Following up on our June article on the history of the Jeep M715, this piece is dedicated to exploring the history of the Jeep Jeepster Commando.
The Beginnings of the Jeepster Commando
The Jeepster Commando is a lesser-known Jeep model that was built by the Kaiser company from 1966 to 1973. Coming in four distinct models — the wagon, pickup truck, convertible, and roadster — it was designed to compete with the Toyota Land Cruiser, International Scout, and Ford Bronco. The majority of the Commandos built from 1966-1971 came with two engine options. The standard engine was known as the Hurricane Straight 4 which produced 75hp and 114lb-ft of torque. The optional engine was known as the Dauntless V6, and was the preferred choice due to its 160hp and 235lb-ft of torque, which doubled the output of the inline four.
A Change in Name
In ‘71, the “Jeepster” was removed from the vehicle’s name, and it came to simply be called the Jeep Commando. The following year, 1972, the front end received a redesign in order to make room for one of the three new engines. The new power plants came from the American Motor Company (AMC) who had purchased the Kaiser name back in 1969. The purchaser had the option of two different inline-six cylinder engines as well as a 303 cubic inch V8 that produced approximately 210hp.
The redesign would drastically alter the front end by removing the round headlights and slotted grille that became the signature look of the Jeep Commando, a feature which still remains to this day. However, this change was popular with the public; sales significantly decreased, and the Jeep Commando was taken out of production in 1973. Today, there are many Jeepster auto clubs across the United States, but you rarely will see one of these Commandos out on the road, at least not as much as other older Jeeps such as the Willys.
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