1965 Jeep Gladiator: Battle’d Out?


Sometimes, a vehicle’s name becomes a source of irony. This 1965 Jeep Gladiator here on craigslist was recently unearthed from a barn in Wisconsin, where it’s been for close to 30 years. Complete with a tree growing in front of it and sitting on 4 flat tires, the seller doesn’t know much about its history nor do they pull any punches about the amount of work needed to bring it back to life. The floors look pretty porous, and the paint is virtually non-existent. Still, with a name like Gladiator, it seems shameful to not let this old workhorse do battle again – but it will be a labor of love to restore the truck called “The Beautiful Brute” in the craigslist ad. Is it worth it? Thanks to Robert R for the tip.


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  1. Fireman Dan

    Never had a 65 ! But had a 70,72 74, 76,and a 79 , J4000s – J20s. All great trucks for hauling hay,pulling horse trailers, 4 wheeling you name it. If the price is right great father son project

  2. Peter

    I’m guessing that’s a PTO-driven winch, at the REAR?

    I’ve never seen a PTO-driven winch, but I know jeeps (and even late ’90’s, Ford F-250’s, with the ZF 5-speed trannies) had a cover, on the trans, for an optional PTO-drive (for a hydro pump, for a dumptruck cylinder, in the F-250’s case, I believe).

    But on this Jeep, I can see a spool of cable, and what looks like some (offset), funky (NON?) roller “fairleads” in front of it, with a big ‘ol gear-drive case-looking thing.

    I’m thinking that the PTO winch (if that’s what it is) might be worth a chunk of the asking price, to a Jeep collector?

    As for the truck–many’s the Jeep (including the one I’m buying) that’s had to have a floor pan replaced, and been otherwise sound.

    I question why the Seller says the Tornado Six would “…but will definitely need to be rebuilt….”.

    The KEY question to ask the Seller is–is the engine “FREE”–meaning is it turning.

    Even if it’s NOT turning, that’s not necessarily a big deal. I can’t tell you how many trucks my 90 y.o., WWII combat vet. Dad has resurrected, that had “stuck” engines. You just use your elixir of choice (Marvel Mystery Oil, kerosene and tranny fluid, Kroil, etc…) and keep squirting it into the spark plug holes, for a number of weeks, possibly with a big lightbulb under the engine and, eventually, many, if not most, give up, start turning, and go on to run.

    And in my Dad’s case, I’m talking trucks from the ’20’s, and even the ‘teens, that he did, between the early 1990’s and a few years ago!

    I saw that happen once when a stream of hickory nut shells came blowing out of the exhaust, on a big, six cylinder truck (International?)–squirrels.

    OTOH, if this Seller KNOWS the engine needs rebuilding (i.e., the family remembers destroying it, via no oil, extreme wear, catastrophic failure, etc…) then that’s another matter.

    But my “gut” tells me it’s worth asking this Seller the right questions, to determine WHY he said the Tornado Six would “…definitely need to be rebuilt….”.

    Were it me (and I were not local), I’d ask the Seller to put a B.A. breaker bar (with appropriate socket) on the crankshaft nut, and see if it turned.

    If I were local, I’d keep my mouth shut, do the above, still ask about the engine’s history/reasons the Seller is saying “definitely” needs a rebuild, and go from there.

    Absent a scary engine history, and provided the frame was intact, and somebody wanted this thing, I’d negotiate hard, and make a running “yard truck” out of it, for a possible flip, or on-property plow vehicle–IF someone wanted a project.

    Bring dish soap and water, for the rollback–I doubt those brakes will be free–no need to stress things, on the pull.

    Can anyone confirm about that being a PTO-driven winch, on the rear bumper? If so, any idea of manufacturer?



  3. Todd Zuercher

    Yes, that’s a PTO winch out back.

  4. Jasper

    Would make the perfect Daktari replica. Strip off the black, add zebra stripes and canopy.

  5. Andy D

    I have a 63 that is on 33125015 costom bumpers and tail gate that I bought back 20 years ago all white it has a 350 with 4 speed granny no broken windows and runs been stored for ten years anyone want to see it ? It might be for sale here in northern California

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