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Drive Or Restore? 1971 Jeep Gladiator J10


Jeep’s full size pickup line, called the Gladiator from its introduction in 1963 until 1971, is essentially a pickup based on the beloved Grand Wagoneer body-on-frame platform. This particular one has been a California vehicle all its life and shows it with a minimal amount of corrosion visible. The pictures in the ad are pretty thorough and portray an interesting, mobile vehicle. It’s currently residing in San Marcos, California and is for sale here on eBay, where the opening bid is $4,000 and there’s no reserve.


The pickup features a very utilitarian bed with a latch mechanism that looks like it was taken off a gate. Originally, the latches were plated, so it’s pretty obvious the truck has been painted at least once. Since the dents in the rear tailgate weren’t worked prior to it being painted, I suspect it was done more for preservation purposes rather than anything resembling a restoration. I really like the white painted bumpers and wheels, and the original small hubcaps really complete the basic look. A trailer hitch receiver helps the utility value of this classic as well.


Assuming it’s original, this should be the AMC 304 V8. 1971 was the first model year that AMC owned Kaiser-Jeep, although the two companies had been collaborating for some time prior. The seller states that the truck has just had a tuneup and carburetor rebuild, and could be used as a daily driver. While that might not work for some longer commutes, or extremely hot climates without any A/C, I could see it being just right for some folks. However, I think from what I can tell online that there should be a heater attached to the cabin fresh air intake on the upper left of the picture, and I don’t know how hard that would be to source.


From the interior shot, we can see the manual transmission shifter, although we don’t know if it’s a 3-speed or a 4-speed. I’m wondering if the dash is the original color of the truck?


The underside of the vehicle looks pretty solid, with what I’m guessing is fairly recent exhaust work. Tell us if you’re intrigued by this neat old truck, and whether you’d restore it as the seller suggests, or continue to use it and refurbish it as necessary.



  1. Rick

    This one looks like a very nice truck. I had a Mini-Tonka Jeep Gladiator back in the mid-60s, it was red and was one of my favorite Tonkas

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    • Andrew

      I still have mine:

      Like 1
  2. Walt

    A classic driver for sure ! Take care of the corrosion, the seat and upholstery,
    sort out all the mechanicals and enjoy her !

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  3. Rustowner

    Very nice looking truck with some good options; power brakes, heavy front leaf springs, stick (hopefully a 4 spd). Given the smog pump and lack of heater, it was more than likely sold new in CA. Looks very straight and absent of any serious rust in the common, visible spots. That’s probably the 360 cid motor under the hood. You can see the 360 sticker on the air cleaner and not many were optioned with the 304. I believe the 304 was only optional in 71 and 72ish…….have only seen 2 with the 304. That gold color is original in the interior. If I were closer and could look it over in person I’d be bidding away on this one to add to the fleet. Currently have a ’67 J-3000 and a ’77 Cherokee. I truly love these full size Jeeps; tough, simple, good looking and a good size!

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  4. jim s

    i would daily drive this. put the truck back to work. i like that it is 4×4 yet does not a real high liftover when loading something into the bed. no bids yet for some reason. great find.

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  5. JW

    Love old trucks like this, would drive this one no resto for me.

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  6. JW

    No resto on this one just drive it as a daily driver. Love it !!!

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  7. taxijohn

    A real good looking truck.

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  8. rancho bella

    Just over the hill from me. Darn tempting. Can haul a decent amount of hay.

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  9. ttsfabworks

    This is not a J10 or J20.
    That nomenclature comes into play later on in the SJ series.
    J2000 or J2500 depending on the wheelbase.
    Exterior looks very clean, interior average for its age.

    I personally don’t think it’s a $4K rig but it has a lot of potential for sure.

    Like 0
  10. DENIS

    They used that color dash with evvvvery color, it seems like. Crude, but they are neat lifted, with big-ass rollers…

    Like 0

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