CUI
        by HemiDakota on Thu Apr 27, 2006 6:35 pm

        Surprising move by DaimlerChrysler SW Engineers new 7.2 Liter SuperHemi or the 440 CUI engine

        HEMIBLOG, SRTMOPAR.COM – – – We have seen the first of the line of DaimlerChrysler Hemi engines starting with the 5.7 liter in 2002. Next it was the 6.1 liter Hemi in 2005 with advent of the Chrysler 300 SRT8. Last year surprise at SEMA revealed to us a SkunkWerks bored out, tweaked, and massaged 6.4 liter Hemi. Allpar insiders released rumors of the ‘Phoenix Project’ to update the V-6 line of powerplants that closely resembles the 5.7 liter Hemi engine design and may add some spin offs. So what’s left?

        Are you sitting down? Now take a deep breath…here it is – – –


        Image Credited: oh2o

        Few months ago, an insider leaked that SW engineers purposed a gapper motor between the soon-to-be SRT’s 6.4 liter Hemi and the Viper ‘8.4 liter’ V-10. What is known, the powerplant is currently being worked via the west coast at one of the SkunkWerks engine sub-contractors facilities, dubbed the 7.2 liter Super-Hemi or known as the 440-cubic motor. Talk about retro and remembering the old days, a theme that now ringing in my ears is the title – ‘Good Times are here again,’ this heavy weight giant motor supposed to reside on a new block and may be shared with the Gen II 6.1 liter Hemi.
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        Making of 2006 Dodge Hornet Concept “Slide Show”