If You Can’t Afford a Vintage Ford Bronco Buy the Cooler Jeepster Commando Instead
The Ford Bronco is on a hot streak across the board right now. Whether you want a brand-new 2021 Ford Bronco or a vintage Ford Bronco, you might have an equally difficult time getting your hands on either. The price of a vintage Bronco has shot through the roof. Don’t overpay for a vintage 4×4 box when there are so many other even cooler options for a fraction of the price, like the Jeepster Commando. Let me give a few reasons to choose the Jeepster Commando over a vintage Ford Bronco.
The Jeepster Commando is cooler than a vintage Bronco
The Jeepster Commando is one of the few vintage 4x4s that has managed to slip by undetected by the ever-watchful eyes of people foaming at the mouth to way overspend on old 4x4s. The Jeepster is a rare bird. In fact, according to MotorTrend, AMC only made the C-104 Commando for two years (1972-1973), making it far rarer than any overpriced vintage Ford Bronco.
Just because it’s a bit more obscure doesn’t mean it sucks. AMC gave many of the best bits from the CJ Jeeps to the Jeepsters. So, the Jeepster has solid parts and off-road chops; it looks very cool and is pretty rare. If this isn’t the boxy 4×4 to buy, I don’t know what is.
Jeepster Commando prices are still living in this world
MotorTrend found an actual classified listing for a crusty 1972 Jeepster Commando barn find, asking $6,500. Admittedly this listing feels a bit high for the “as is” condition of the Commando. But even an overpriced version makes for a screaming impossibly good deal if it were a Bronco from the same year. Let’s take a closer look at the listing. The seller writes this about the Commando:
“True barn find! 1972 Jeep Commando C-104. One-family-owned since new. Only 71k miles! Speedo still works fine. When the old gentleman passed, it went to his nephew, whom I purchased it from directly. He got the brakes working, the fuel tank cleaned, and so on. It cranks right up, runs, drives, and stops. It needs mufflers! Here’s the good part: It’s the 304ci V-8 engine, automatic transmission, power steering, and power brakes. It’s 4×4 with the original Warn lockout hubs. Typical rust spots on an original Jeepster 50 yrs old. The main rust is on the tailgate. And there is some on the removable steel hardtop, as well. But there are reproduction tailgates available that are much thicker & stronger than the originals. Most restorers prefer to go that route. The engine seems to have a slight miss. And I can hear a vacuum leak, too. Sold as-is. Asking $6,500” (Photos of the listing here)
There is something familiar about the front end of the Jeepster
As MT keenly points out, the front end of the Jeepster commando (mainly the grille) and vintage Broncos are undeniably similar. If you look at just the grille of the Commando, it’s easy to imagine a blue oval. AMC stretched the front end to make room for the V8 that would replace the Buick-sourced inline-six.
The Jeepster can also remove its doors and top – kind of
One of the major perks of a vintage Ford Bronco is that the roof and doors can easily come off to make a Jeep-like off-roader. But the Jeepster can pull that trick too, sort of. The doors do come off, but they don’t do so nearly as easily as the CJs or Bronco. However, the Jeepster has a far more rigid body tub than the Bronco, meaning that once the doors are off, the Jeepster is way more stable. The Broncos get a little floppy with the roof and doors off.
Overall, the Jeepster is at least as good as a vintage Ford Bronco
According to MotorTrend, the 304 V8 gives the Jeepster Commando plenty of torquey power that keeps the Bronco alternative spritely and fun. The transmission is also a beast. MT believes that the powertrain for the Commando is better overall than the same year Broncos.
Overall, the Jeepster Commando is cool, rare, well-built, and so much cheaper than the vintage Ford Broncos that it is honestly such a no-brainer. If you want a cool vintage 4×4 and you don’t go with a Jeepster over a massively inflated vintage Ford Bronco, it feels like money down the drain at this point.