Trucks & SUVs

The History of the First Jeep Truck Models is Incredible

So, the Jeep Gladiator wasn’t the first Jeep truck. But what model was? There is a long history of Jeep that goes back to 1940 when the Willys was tailored to Amry specifications when World War II was on the horizon. But that was for the SUV what about the first Jeep truck? 

The history of the Jeep truck 

According to CJ Pony Parts, the original Jeep truck was the Willys-overland Jeep 4×4 truck. It was manufactured from 1947 to 1965. This was a one-ton truck with 4×4 that was available as a pickup truck, platform stake truck, chassis cab, or bare chassis. In 1949, a ¾ ton two-wheel-drive variant was produced. 

A Classic 1954 Willys-Overland Jeep 4x4 Truck
1954 Willys-Overland Jeep 4×4 Truck | Jeep

Earlier models featured the Go-Devil engine, a straight-four engine with 63 hp that became famous during World War II. It powered to original Willys Jeep and nearly all other Jeep vehicles used in the war. Nearly 200,000 Willys Jeep 4×4 trucks were manufactured during its 18-year run. 

The Jeep FC Series 

According to Car and Driver, the Jeep FC Series was the second Jeep truck, and it was manufactured by Kaiser from 1957 to 1966. This truck had one weird look, and we like it. Also, the FC stands for Forward Control series. 

A 1957 Jeep FC crawling over the terrain
1957 Jeep FC | Jeep

RELATED: Bruce Springsteen Alludes to Jeep 80th Anniversary Models

The FC had a cab-over design, meaning you sat on top of the engine. It had a massive bed for hauling anything and could also go over anything, like a classic Jeep. The FC was manufactured for personal use, work fleets, and the military. 

While the pickup beds were standard, you could also get it as a fire truck or dump truck. Some were converted into minibusses too. The base engine had 72 hp, and the 3/4 -ton FC-150 had a 155-hp inline-six option. 

The Jeep Gladiator J-Series 

Wait?! There was another Jeep Gladiator before the 2020 model? Yep, the Jeep Gladiator was in production from 1962 to 1988. It overlapped with the Camanchee for two model years. It dropped the Gladiator moniker and was called the J2000 and J4000. 

1980 Jeep Gladiator / J Series Truck
1980 Jeep Gladiator / J Series Truck | Jeep

The J-Series acquired AMC engines. The AMC 401 was available from 1947 to 1978 and pumped out 225 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque. When Chrysler bought AMC in 1987, the J-Series met its end. It was phased out due to its aging design. Chrysler also already had a broad range of Dodge trucks to offer. 

The Jeepster Commando 

The Jeepster Commando truck entered the market in 1966 to compete with the trucks that Ford and Toyota had to offer. The Jeepster was available as a pickup truck, convertible, roadster, and wagon to rival the Bronco, Scout, and other competitors. 

1972 Jeepster Commando Truck | Jeep

It had a four-cylinder engine that made 75-hp. The Jeepster was removed when Chrysler bought AMC, but the Commando remained in production for two more years. The new Jeepster Beach concept has our hopes up for the return of compact Jeep truck options. 

Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler 

Far out, dudes. The Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler was introduced in 1981. Scrambler comes from a package that offered graphics and unique wheels to provide an 80’s feel, but it didn’t catch on and was discontinued in 1986. 

1982 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler parked near mountains
1982 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler | Jeep

This truck was fitted to a CJ chassis and came with a four-cylinder engine with 82 hp. You could upgrade to the inline-six engine for 110 hp. You could get the scrambler with hardtop and soft top variants too. 

The Jeep Comanche

The jeep Comanche came out in 1985 and was based on the Jeep Cherokee. It only started at about $7,049 and was designed to compete against rival compact trucks, like the Toyota Hilux. 

The 1986 Jeep Comanche parked in grass
1986 Jeep Comanche | Jeep

There were four different engines and six transmission options during its life span, including a 2.1-liter turbo diesel option with 85-hp. The Comanche was also available with a six or seven-foot cargo bed. 

You could add an optional roll bar to make the Camanche a little safer. A short-wheelbase body style was added to the lineup in 1987. However, sales were declining, and Chrylser decided that Jeep should focus on SUVs while Dodge focused on trucks.