Golden Eagle Survivor: 1979 Jeep J10 Pickup

Suppose you like the new Jeep Gladiator but are put out by the $33+K base price. Why not go old school and find an original? After all, the Jeep J series pickup was originally called a Gladiator until that name was dropped in 1971. But the soul of the Gladiator lived on as the J10 and here is a 1979 example with the seldomly seen “Golden Eagle” option package. This Jeep truck is located in Lakewood, Washington, and is available here on eBay for a current bid of $8,900, nineteen bids tendered as of this writing.

The J series Jeep pickup was produced between 1962 and 1988, being discontinued shortly after Chrysler Corporation’s acquisition of AMC. The prevailing thought was that Chrysler had enough pickup trucks with its Dodge Ram line-up and didn’t want a Jeep competitor. Obviously, that is not today’s prevailing thought.  The Golden Eagle package was an available option offered between 1977 and 1983 and included bucket seats, denim panel inserts on the door cards, carpeting, a soft-feel steering wheel cover, an engine-turned instrument cluster trim, Golden Eagle decals and striping, bright door window frames, bed-mounted roll bar, brush guard, off-road auxiliary lights, 15″x8″ gold-painted steel wheels, white lettered tires, and hood insulation.

This 61K mile example is powered by a 127 net HP, 360 CI AMC V8 engine operating through an automatic transmission, and a Quadratrac 4X4 drivetrain. The seller claims this Jeep runs and drives great but it would seem that with all of 127 HP on tap, it does so sluggishly while inhaling copious amounts of fuel.

The exterior of this pickup is sporting a bit of gold striping as an accent but it works pretty well with the Bordeaux Metallic exterior finish (what the seller refers to as “red”).  And the trim has held up pretty well too as it doesn’t appear to be peeling off or fading away. That’s pretty much the same story for the finish, there is some fading but the presentation, over-all, is solid. The hood eagle is reminiscent of a similar vintage Pontiac Trans Am though this bird is flying in the other direction and appears to have lost a bunch of its feathers. The exterior looks sound with no concerns over obvious rot or damage.

Ditto the cargo bed, it has a sprayed-in bed liner and it is in rather remarkable shape in that it doesn’t look scratched or dented. And at 7′ in length, it is commodious enough to be quite functional.

The interior looks about how you would expect an AMC product from 1979 to look. It’s on par, or better, with other pickup trucks of the era and is a step up ergonomically over a ’79 CJ. The carpet looks almost too good for its age and the seats are discolored a bit but not worn and torn. The driver’s side door card as seen better days though, it looks like it has had some water exposure. The only notable things are an ill-fitting glovebox lid and a dash pad that looks like someone took a bite out of it – minor stuff. You can even “breaker one-nine” yourself to death with the factory CB radio.

The seller indicates that this J10 is a lifelong resident of the Pacific NW and that he “just purchased from the 2nd owner (lady)who owned since 1989”. But he also says that he’s had it for 5+ years so that doesn’t exactly jibe with the previous statement. Long story short, it seems like a flip but many of these auction transactions are just that so there’s no news there. Anyway, this Jeep truck has a pretty commanding presence and its simplicity of operation is not to be denied – the low mileage is a particular attraction. It’s not a substitute for a 2020 Gladiator but maybe that’s not such a bad thing don’t you think?

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  1. Mitchell Member

    Tbh I’d rather this truck than a new Gladiator

    Like 8
    • Superdessucke

      I like both honestly, and great pic of the two side-by-side! I have a 1997 M3 and a 2020 Veloster N and it’s cool to drive them back to back. Similar in some ways, but also very different. Clearly from different eras. I imagine the contrast would be even more stark here.

      Like 2
  2. sir_mike

    This is when Jeeps were Jeeps…not like the new things.This will do more than any new Jeep ever thought of.

    Like 5
  3. Bear

    Nice looking J10. :-)
    I do wish that the seller had included some pictures of the underside though.
    Looks a little “crusty” under the hood.
    Makes me wonder how “crusty” the frame, driveline, floors, & sills might look…..
    Seems priced low (under $9K) at the moment, but with just under 2 days left I’m sure that will change.

    Like 2
  4. Glenn Schwass Member

    Nice for its age. I like the color but not the bird. Interior is very clean

    Like 2
  5. Dave

    These rusted out quickly here in western Pennsylvania but with those Goodyear Tracker A-T tires on wagon wheels they were a match for the potholes.
    Browning Labs sold their Golden Eagle radios from the late 1960s until they folded in 1978. They were distinctive and told everyone that you had money. Fans often had a CJ to go with the pickup, both in Golden Eagle trim.
    Today, there are way more radios than Jeeps.

    Like 3
  6. Howard A Member

    A shame I had such a dismal experience with my ’78 Cherokee, I did really like the truck, the pickup more so. I had a 6 cylinder, which got awful mileage, I’d have to think this would get, let’s see, what’s half of awful? They were a knockoff of a Kaiser, which could be dropped out of an airplane, this, not so much, but still great trucks. About as popular as an International, just didn’t see many in Ford/Chevy land. Nice find.

    Like 1
  7. Robt

    Had a 79 Cherokee Chief with an 81 body back in the day. Bought it off a junk yard man who had done the work. He had also installed a J-10ntransfer case with manual shifter in place of the quadra track. And stripped all emissions crap off the engine.
    I added lock front hubs for the highway and had rear body mounts rebuilt.
    That truck was one of the best rides I’ve ever owned. A monster out on the road and a go anywhere off road. Sold it as the kids came along. Miss it big time.

    Like 1
    • Howard A Member

      Yep, can’t add lockouts to a Quadratrac. I tried, the truck wouldn’t move.

      Like 1
      • Robt

        Howard, you obviously did not have read the post. Or simply skimmed it without understanding. I clearly started that person I had bought truck from had swapped out the quadra-trac system for a j-10 transfer case that was manually shiftable.
        And yes lock out hubs do work very well for that set up.

        Like 1
  8. pacekid

    I have seen these things with a hot colored paint job, like Porshe red or Hugger orange. They look fabulous!

    FYI I drove the new Gladiator, with the rag top triple black. Looked really cool, but was a highly underpowered dog. Chrysler/Fiat or Fiat/Chrysler can get it right by putting a V8 in it. Can you say HEMI !?!

    • Dave

      I read an article that said that your wish will come true.

  9. Rspcharger Rspcharger Member

    This was on Craigslist in Seattle last week…..flipper, flipper?

  10. Mudstud

    Guess the auction didn’t happen E-Bay it ended with no bids.

  11. David Wayne Krum

    Shoot where ya gonna find a gladiator for 33,000 here on Maui they are 50-80,000

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