Trucks & SUVs

Jeep Brings Back “Jeepster”: What’s That?

The Jeepster name has not been used for decades but is set to make a return. The original Jeepster came out in 1948. It was a more car-like convertible to augment Jeep’s mostly rugged, off-road offerings. Now the name is being applied to a special-edition 2020 Renegade. Jeep’s Renegade has seen sales slide down from a high of over 106,000 in 2016. More competition and various transmission and software maladies have tarnished its reputation. Maybe the Jeepster name will help burnish the Renegade name. 

The Renegade Jeepster package will be applied to the entry-level Renegade Sport.

Here’s what you get on the outside for this package:

19-inch x 7.5-inch Granite painted aluminum wheels

235/45R19 BSW All-Season tires

Gloss black grille rings

Jeepster door decals

There’s more on the inside:

Black cloth seating with accent color stitching

Metal diamond speaker covers and vent bezels

Uconnect4 with a seven-inch touchscreen display

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Passive entry/remote start

All of this Jeepster love will add $1,895 to the list price

Initially, the Jeepster will only be available in Black or Colorado Red. Later in the year, three other custom colors will become available. Jeep has not released what those might be. All of this Jeepster love will add $1,895 to the list price of the Renegade Sport according to MoparInsiders.

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Standard Jeep Renegade Sport features include the 2.4-liter Tigershark 180 hp four-cylinder hooked to a nine-speed 948TE automatic transmission. It cranks out 175 lb-ft of torque. It comes in both front-wheel- and four-wheel-drive versions. 

Ordering is happening now. It is unclear if Jeep will produce spec models or if this is an order-only deal. You can contact your local Jeep dealer for more info. 

Jeep produced about 20,000 in the three model years from 1948-1950

1948 Willys Jeepster, 2000. (Photo by National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

As for the original Jeepster there were actually two distinct ones. The first from 1948 was designed by Milwaukee, Wisconsin, industrial designer Brooks Stevens. It looked somewhat like a 1930s phaeton, which were open four-door sedans. The Jeepster was a two-door but it had that phaeton look. It stayed in production through 1950. Jeep produced about 20,000 in those three model years.

But then in 1966, the C-101 Jeepster Commando was introduced. It was a more modern interpretation of the original Jeepster. This was during the period when Kaiser owned the brand. It was meant to compete with the new SUVs appearing like the International Scout and Ford Bronco which also made its debut in 1966. In many ways, it is the predecessor to the modern Cherokee.

American Motors bought Jeep it kept the Commando until 1973

1967 Jeepster | Getty

After American Motors bought Jeep it kept the Commando the same before slightly lengthening the wheelbase to add their own straight-six engine. It also received a new front end at this time. In this guise, it lasted until 1973. It was available as a pickup, convertible, roadster, and station wagon. The station wagon configuration became what we think of as an SUV today.

The Jeepster name has been used for two concepts

The Jeepster name was used again for a great little concept back in 1998. It was a cross between a stylish Jeep and sporty coupe. It had an experimental adjustable electronic suspension for an all-around utility vehicle; lower for city driving and lifted for off-road use. 

There has been one more Jeep with the Jeepster name and it too was a concept. This one was based on a production Wrangler for the 2018 Easter Jeep Safari event in Moab. It too was somewhat of a cross between a Wrangler and sporty car but based on the production Jeep. The top was chopped and windshield laid back a bit for a sneakier look.