Cohort Outtake: Jeepster Commando – Somewhere Folks Are Driving Top-Down With an F-head

These pictures posted by William Oliver are dated December 2018. It’s nice to know that in sunny Southern California folks were still driving with their tops down. But then I don’t actually see any top to put up on this Jeepseter, so maybe this is its permanent status. There’s two things intriguing about this one. yes, mismatched fenders and windshield, which were likely replaced with donor items. But there’s one more thing:

It’s lacking the V6 emblem, which means this presumably came with the “Hurricane”F-134, the F-head version of the old Willys four engine that dated back to the 1930s or so. It was given an F-head in 1950 in order to increase its breathing and power, from 60hp to 75hp (gross).

That gave the little CJ Jeep a meaningful boost in the early 50s, but by 1966, when the Jeepster arrived on its longer 101″ wheelbase and heavier body, that was decidedly underpowered. Which explains why so many came with the Buick-sourced 225 inch “Dauntless’ V6. Kaiser bought the tooling for the V6 in 1967, and then sold it back to Buick in 1973.

The Jeepster was essentially a revival itself, as there was a Jeepster built from 1948-1950 with the same basic idea. But it was not very successful, hence its short life.

The Jeepster v.2 sold reasonably well, but then AMC ruined it in 1971 by stretching and restyling its nose in order to fit its inline six engines. That ruined its proportions and took away its iconic Jeep face, and sales drooped quickly, until it died just two years later in 1973. You wouldn’t see Jeep do that nowadays.

I’m not sure exactly where in Southern California it is, but the Jeepster was made for the beach.