The vehicle featured in this article is a terrific looking 1968 Jeepster Convertible. The Jeepster can be an off road vehicle but it also is truly a street vehicle. What you had here was a vehicle that could be used off road with carpeting, seating for four and air conditioning. Something you wouldn't see in off roaders at the time although it didn't take long for competitors to come up with similarly appointed off road vehicles.
For the 1968 model year there were three Jeepster models available. These were the Jeepster Hurricane Convertible with a 134 cubic inch four cylinder engine delivering 75 HP. The Jeepster Dauntless Convertible V-6 with 160 HP and the Jeepster Dauntless Convertible V-6 with 160 HP and with a three speed automatic.
Jeepster From the Jeep
One of the most versatile and long lasting automotive brands that has survived the decades, and continues to be very popular, is the Jeep. The Jeep brand itself had it's start around 1940 as one of the most popular US military vehicles ever built. The Jeep brand has changed ownership several times over the decades, changed designs many times as well, and continues to be one of America's top selling brands.
The term "Jeep" was used to describe The Jeep MB or Willys MB. As is the case with some other car nameplates, the term "jeep" has a few different versions as to how it was arrived at. The first version is that army mechanics at one time used the term "Jeep" to describe any new untested vehicle.
It was after the war that Willys-Overland Motor Company began building the new Jeep civilian model which they named the Jeep CJ. The company also came out in 1950 with their new Jeep military version which was called the M38. The new M38 was designed off the 1949 civilian jeep. With a reputation of building military vehicles during World War Two, it's no surprise that the Jeep name had car buyers thinking of ruggedness and durability.
Willys-Overland, Kaiser-Jeep and American Motors Built the Jeepster
Willys-Overland produced the Jeepster from 1948 through 1950. During those three model years 19,100 Jeepsters were built. The original Jeepsters were positioned to fill the gap between the post war Jeep CJ and the one ton family wagon. They were designed by well known industrial designer Brooks Stevens. The company was said to have failed to market the Jeepster effectively including little advertising and which led to the production stop after the 1950 model.
The Jeepster name came back in 1967 being produced by Kaiser-Jeep which had taken over Willys-Overland back in 1953. American Motors took over Kaiser-Jeep in 1970.
1968 Jeepster Specifications / Kaiser-Jeep
Base models came with a 75-horsepower F-Head 134 cubic inch four-cylinder engine. This wasn’t a lot of power, but neither was it unusually low for this model segment, and the Jeepster wasn’t considered heavy. For those willing to spend a bit more, there was the 155-horsepower, 225 cubic-inch Dauntless V-6 brought over from Buick.
This engine allowed the Jeepster to hit 60 mph in 12.6 seconds and a top speed of 87 mph.
When American Motors began Jeepster production in 1972 all engines were Inline Six Cylinders.
Gearbox was a three speed manual.
Leaf springs comprised the front and rear suspension.
Overall length was 175.3 inches, width was 65.2 inches with a wheelbase of 101.0 inches. Curb weight was 2,835 lbs.
You may enjoy the additional Auto Museum Online articles on the links below...
Reference material and good reading about the Jeep and Jeepster includes...The Story of Jeep..1st Edition by Patrick R. Foster.....Jeepster and Commando..Road Test Limited Edition by Brooklands.
Jeepster Collector Cars
The Jeepster has been a very popular vehicle and collector values for the earlier models are strong. As an example, restored 1950 Willys Jeepsters are currently in the $30,000 plus price range. Interestingly enough, you might find prices a bit higher on the later model Jeepsters in the same restored condition. The Jeepster model itself is considered a true piece of automotive history and this should go a long way in keeping it's popularity high.
Most of the Jeepsters produced were Commando models and the non Commando Jeepster more luxurious model is identified with the spare tire mounted on the rear outside the vehicle. Commando models had the spare tire inside. The non-Commando models are indeed much more rarer.
(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)