Jeep Day Outtake: 1968 Jeep Gladiator J3000 – Buick Power

We’re going to have us a Jeep theme day, and this Gladiator is a fitting participant. We’ve done these in a lot more detail in the past (links at bottom), but I can’t ever resist shooting when I see one, especially in my neighborhood. There’s something so Tonka Toy about them, with their flat sides and 90 degree creases. And of course that grille. Jeep tough.

The Gladiator and related Wagoneer went through quite a few different engines in their long lives. The Tornado OHC six, based on the ancient 226 flathead six, was the sole original engine in 1963. Unfortunately, it was not Jeep Tough, at least in its first few years, although it went on to have an illustrious long career in Argentina.

In 1965, Kaiser Jeep wisely started buying the beefy 327 V8 from AMC, along with the new AMC 232 inch six, to replace the Toronado.

But in 1968, the AMC 327 was dropped in favor of the Buick 350 (5.7L) V8, with a 230 gross hp rating. Why? Jeep had been buying Buick’s 225 V6 statting in 1965, and then bought the whole V6 tooling in 1967, so presumably that relationship extended to buying the V8 too.

Of course that didn’t last long either, as AMC bought Jeep in 1970, so out went the Buick V8 and in went the AMC 360 (and 401) V8. But for the years 1968-1971, there was a 350 V8 badge on the side. I don’t know the actual model year of this truck, so I’m just going with the first year.

The J3000 is the bigger boy of the Gladiator family. Strictly speaking, the Gladiator name was dropped after 1971, and the model numbers inflated to J2000 and J4000, and from 1974, just J20 and J40.


The original grille lasted longer on the Glad than on the Wagoneer, all the way through 1969. So this is either a ’68 or ’69.


The cab got a curious raised top, quite different than the smoothly0faired transition on the Wagoneer. Obviously to increase headroom, but why exactly I’m not sure.


This is a long wheelbase (132″) version, with the 8′ bed. Elemental.

Of course you all know that the Gladiator name is coming back for 2020. A bit less elemental, but it’ll probably be a hit. Jeep seems to not be able to do wrong these days; the brand is red hot.


More in-depth Gladiator reading:

CC 1965 Gladiator J2000: Holy Toledo  JPCavanaugh

CC 1967 Gladiator J3000: The Truck of the Future   PN