Back when I still lived in California, it seemed that every gardener/landscaper used a small and old Toyota or Nissan truck. A really big operator might spring for a T-100 but that was kind of pushing it and a sign that perhaps you were being overcharged. Here in Colorado it seems that nobody can mow a lawn or pull a few weeds without showing up in a 3/4 or 1-ton 4WD truck every time, usually with a giant trailer. That’s why I’ve enjoyed seeing this older and very down to earth Jeep pickup in the same neighborhood as a house I’m working on; I see it several times a week in front of various houses and it seems to have cornered the market here.
As I finally stopped to take a few pictures of it a couple of weeks ago, a man on the porch of the house it was sort of in front of asked me what I was doing. I explained myself and he suggested I go through his gate and talk to his gardener. So I did. And in the immaculately maintained oasis of a backyard found Jenny, the owner of the truck.
It turns out that her Dad bought the truck new in 1980; they lived a few miles to the east of here and he used the truck as one used to use them, i.e. hauling water, clearing brush, you know, real work on the homestead without much regard to the truck’s paint and other cosmetics.
When Jenny decided to get into the landscaping business, she took over the truck and since it had been part of the family, it’s now also a big part of the business. I’ve seen it empty a couple of times, but usually when I see it again later in the day it’s loaded down with clippings, branches, yard waste, etc, often filled to overflowing but always being used in the same way it’s been used since the beginning. Jenny didn’t strike me as the type of person to be looking to upgrade to something bigger or shinier, and this one seems to be doing the job just fine.
The Jeep truck is no stranger to these here virtual pages, but I don’t think we’ve featured a 1980 one of these yet. This is the J-10, the half-ton model, originally known as a Gladiator, then J-2000, and then J-10 as of 1974. I’m assuming this one uses the Jeep 258ci inline-6 but the 360ci V8 was optional. I’m basing that assumption on the fact that this one is equipped with a manual transmission, but I could be wrong, I don’t think it was ever denoted on the body and I can’t recall what Jenny said; after all, since last week I am “of a certain age”.
The colors are one of the two-tone options, in this case Navy Blue (new for 1980!) over White. Of course Father Time has introduced a third tone to the mix but that’s alright, this is a working truck and wears its patina proudly.
The rear bumper used to be in better shape, it was rear-ended a couple of weeks ago and caused it to fold under. Replacing it shouldn’t be too difficult, there’s an equally patinated one in one of the local junkyards but undoing the bolts may take a bit of doing…
It’s nice to see a truck still in the same family so many years later and especially to see it still being used every day. I’d say it’s certainly earned its keep over the years. And based on what I saw of Jenny’s work, if you live in the area and want someone top-notch to take care of your plantings, call her, you won’t regret it. And who knows, maybe you can go for a ride in the truck!