Heart Of An AMX: 1965 Jeep Truck

Jamie PalmerBy Jamie Palmer

Barn Finds reader Matt W. was kind enough to alert us to this terrific old truck, located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Apparently a previous owner didn’t think it had enough oomph, so a transplant was performed, but for once I don’t mind! It’s listed for sale here on eBay at no reserve, with bidding currently only up to $3,750 as I write this.

This has obviously been a work truck, and to be honest, it still could be. There’s not a lot of rust visible, and apart from surface rust the only really noticeable corrosion is on the driver’s side bed at the seam. However, if this really is the original paint as claimed, you’re looking at a true picture of what you have to take home.

Of course, like any good work truck, there’s plenty of surface rust on the bed floor. The J-200 designation means that this is a short bed/wheelbase truck (the J-300 was the longer version).

As you can see from this snippet from a 1965 Jeep brochure, they were quite proud of their Gladiator pickups (that’s what they called the entire line). And 1965 was the first year that the optional Vigilante V8 was available — but this truck doesn’t have it. More about that later!

We’re told by the seller that the seat needs to be reupholstered. Given the painted dash and simplicity of the interior, it wouldn’t be difficult to “restore” the inside of the cab.  But why? I think it’s pretty darned cool just the way it is!

“Ok, Jamie, I thought you said it didn’t have the V8!” Correct, dear readers — it has the 343 4 barrel V8 out of a low mileage 1968 AMX! Holy cow! That’s a lot of engine for this truck, don’t you think? The seller also declares that the truck drives “good”, has power steering and they want Jamie to bid on it. Okay, not that last part, but darn, I’d sure like to! How about you?

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Comments

  1. Nathan Avots-Smith Staff

    DO IT! What a great looking truck, and a cool, period-appropriate (semi-brand appropriate, too, since AMC would acquire Jeep in 1970) swap.

    2+
  2. Russell

    You know I love most about this truck? It’s already moss colored and since I live in the PNW, on an Island, on the coast, and it will always be outside, I can just leave it outside all the time and it will always look the same, moss or no moss!

    Oh, and I just happen to love these trucks with a passion, and if I bought it and parked anywhere near our house my wife wouldn’t notice it was here for 2 maybe 3 years. At that point I’d just tell her it was left here by the previous owners and I’m home free!

    14+
  3. Schmendo

    Still have my old Tonka Jeep in this exact color. My all time favorite truck design, I wish Jeep would revive this

    7+
    • Ron

      Check with your local Jeep dealer, should be available sometime during the 2018 model run…

      1+
  4. Sam Sharp

    Wish I had a barn full of these real trucks. I borrowed my wife’s nephew’s new RAM, ya ‘know, one of those $68,000 jobs that you can change the color of the instrument panel lighting, and I had to get out the AFM twice to see if the ‘truck’ was supposed to do what it was doing. Not so with the Real Jeep. There was never any question what it was supposed to do.

    Back in the day where you had to be a real driver to drive a real truck.

    12+
  5. 68 custom

    neat truck, the 343 and power steering would make it easy to drive, the manual tranny and four wheel drive make it a real truck. cool find.

    9+
  6. XMA0891

    Owned an ’81J-10 for 24 years. Never had any serious mechanical issues in all that time. Great, great trucks! The only problem is they were designed to rot away.

    4+
  7. Tony S

    The Vigilante was an AMC 327.

    3+
  8. JW

    I’m a truck guy and especially 4×4’s while also liking to be different from the crowd and this truck says it all. Great Find !!!

    5+
  9. TR

    I love this truck. I think I’d have to get used to sleeping in the bed if I brought it home.

    6+
    • leiniedude

      Small price to pay TR.

      7+
  10. TR

    This guy has a sweet 78 Bronco for sale also, nice rigs!

    2+
  11. Jay M

    Now this is a great find.

    Sometimes I wish they still offered a rugged, simple, bare bones truck.
    Without having to buy any of the “convenience packages”

    Probably not possible with the federally mandated safety and emissions requirements.
    Plus there would be no profit/incentive for them to build it.

    7+
  12. JimmyJ

    One of the coolest trucks ever! I’d love to have it
    Reminds me of the truck from the movie “tremors” except it was a stepside😀

    2+
  13. jdjonesdr

    Talk about an honest truck with a killer price. That thing would clean up nicely.

    Drive as is and enjoy.

    3+
  14. Howard A Member

    I’ve got to get out there. I bet there’s still a ton of stuff like this in Colorado that never gets published. It’s a big state. This truck is pretty cool. Loved the J series before AMC got their hands on it. These were pure Kaiser. I’m not so sure on the powerplant, as the OHC 6 would be nice, which I read was a heck of a motor. The military used it for years. The 327 that was offered would do just about anything this motor will do, including using a lot of gas, but a neat swap nonetheless. If it had the OHC 6, I’d really consider it. Great truck.

    4+
  15. AMXSTEVE

    Get what out there Howard, that you hate AMC? Why are you such a hater?

    1+
    • Howard A Member

      Hi Steve, we’ve been over this and over this, please, take note for the umpty ninth time, I’m from Milwaukee and we lived and breathed AMC. It was #1 , in our book. The early Cherokee’s, I had terrible luck with and it’s no secret, AMC cheapened the Kaiser quite a bit. Not the hard parts, drivetrain and such, the little things, stuff like window cranks failing, wiper motors quitting, gauges not functioning, all AMC stuff, not Kaiser. I’d never buy a Cherokee or J series pickup. This,( with a 6) I’d go for in a minute.
      So, in conclusion, Viva la AMC!!!

