Home / Car News / Good Gaud: The Jeep D-Coder Concept Should Skip Moab For The Nearest Maaco (Or Landfill)

Good Gaud: The Jeep D-Coder Concept Should Skip Moab For The Nearest Maaco (Or Landfill)

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I know I know, that headline is a bit mean. But I praised the ’41 Concept, calling it the “Perfect Four-Door Wrangler.” And who would I be to praise the good but forego criticizing the bad? Certainly not a writer you could trust. So here I am, writing about the Jeep D-Coder concept, a Gladiator-based Easter Jeep Safari vehicle meant to showcase aftermarket components from Jeep Performance Parts. And while the vehicle accomplishes that goal, it doesn’t look good doing it.

One thing I try not to do as a journalist is make a habit out of writing scathing takes on things — takedowns just to create controversy and clicks. That’s overdone, doesn’t require a lot of talent, and usually ignores a bunch of context behind why something is the way it is. But then there are times when I just can’t hold my tongue; this is one of those times. This D-Coder concept is hideous.

The red bumpers, the red belly pan, the red rock rails, the red tubular doors, the red interior, the red snorkel, the red basket on the bedsides — it’s utterly ostentatious, which is so far from the Jeep Gladiator’s best look. As the ’41 Concept that I wrote about earlier today demonstrated, Jeep Wranglers (and their Gladiator derivatives) lend themselves best to simplicity — steel wheels, a simple color scheme, maybe some half doors, and not too much else. A bunch of flashy red on black? Yikes:

Jeep® d-Coder Concept By Jpp
Jeep® D-Coder Concept by JPP

Again, this vehicle is all about showing off the “35 JPP and Mopar accessories, each painted in contrasting Maraschino Red and labeled with QR (quick response) codes,” so there is method behind this “rolling catalog of factory-tested and factory-backed items.” And it’s worth mentioning that every year the studio designers at Chrysler come up with epic designs like the ’41 Concept, while the folks at Jeep Performance Parts tend to come up with some gaudy, over-outfitted Jeep to show off MOPAR’s aftermarket capability; so this isn’t really new. What is new, I think, is just how gaudy things have gotten this year. Just wow:

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The D-Coder is based on a 3.6-liter V6 Gladiator Rubicon; there’s a three-piece bumper with a warn winch and some LED lights, some red tubular half-doors, a snorkel, 37-inch BF Goodrich tires on 17-inch beadlock wheels, a two-inch lift, some rock rails between the axles and behind of the rear, a Thule basket on MOPAR bed rails, bedliner, more LED lights on the cowl, leather seating, and a whole bunch more.

I’m a fan of the Gladiator. A convertible, off-road capable truck is just a cool thing. And I also realize that there are plenty of Jeep folks out there who like gaudy styling; the fact that this Rough Country “Angry Eyes” grille exists just proves that:

Replacement Grille | Angry Eyes | Jeep Gladiator JT (20-22)/Wrangler JL (18-22)
Image: Rough Country

 

But the D-Coder is definitely a no from me, dog. Take it to a Maaco paint shop ASAP.

Images: Jeep (Unless otherwise stated)
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49 Responses

  1. “the studio designers at Chrysler come up with epic designs like the ’41 Concept, while the folks at Jeep Performance Parts tend to come up with some gaudy, over-outfitted Jeep to show off MOPAR’s aftermarket capability”

    I didn’t know this, it is cool to know that these 2 different creations didn’t come from the same brain trust.

    While ugly, it is cool to see the QR codes on the optional parts.

  2. I think the choice of Maraschino Red is really what pushes this thing over the edge. There’s a lot of magenta in that red, and it just doesn’t work at all. I can’t post images here, but I’ll say that while shifting it to a brighter, more orangey red doesn’t make this thing exactly beautiful, it does make it look less like it’s been draped in the viscera of a freshly-killed manatee.

    1. I completely agree. It also bothers me that the winch hook will scrape the crap out of the bumper because it is just hanging there; I guess getting rid of some of that red paint would be good though.

  3. “One thing I try not to do as a journalist is make a habit out of writing scathing takes on things — takedowns just to create controversy and clicks.”

    Don’t worry, David, you’re the Holy Grail of Jeep-enthusiast auto-journalists!

    Torch, on the other hand, is more of a grail-shaped beacon in the castle tower, leading unsuspecting, virtuous readers into temptation of eight score young Paos and tail-lights all between 16 and 19½.

    [If you don’t get this pop-culture reference, then there is no way you possibly have an engineering degree from an accredited university.]

    1. i think it’s just to showcase the parts in the catalog, and not to blend in with the stock. Sure, a Jeep person could tell what’s factory, and what’s aftermarket, but someone like me, or maybe just thinking about getting a jeep can’t.

  4. I drive a Gladiator Mojave and toy with the idea of putting some extra shit on it. Then I see this and immediately close the Quadratec tab on my browser because I don’t want to be “that guy.”

    ……sigh.

    1. One of the chief tenets of Jeepdom is that owners are allowed to modify and customize their Jeeps to suit their needs and tastes. It has ever been thus, all the way back to the Willys days. Just keep in mind that you *are* showing the world what kind of taste you have, and modify accordingly. I think if you go in with a master plan in mind rather than just tacking on whatever is the baddest-looking accessory that’s in your budget for the month, you’ll be alright. I mean, that 1941 tribute concept looks excellent if you ask me.

  5. “there are plenty of Jeep folks out there who like gaudy styling” – that might be the understatement of the year. Although I think it is high time we recognize that there are several different kinds of Jeep people. Anyone who has any kind of interest in a Forward Control is probably not the same person who likes Angry Eyez. If only there was an automotive website whose raison d’etre was to create weird taxonomy charts.

  6. As a rolling accessory showcase, it does it job very well. It had to be a challenge to fit as many accessories on this thing as they did and I applaud them. Unfortunately, this is not out of place in my area. I see so much of this dumb crap around here, my eyes are at risk of rolling out of my head. “Mean jeep” faces with snorkels are the absolute worst. Throw in a jack mounted to the outside that has never been used, and you have a real winner. What I really hate is that people think they are creative and that they have made something “their own” by bolting this junk onto their Jeep. Maybe I am just jealous that I am not selling aftermarket stuff to these guys. What a goldmine!

  7. It looks like half the jeeps I see around my area?

    I just don’t know, to me besides color scheme it doesn’t look that different than the 41 concept that was being praised yesterday.

    Maybe it is a Jeep thing.

  8. Hmm. It seems someone at Chrysler has discovered one or more of the many plastidip channels on YouTube. Maybe somewhere there could watch a few channels about not bankrupting the company a few times a decade.

    1. SO tired of the angry TactiCool jeeps!* To me, jeeps are happy & fun. I idly dream of getting one and fabricating a happy or surprised grille cover.

      * mind you, I strongly believe in freedom of automotive expression (excepting unsafe modifications like Xtreme Camber or Carolina Squat), so I’ve learned to live with them.

  9. I think we’re missing the point of the choice of color for the accessories. It’s to highlight what is optional on the vehicle.

    If the accessories were body color, would you be as negative toward the styling?

    To put it a different way, if Jeep made the accessories body-color, you’d have a hard time seeing what’s optional and what comes stock.

  10. Here are a handful of colour combinations that are better than Red on Black that could almost immediately fix this concepts biggest issue:
    Blue on Grey
    Orange on Gunmetal
    White on Blue
    Lime on Black
    Purple on Yellow
    Blue on Yellow
    Blue on White

    I mean honestly, almost anything is better than the combination they’ve chosen.

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