Bronco Alternative? 1973 Jeep Commando

Commando, or going commando, has taken on a new meaning since this Jeep Commando was built back in 1973. Regardless, I’ll stick with the original intention of the name and comment that I haven’t encountered one of these in a while. With all the hoopla, and bucks, being expended over the Gen-1 Ford Bronco, this Commando is certainly a worthy alternative. You’ll find this Jeep located in Fenton, Missouri and available, here on eBay for a current bid of  $28,100 with the reserve not yet met.

Originally produced by Kaiser-Jeep and then American Motors, the Commando, originally known as the Jeepster Commando, was in production between 1966 and 1973. Offered strictly as a two-door utility vehicle with a removable roof, the total eight model year production run yielded about 77K vehicles.

So, what’s not to like about this 43K mile example? Nothing! At least nothing that I can discern. In all fairness, it’s not original and has been restored and the mileage reading is just that, a reading, with no authentication to accuracy. This Jeep is resplendent in its “Trans-Am” red finish and doesn’t show the slightest imperfection. The seller indicates that it has been lifted 2.5 inches but it’s not overly obvious nor does it appear to be on stilts as is often the result of a boosted-up job. To add to the authenticity, the original wheel covers are part of the package.

Under the hood is the top powerplant option of a 150 net HP, 304 CI, AMC V8 engine spinning a three-speed manual transmission. In spite of a pretty thorough listing, no testament to this truck’s operating prowess is made. One bit of good news, however, is the mention of a front disc brake conversion.

So, when you have a utility vehicle, especially one from this era, what do you expect you’ll find inside, but a utilitarian interior, right? Wrong, expect again. Get a load of these insides (there are numerous images) it’s hard to imagine that a Commandos interior was this gussied-up back in ’73. I mean these are the kinds of interiors that were no strangers to mud, hay, gravel, water, snow, slush, salt, beer bottles, well, maybe not those, but you get the picture – it was an environment that lead a hard life. And that could have been the case here but no more, it looks great! The lowdown, according to the seller is, “Inside, the Jeep has an Oyster-colored vinyl interior. The 60/40 split front seat is in overall very good condition, as is the companion rear bench seat. There are floor mats in place of carpeting and the tan headliner is in satisfactory order. A factory two-spoke steering wheel faces the driver. The bronze metal instrument panel and inner door liners look great. A factory AM radio and transfer case lever and floor shift lever complete the interior“. The front seat looks more like “excellent” condition to my eyes than just very good but then again, I can’t see it in a total detail light. I will say that the innards look as if absolutely nothing is needed!

While the Bronco is the go-to collectible ’60s/’70s utility vehicle, the Jeep name has a tremendous amount of cachet these days, and having owned a bunch of Jeeps, I’m a fan. So, a Bronco alternative? At the very least, and maybe even more, wouldn’t you agree?

Comments

  1. Car Nut Tacoma

    Very nice. Another awesome SUV.

    Like 3
  2. Guggie 13

    always liked these , everyone of these around here is a rust bucket ( upstate NY) , this seems to be a nice example !

    Like 1
  3. Fred

    If I remember correctly they lengthened the nose on these so that they could use AMCs inline six and V8s. Buick V6 was history.

    Like 1
    • JustPassinThru

      That is correct. The frame on those is essentially the same as the CJ-6; and the CJ-5, CJ-6 and Jeepster all got stretched frames to accommodate the longer, heavier AMC sixes. AMC engineers had dismissed the Kaiser V6 (former Buick, tooling purchased in 1968) as “rough as a cob”

      The CJs had the hood and fenders lengthened. The C-101 (Jeepster’s formal designation) used the same tub from the firewall forward as the CJ. It had fenders slightly modified at the bottom, to match up the character lines, and the hood remained wide, no taper. The CJ grille was there but with elephant ears, to distinguish the Jeepster.

      Dick Teague’s styling department didn’t understand (yet) the design language of the Jeep-derived vehicles; so they crafted a conventional nose to bolt up against the firewall, and an egg-crate grille. And sales plummeted.

      As an aside, the Wagoneer got various egg-crate grilles from 1971; hard to say if it hurt the appeal any, as the Wagoneer buyer was a different character.

      It would be relatively simple to put a 1973-86 CJ front clip on this thing – I’ve seen it done; but given the rarity of the C-103 Commando, and this well-done restoration, it would probably be sacrilege.

      Like 2
  4. Michael Milligan

    I had a 72 Commando 304 with an auto & brown body color and white top, still miss it.

    Like 1
  5. Paul N

    I learned to drive a stick in one of these. I think it was from the 60s as the styling was different. Owner of it ran the tavern in the small town where I grew up and he was good friends with my dad. He looked out for me like I was his son.

    Like 2
  6. GOM

    Rear parking brake cables look like they’re stretched pretty tight. A little short due to the lift? Heater core not plumbed, it appears. A beautiful, highly desirable ride. In rough going, a ’73 Blazer couldn’t hold a candle to this. I always thought these were just right: the right size and dimensions, and enough creature comforts to be usable on today’s highways, although this one is too nice to be a daily driver. Gorgeous!

    Like 2
  7. angliagt angliagt Member

    I’ve never cared for the looks of the front end of these –
    the earlier ones looked much better.Hard to believe that someone
    actually got paid to design it.

    Like 1
    • JustPassinThru

      Dick Teague, no less – or at least one of his lieutenants. And Teague rarely struck out – only other failure I can think of, is the 1974 Matador coupe.

      Ten years later, he’d design the XJ, which was as successful as this was a failure.

      Like 1
  8. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Made it to $29,100 but Reserve Not Met.

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