AMC JEEP Commando
engine: AMC 304, gasoline
power: 152 PS
mileage: 67'000 km
color: Daisy Yellow
The first Jeepster "VJ" was produced from 1948 to 1950. Willys-Overland, owner of the Jeep brand, believed after the Second World War that the market for the Jeep was limited to farmers and foresters according to military patterns and therefore produced models such as the Jeep CJ, the Jeep Wagon and the Jeep Truck. A gap in the model range between commercial vehicles and passenger cars was to be closed by the rear-wheel-drive Jeepster, a forerunner of today's crossover models. The car was offered from 1948 to 1950. The angular body style designed by Brooks Stevens was criticized for not meeting the public taste of the targeted market segment. Sparse advertising also thwarted the sales success. In total, only 19,132 Jeepster VJs were built.
The Jeepster VJ was powered by a Willys Go Devil four-cylinder in-line engine with 2,196 cm³ and 62 bhp (46 kW), like the CJ had. There was a manual three-speed gearbox (with overdrive on request) and all wheels were braked with drum brakes. The transverse leaf spring on the front axle, as well as the rear axle, came from the Jeep Wagon, the flat rear mudguards and the longitudinal leaf springs at the rear corresponded to those of the Jeep Truck.
The Jeepster resurrected under Emperor 1966 in the form of the Jeepster Commando C-101. The counter-rotating four-cylinder in-line engine was standard, and the 160hp V6 Kaiser-Dauntless engine could be ordered on request. A four-wheel drive was used. From 1966 to 1971, 57,350 Jeepster Commando C-101 were sold.
A number of body variants were available for the Jeepster Commando: a station wagon, a convertible, a pickup and a roadster. A particularly remarkable offer was the Deluxe station wagon with rear sliding windows and full equipment. In some cases, the vehicles were also painted in two colours. The Hurst Jeepster with modifications from Hurst Performance had a special gear lever, a special paint job and a speedometer on the bonnet. The convertible was available in three versions: Revival Jeepster, Commando Cabriolet and an open roadster without any superstructure. The Revival Jeepster was the showpiece of the range: it had a particularly luxurious interior, an electric hood and a rear-mounted, upright spare wheel with cover ("Continental Kit"). The Commando Cabriolet had the same body, but only the basic equipment.
In 1970 AMC (American Motor Company) took over the Jeep brand from Kaiser. After the 1971 model year, the name Jeepster was dropped, but the model remained in production for two more years as Jeep Commando. In 1972 the car was fitted with a radiator grille across the entire width of the vehicle. The Commando was available with three AMC engines, two in-line six-cylinders (3.8l and 4.2l) and one V8 (5.0l). In 1972 and 1973 20.233 Jeep Commando C-104 were built.
Optional extras: Factory radio, factory antenna, lockable glove compartment, chrome roof rail, immobiliser, automat, 4.2l and 5.0µ colouring, hub caps, freewheel hubs, external spare wheel. Many vehicles were delivered without hubcaps.
The C-104, also called "Bull Nose", was often used for the tough Baja race, in which he won several races. The extended wheelbase compared to the CJ, the engine offset behind the front axle and the associated front mid-engine design resulted in a very balanced overall handling with a low weight of 1150kg. The low mass and the small carburettor ensure low fuel consumption, 10l normal gasoline per 100 km are quite attainable. The engines cope with unleaded petrol and ethanol additives, since from 1972 only unleaded petrol, partly mixed with ethanol, was offered in the USA and most manufacturers from then on had equipped their vehicles with corresponding valve seats.
Depending on the engine version and rear axle ratio the C-104 reaches 160-180km/h. A well maintained brake system is up to the required performance. The vehicles have very good axle articulation and ground clearance, the "floater suspension" allows high speed on slopes.
Today a worldwide fan community has formed, many "Bull Nose" are still in daily use. Due to their proverbial indestructibility and high comfort, classic car rally raids are a domain of these vehicles.
This C-104 Commando was ordered from the local AMC Jeep Dealer "Stamey's Jeep" in Cleveland GA in early 1973 by Mrs. Bertha Sutton ex works. She had ordered the Jeep with V8 engine, automatic transmission, power steering and power brakes but without air conditioning. The Jeep was built and delivered in April 1973. She ran a small motel in Helen GA and used the Jeep to go out and pick up her employees.
The Jeep has the original 41'000 miles because of its low usage. The entire interior such as seat covers, dashboard, steering wheel, rubber mats and color are original.
Mrs. Sutton drove this Jeep Commando for many years until she handed it over to her nephew in 1998. The nephew was the second and last owner of the Commando. Although the nephew rarely drove the Jeep, the maintenance work was never omitted. Cooler, fuel tank, complete brake system, water pump and timing chain as well as various sealing rings were replaced in the course of time.
In the summer of 2017 I found this Commando by chance at a dealer in Roswell GA. Up to this time, i.e. a good 45 years, the Jeep had always been owned by the same family and in the state of Georgia. After tough negotiations we were able to import the Commando into Switzerland in autumn 2017. After a thorough inspection, we decided to re-weld the entire floor of the vehicle instead of just welding in individual sheets. One involves the other and so the Jeep was completely derusted and repainted in the original colour "Daisy yellow". See pictures.
The vehicle has a FIFA I.D. and is freshly tested with code 180 veteran entry. The Jeep can be inspected and test driven by appointment.