Denim Decor: 1977 Jeep J10 Honcho

It’s not too often we get to feature the rare and rugged Jeep J10 on Barn Finds, so when the ad for this one popped-up here on craigslist, I eagerly jumped at the chance to write about it.  The seller of this ’77 J10 Honcho describes it as a “killer old Jeep you don’t find anymore.”  I agree and although many will find the factory Levi’s interior package underwhelming, for some reason that denim-clad upholstery always piques my interest in these vehicles. Originally a South Carolina truck, this beast is listed for sale in White Creek, New York just northeast of Albany and is offered at $4,900.

How much rust is too much rust?  Is this J10 a candidate for total restoration?  Or, as its seller suggests, you could do what he planned and give it a mechanical resto and drive it as is.  That sounds well and good but during this time of year here in the Northeast, exposure to the brine covered roads will quickly result in further deterioration of the truck’s already significantly rusted body.  The seller reports the frame is solid but my guess is closer examination may reveal a couple of spots where rust will soon have the upper hand there too.  The Honcho trim package included a factory roll bar and the seller claims the brush guard is also a factory issued item.  I’m pretty certain the tie-down anchors mounted along the top of each side of the box are not a factory component but I think they look awesome!

There they are!  Those beautiful Levi’s denim-covered bucket seats complete with copper rivets!  Wait a minute…my eyes are starting to focus now.  Faded, stained, and torn.  Yikes!  I admit, the condition of the seats isn’t good.  But I guess that’s consistent with the rest of the truck, right?  It also looks like the inside driver side door panel and armrest are missing and I wonder how much rust is covered-up by the mat on the floor?  It’d be nice to also see the condition of the dash and instrument panel, but unfortunately, the only two photos of the truck’s interior are tightly cropped pictures of those Levi’s seats.

The seller fails to provide a photo of the original V8 AMC 360 under the hood but he claims he performed a tune-up on the motor and that it “runs pretty good.”  The 3-speed manual transmission is in working order and the truck can be moved about, but the seller mentions a new clutch should be installed and that one is included in the sale.  An engine swap was planned by the seller but he’s now decided to move on from the project.  I’m wondering if that decision was influenced by the truck’s rust issues, which I’m guessing are a bit more serious than expected?  To me, this is a beautiful truck and I hope someone is able to save it from further deterioration.  I agree with the seller: keep the original motor, perform the bodywork needed to take care of the worst of the rust, and enjoy the truck as is.  What do you think?


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  1. Johnny

    These went really good on slick roads and are like a goat. Climb about anything. For his asking price. I,d have to look at it good–especially the frame. They weren,t the thickest and would rust pretty bad from behind the cab on back. If its good. Depends on how far and what a person was gonna do with it. Depends a good bit. If the frame was good and the saler would work with a buyer. He would have to come down on his price. They should realize the work and money a person would have to put in it to make it dependable first. New tires–tune up,lines,hoses and many other parts-gas tank,complete brake and fuel system,cooling system. Then go from their. I know–for I am doing a 78 bronco and I have replaced alot of parts. Because someone abused it and I have over $6,000 in parts alone and I haven,t even touched the interior any or the outside.Parts are expensive and I do my own work. I have a pick up like this and know it would take a good bit to fix it up. The same as this one. More pictures would help alot of all of it.

    Like 4
  2. David G

    I had a ’75 J-10 short bed in the early ’80s. A 360 4 barrel engine with 4 speed. Great truck, and awesome off road capabilities. Mine was even the same body and interior colors as this one. Seller should provide more photos of interior, along with underside images.

    Like 3
  3. Ryan Hilkemann

    To bad about the door panels but the rim’s and tires look good. Nice patena too!

    Like 1
  4. G

    I had a ’78 just like this, same color, Levi’s etc. The roll bar was not on all Honcho’s. Mine only had the cow catcher. I rolled it over, put it back on its wheels and drove it. Unfortunately insurance totaled it. I always preferred the 3 speed, the transfer case had low, so no need for an extra creeper gear. The differential must have been geared low on mine, that 360 was screaming at 65 mph. No matter speed limit was 55 back then. I loved that truck would like another just like it.

    Like 1

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