      7+
  16. AMXSTEVE

    That my be your truth but you are entitled to your opinion. Out of the three I’ve owned they were great trucks.

    Maybe it’s time to get off your high horse and stop harping on it, then it won’t draw a response….

    1+
    • Howard A Member

      Consider it done, pal, last post ever!

      1+
    • SamM

      Hey Steve,
      Not sure what attack was made, or what high horse said attack was made from. All I saw was a statement of opinion that didn’t condemn AMC, but spoke his opinion of what became of the Kaiser product. I have my own opinion on the Kaiser-AMC progression of quality, and it aligns pretty tightly with Howard. Does that mean AMC products are evil? No. Does it mean no one is allowed to like them because I don’t? No. Does it mean my opinion might be wrong? Sure. Does it mean I will never buy an AMC product in the future? No, even taking into account my ’68 AMX purchase a while back ending in frustration and large loss of money for me. I do like interesting cars, and I would consider anything interesting that might wander in front of me, This truck included. I dont see the 343 being the end all in a truck of this weight and aerodynamics, but its interesting. I am a GM fan thru and thru, but I find Fords, Mopars, heck, even Fiats interesting. Would I trust a Fiat on a long trip without a cell phone safety net? Not any time soon.Just my opinion.
      No attacks, no bashing. Just conversation by gearheads to gearheads. Keep it light. Keep it happy.

      9+
      • Ralph Robichaud

        Yea, Sam!

        4+
    • Tony, Oz.

      Pull your head in Steve we all have our own opinions on what we do and don’t like, that’s what this site is all about, it asks us for our differing opinions, if you don’t like what someone posts, too bad, we all have to put up with your crap so ‘suck it up buttercup’ and move on ! Your snide personal attacks are what draws a response, not what others post.

      2+
      • Ralph Robichaud

        I read Barn Finds with regularity, and I generally enjoy it. I always get a charge of reading Howard A., so, he’s a crusty old fart, so am I, and by Jove if we have an opinion we’ll voice it.. We donT expect everyone to agree, if they did, then it’d be no fun. I’ve had in excess of 50 cars over the years, does it make me an expert – no, but I. Know a little something about cars,, as does Howard A. Sure hope he does not curtail his critical comments when he’s so inclined, whether it be to be critical of AMC , GM, Ford, Chrysler , the plethora of Asian cookie cutters on the market, or the long passed away car makers of yore. I’ve had in my stable a 1989 XJ Pioneer for the last 14 years, now has over 300k on it, and still runs fine and looks presentable . Now my GM s and Chryslers of that era were another story, not a pleasant one..
        Since I’m venting, I’ll go one more with the readership here. And that has to do with the asking price or value of featured vehicles. Too many are ready to poo-poo the prices.. I submit that if you have no intention of owning such an automobile, then your opinion of value is of no consequence, and you’d be wise not to show your lack of knowledge by voicing that opinion.

        3+
  17. John

    This looks like one of the trucks the National Park Service used to use all over CO. It’s paint is even NPS color. If it is, they were heavy duty everything, very rugged, and well-maintained (in most instances). The AMX motor would be a hoot.

    2+
  18. Rustytech

    Hey Howard. Just so you know, your not the only one who had issues with the AMC Cherokee, I had one from the first generation, and still have a second generation. Both had electrical gremlins, power locks and Windows work when they want to. Dash gauges go dead and require a hard punch to the dash to bring them back etc. etc. The current is a 99 model and is over 160k, we love it despite these minor problems. It does what we ask it to do so we ignore the annoyances just as you should the personal annoyances of those who think you should not be allowed to express your opinions.keep the comments coming, some of us appreciate them weather we agree or not.

    6+
  19. John

    AMXSTEVE is the hater. Ignore him. Howard, and stay with us, please-

    6+
  20. On and On

    Worked at “Mitch’s Texaco” in Chicago by Taft High school in 1970. They had one of these to plow snow. Great truck, pulled like a plow horse. Was a V8 4×4. BTW I’ll miss you Howard.

    5+
  21. Sam Sharp

    I thought that personal attacks were verboten on this site. Brand loyalty, whether it be cars, trucks, motorcycles, airplanes, boats or oil products, incite more adversity than politics.

    As far as I’m concerned, Bonanza drivers, especially the TC owners, Mitsubishi owners, Rans RV anything, Cirrus SR anything, LEARJET drivers, King Air drivers, Premier drivers are the worst. Dentists in T-6s, T- 28s, YAK 52s are well above everyone and dress in their Nomex jumpsuits. Either you are a driver or an aviator. There’s a big difference.

    People who hate rat rods, street rods, stock classics and resto-rods, AMC, Chebby and Ford products, and those who despise Chrysler products.

    IT’S NOT WHAT YOU DRIVE, IT’S WHAT YOU BUILD. Or resurrect.

    Besides, I sold AMCs for a very short time. There are lots of gremlin (not the car) stories about defects. What car line in the 70’s didn’t have problems? Was your car built on Monday or Friday?

    I think that I’ll join Howard in his moratorium. Hey Howard! Kenosha Forever!!

    3+
  22. Bob C.

    I wonder if it used to have the tornado ohc six. They didn’t have a long lifespan.

    0
  23. david

    O’head cam 6-cyl had adequate oomph in my ’65 Wagoneer. Problem was durability. If the engine lasted past 70K miles it would go forever. I sold mine at 108K miles and it was as new. In the day the wrecking yards had choices of 50K to 60K mile trucks and Wagoneers in good shape with dead engines

    0
  24. leiniedude

    Winning bid:US $5,655.55
    [ 45 bids ] Hey Howard, Beverly Hillbillies. Ya all come back now,
    hear.

    1+

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