Ready To Drive: 1970 Jeepster Commando

Occasionally, we run across an auction listing that is done well, and makes the vehicle more attractive than it otherwise could have been. This 1970 Jeepster Commando has some rust issues and isn’t quite stock, but it certainly looks presentable and would be a fun drive. The auction can be found here on eBay and the vehicle is at a dealer in Los Angeles, California. Bidding is quite low at the moment but there is an unmet reserve as I write.

Jeepsters will always have a special place for me as my very first Barn Finds post was about one. Additionally, I really like the styling. It’s nice to see one with uncut wheel wells/original ride height and standard wheel covers. You can see some rust on the sides; I’m guessing it spent some time with water in the interior as the rust breaking through looks like where the floor meets the fender.

Water inside may also account for the tailgate corrosion, which is the worst I can see in the pictures. The auction listing states the tires will need replacing, so again it sounds like it’s been stored for a while before this sale.

Looking underneath, it doesn’t look bad at all.

The interior, or at least the seats, are in remarkably good shape. However, you can see some coating over rust on the floor here, and not that there was any claim of originality, but the paint over the door latches pretty well guarantees a respray.

The layer of corrosion on the chrome aftermarket gauge mountings and even on the dash brightwork also have me thinking there was H2O in here. The two cracks on the dash are a shame, but it’s straight and flat enough you could probably get away with either driving it as-is or covering it with vinyl. Either one would work for me. The seller tells us that the four wheel drive mechanism “engages effortlessly.”

This is a 225 cubic inch V6 producing 160 horsepower when new, but most importantly for off road enthusiasts, 235 ft-lbs of torque. Although I’m sure some of the wiring here isn’t factory, it’s notable that it’s tie-wrapped neatly and that everything is pretty clean. All in all I like this Jeepster and think it’s worthy of consideration–but my question is, would you leave it as-is and drive it, or take the time to get rid of the rust and refurbish it? Let us know in the comments.

Fast Finds


  1. Rustytech Member

    Boy these were so much better looking than the later models with the ugly tacked on grill. I like this, even the green paint looks appropriate for an off road cruiser. I would at least fix the rust, and try to blend some new paint, then enjoy it for awhile before doing a full restoration. I would also try to locate an original lift off hardtop to keep the water out.

  2. Howard A Member

    These,,,weren’t the best. Terrible rusters, again, they were kind of a fancy plow truck up north, and were used as such. The V6 is a dynamite motor, but it’s still a Jeep. Don’t get me wrong, I love Jeeps, and the Commando, but for SUV’s this was intended to compete with, the Scout, Landcruiser and Bronco were much nicer to drive. Hey, make it into a “Hurst Jeepster” clone, the rarest of all the Hurst vehicles.

  3. DaveT

    Didn’t Jeep name their motors around this time? Wasn’t this V6 called the Tornado or something similar?

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Dave, they called it the “Dauntless 226”.

    • Dan B

      The 230 OHC straight six that came in the 1962.5 to 1965 Willys wagons and trucks, the military M715, and 1963 to late 1960s full-size Wagoneers and Gladiators was called the Tornado.

  4. Doug

    Looks like it was in a lake in Utah – the salty one !

  5. rod444

    I have a 69 Ksiser Jeepster Commando (gotta love a truck w that name) that I rescued for cheap from the original owner in Hawaii. The body is beyond hope with terminal cancer, you can watch it rust away in the salt air, but after 15 yrs of sitting the ol Dauntless is still raring to go. At this point I see a body removal and swap under something interesting to keep her alive possibly a minivan camper.

  6. Luke

    The best thing about this Jeep was the Engine and drivetrain supplied by GM. As was in a lot of their vehicles in the 60’s and 70’s. Had a Jeep with the 2.8 V/6 and it was a great.

  7. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Winning bid:US $4,499.00
    [ 28 bids ]

  8. Bob C.

    During the 1971 model year AMC began using their own in line sixes. Around 1974 Buick bought back the tooling for the v6 and started producing the long running 3.8 engine.

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