The Jeep Gladiator Top Dog concept vehicle is headed to Moab for the first time. First built in 2020, it sat in limbo for events to open up again, and the 55th Annual Easter Jeep Safari was the opportunity Jeep had been waiting for.
Due to COVID-19, the host group, Red Rock 4-Wheelers, had Easter Jeep Safari canceled, only to have the Grand County Commission in February approve a revision to the group’s special permit, and their event permit. Part of their compliance required cancellation of the vendor portion of the show, although the group has announced they will do a virtual live-streamed giveaway, to be held Friday, April 2nd at 6:30 p.m. Mountain time on their Facebook page.
Top Dog, the Jeep concept vehicle, isn’t in reference to man’s best friend, but instead to mountain bike enthusiasts. K-9 blue-hued, the most salient feature is the Aussie-made, Patriot Campers’ PCOR flatbed canopy system, designed specifically for the Gladiator. In perusing the PCOR4X4 website, Jeep has a canopy unlike any other Patriot has created, this one is what I would call a full canopy, as opposed to the 3/4 and half canopies PCOR currently offers. That being said, having built this one for Jeep, the likelihood of getting an identical canopy is quite good, although having it shipped from Australia might take some doing.
Replacing the Top Dog’s standard pickup bed, the PCOR canopy opens up all kinds of possibilities. In this case, Jeep utilized the space curbside to store bike tools and replacement parts. Gas-assisted doors with slide-out drawers make bike maintenance and repair easier, with automotive dust seals to keep the collection of Moab’s dirt to a minimum.
On the flip side, there’s a refrigerator, and an electric hot dog roller grill, an addition I’ve never seen in several years of overlanding. Rhino racks, one above the Top Dog’s cab and another mounted to the canopy, are great for carrying bikes up and out of the way, plus additional expedition boxes full of riding gear and other essentials. Keep in mind that with this setup instead of a hitch rack for your bikes, the Gladiator becomes several feet taller and you won’t fit in most garages and some drive-throughs.
The Top Dog uses the 285 HP, 3.6-liter V6 that’s standard on the Gladiator, mated to an eight-speed automatic, the latter more likely to assist display personnel incapable of using a six-speed manual. Plenty of Jeep Performance Parts (JPP) have been used on the Top Dog, like the Rubicon front bumper, and JPP/Warn winches, one fore, and another aft. A concept hood, something not currently available, JPP five-inch LED off-road lights, and a JPP snorkel, complete the front end.
JPP rock rails, with custom two-inch steel tubes, and black sill guards with the Gladiator logo, are there for protection as much as they are for appearance. Inside, there are K-9 blue accents throughout, including stitching on the Katzkin leather seat covers, armrests, and steering wheel. Mopar pedal covers and floor mats finish off the interior accouterments.
Look for the Top Dog and other Jeep concept vehicles to pop up elsewhere, like the Detroit 4Fest, and other 4Fest events.