Jeep Tuxedo Park Mark IV: Was this the most “overnamed” car of its time? Or just misnamed? The Jeep CJ-5 was a gnarly little beast, rough riding and zero creature comforts. I can see why Kaiser Jeep decided a bit of civilizing might be a good way to broaden its appeal, and thus offer a package that did offer a few civilizing touches, like a column shifter, power brakes and somewhat softer rear springs along with nicer-trimmed seats. But Tuxedo Park Mark IV?
Especially so since it was described as a “New Sports Model”, although it was hardly new in 1966; in fact I think that was the last year, with the package of options first available in 1961 and an actual separate model in 1965 or 1966.
As best as I can tell from the limited amount of information out there, the Tuxedo Park was just a package of a few trim pieces (mostly chrome) in its first three years (1961-1963), and they were referred to as TP Mark I, II and II, so there’s some truth in advertising about the Mark IV name. But there was never a Mark V, as the Mark IV name stuck and the TP package morphed into a more complete package with a number of actual meaningful items as listed here and above. One of those was “a single lever transfer case shifter”; was that a new transfer case too?
It all come to naught, as sales were very modest and the Tuxedo Park was parked, forever.
No. It was the same Dana 18 T-case they used since WW2. You can buy kits now to convert back to a twin stick.
Outboard Marine Corp. used these Kaiser V6s with their stringer mount stern drives for a few years. Was fun working on them, they felt so familiar, yet no GM casting numbers to be found.
Now I’ve seen it all. A brougham – wannabe Jeep.
That side-mounted spare always looked awkward to me, but at least it was out of the way of the tailgate opening. I’m sure it got bumped against a lot of things when serious off-roading became popular.
I was curious about the name, so I looked it up. Tuxedo Park is an upscale “village” in mid-state New York, the site of vacation homes for wealthy finance and entertainment folks. More Wagoneer than CJ territory, at least in the 1960’s. It’s name is of Native American origin and the origin of the US term for male formalwear, not the other way around. I think Jeep did better with Rubicon, or even Laredo.
My Italian ancestors were the immigrants who came as stone masons to build the mansions of Tuxedo Park and then stay on as domestic help. It was one of the first gated communities in the country. True guilded age type stuff, the thought being the new money could have a fall social season close to New York that would rival winters in Palm Beach and summers in Newport. The new game of golf, as well as hunting and fishing were the main draws (the 1886 course is currently under the New York thruway). It’s true that The Tuxedo comes directly from there and it was considered shockingly informal for a gentleman to wear a jacket with no tails. The depression wiped out the social scene and most of the great houses were abandoned or broken up, but even in the 70s some of the old guard were still around. My grandparents used to take me to Mrs. Buell’s house to dust the great books in her library, her husband ran Wendell Wilkies campaign. She gave us a pristine 1940 Buick that I wish we still had. Larry Hagman, in full JR Ewing mode picked up my cousin and me hitchhiking up to the lake that townies could use, his mother Mary Martin lived in the park.
Still, by 1966 it’s hard to imagine the name ringing any kinds of bells outside of Orange County New York.
Thanks for the personal memories.
All of this fascinating! Here’s a 1941 article in the Albany paper—evidently possibility of middle-income development on the way:
Thanks here too. Fascinating side-journey (so typical of CC). What a collection of buildings.
Still exists as a gated community. Per Wikipedia, 0.7% African-American…
I grew up in Tuxedo Park during the 80s and 90s. Was quite a nice place to live.
Apparently that 160hp is net. That’s pretty good for a 2bbl v6 from the 60’s. I don’t think the early turbo models had that much.
Based on? Power figures were almost invariably given in gross numbers, and I’m quite sure that’s the case here.
That is gross. Net HP was around 130-135ish
Just goes to show those weirdly over names JDM cars arent even trying.
I’d heard of the Tuxedo Park Jeep before, but for some reason never stopped to think what an odd name it was. Definitely one of the least-fitting names I could think of for this vehicle. I also never realized that Tuxedo Park was a real place — I looked it up, and the comments above about Tuxedo Park are interesting. Maybe some Willys executive grew up there?
And too bad this wasn’t offered in the 1970s as well, in which case it would be outfitted with a tape-stripe tuxedo package too! As it is, the only unique badging were small emblems on the sides of the hood.
But all kidding aside, it’s an interesting mode since I guess this is the first attempt to “civilize” the Jeep. For that, it was quite a trailblazer — though I wonder what proportion of total CJ sales were Tuxedo Parks?
Just checked it’s not April Fool’s Day. The ad almost reads like something out of Mad magazine. New Brakes! As opposed to what, no brakes? Read the fine print and it’s the servo that’s new. They’ve done better to have said improved brakes. A new and different sports car? Only if you didn’t understand what a sports car was. Captivating flair? Um…..
A Jeep certainly had its place in the automotive scheme of things, but this wasn’t it.
I came across another interesting aspect of the Tuxedo Park, which is its 1961 promotion. Apparently Jeep contracted with late night TV show host Jack Paar to feature Tuxedo Park Jeeps in 13 episodes of his “Jack Paar Show”.
The show was a successful, and somewhat controversial (for the day) TV show that aired nationwide at 11:15 pm in the early ’60s. I can’t quite figure out what role the Jeep had, but I believe that Paar and co-host Hugh Downs used the Jeeps in some sort of skits, which were likely promotions piece for Willys. There was also a fair amount of advertising for this show and it’s Jeep.
Pretty unique for the time – I have no idea if this marketing ploy was considered successful… or what target demographic Jeep was after in the first place. But it’s interesting nonetheless. Doesn’t look like any of the original recordings still exist, but I did find this picture from Ft. Worth, Texas of some of the promotional materials.
You wouldn’t want to be following that thing too close – the moment it hits a bump you’d be showered with flying skis, guitars, bags, kids…
The spare wheel placement ranks high amongst the less fortunate in history. Looks like the knob with which one winds it up.
I have admired the Jeep since I was little my dad had a very early 2A. What were the Kaiser designers thinking when they came out with a column shifter and single stick on the transfer case. A column shift in an era when people were buying floor shift conversions for their cars. And the single stick for the transfer case making it harder to shift. They had their heads in the sand. No wonder the company failed.