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Not your grandpa’s Willy’s anymore!

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Camp Jeep lures lovers of four-wheeling at Denver Auto Show

By Patty Unruh

Thousands of people visited the Denver Auto Show, one of the biggest such events in the country, over the past weekend, looking at Smart cars, Cadillac’s, Hyundai’s, and dozens of other brand names.

The cars on the floor at the consumer product show weren’t for immediate sale, but a multitude of able assistants was ready to direct folks to the nearest dealership. All of the ordinary consumer models were present, from Camaro and Mustang to Escalade and vans.

Even though the Lamborghinis, Jaguars, and Lincolns grabbed their share of attention, probably the biggest hit was Camp Jeep. That was an obstacle course set up by Jeep to exhibit the multitude of capabilities of Jeeps, from a steep climb to a drive over a replica forest of tree stumps that would have left the aforementioned hot rods and luxury sedans high-centered.

Ironically, the Camp Jeep course was significantly milder than many of the driveways Gilpin County residents encounter on a daily basis.

The groundbreaking event that allowed consumers not only to see but also experience the travels of a Jeep was set up to roll over rocks, climb hills, and in other ways exhibit the traction and ground clearance of a Jeep.

Consumers were not allowed to command their own four-wheeler, but specialists in the stability and maneuverability of the new lineup of Jeeps did the driving. Incidentally, with onboard computers, GPS, television cameras and the like, these are not your grandfather’s old Willys Jeep CJ2A.

In a statement from Jim Morrison, director of Jeep Brand Marketing, he explained the goals. “The Camp Jeep provides attendees to the Denver Auto Show with a taste of the Jeep brand lifestyle and showcases the capability of the product lineup. Customers can experience first-hand the all-new Jeep vehicle lineup that has been successfully gaining sales traction in the market.”

Among the obstacles were an 18-foot mobile mountain and a 30-degree wedge on which to drive. Another featured attraction was the section for modified Jeeps, where the stock models were upgraded to allow for significantly more articulation in the axles, larger wheels and tires, and all the other enhancements of today’s back-country traveler.

Also an attraction was the display of Lamborghinis, with price tags ranging up to about $250,000. These were in the “Do Not Touch” section, and didn’t have a sample road course.

While family pets were not allowed to visit, the management posted an online statement that “dragons and unicorns are welcome.”

Among the brands represented were GMC, Kia, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Buick, Mazda, Ford, Subaru, Honda, Acura, Nissan, Jeep, Dodge, Chrysler, Toyota, Lincoln, Cadillac, Lexus, VW, Smart, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Infiniti, Volvo, and Ferrari.

If you’ve not had the opportunity to attend previously, plan on taking your family next year – it’s an automotive education and well worth your time to see what’s available in todays’ market all in one place.

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