The Jeepster was an automobile sold under the Jeep marque. The
original Jeepster, introduced by Willys-Overland in 1948, failed to
find a market and was soon dropped. The Jeepster name was revived in
1966 on a new model, the VJ2 Jeepster Commando. Once again, sales
failed to meet expectations, and American Motors (successor to Willys-Overland)
removed the Jeepster name for 1972 and halted production after 1973.
1948 Willys VJ Jeepster
The original Jeepster ("VJ" internally) was
produced from 1948 through 1950, although some leftover models were sold
under the 1951 model year. After World War II, Jeep trademark owner,
Willys, believed that the market for the military-type Jeep would be
limited to farmers and foresters, therefore they began producing the
"CJ" (or Civilian Jeep) to fill this growing segment as well as
producing the new Jeep Wagon in 1946, and then the Jeep Truck in 1947.
Realizing a gap in their product line up, Willys developed the Jeepster
to crossover from their "utilitarian" type truck vehicles, to the
automobile market. The car (form 1948 to 1950) was originally only
offered with rear wheel drive, limiting its appeal with traditional Jeep
fans. While its distinctive boxy styling (created by industrial designer
Brooks Stevens) was a hit with critics, it did not catch on with the
intended market. Sales were also limited by sparse advertising. In the
end, just 19,132 original VJ Jeepsters were sold.
The VJ Jeepster was powered by the 62 hp (53 kW)
"Go Devil" engine, a 134 in³ (2.2 L) straight-4 also used in the CJ. A
3-speed manual transmission with optional overdrive was used, as were
drum brakes all around. The vehicle's front end and single transverse
leaf spring suspension, was from the Willys Station Wagon, as was the
rear driveline. The flat-topped rear fenders were copied from the Jeep
truck line, as were the pair of longitudinal rear leaf springs.
- 1948-1950 - 134 in³ (2.2 L) L134 Go Devil I4
- 1949-1950 - 148 in³ (2.4 L) L148 Lightning I6
- 1950 - 134 in³ (2.2 L) F134 Hurricane I4
- 1950 - 161 in³ (2.6 L) L161 Lightning I6
Jeepster Commando C101
The Jeepster was revived in 1966 in the form of
the Jeepster Commando ("C101"). The F-head Hurricane straight-4 was
used, a direct descendent of the original Go Devil engine, and four
wheel drive was finally added. This engine produced 75 hp (55 kW) at
4000 rpm and 114 ft·lbf (154 N·m) at 2000 rpm. The 160 hp (119 kW)
Dauntless V6 was optional and preferred with its 235 ft·lbf (318 N·m) of
torque. 57,350 Kaiser-spec "C101" Jeepster Commandos were sold between
1966 and 1971.
- 1966-1971 - 134 in³ (2.2 L) F134 Hurricane I4,
75 hp (55 kW) and 114 ft·lbf (154 N·m)
- 1966-1971 - 225 in³ (3.7 L) Dauntless V6,
160 hp (119 kW) and 235 ft·lbf (318 N·m)
The Jeepster/Commando was originally offered with
the "Hurricane" F-Head 134 I4. During the late 60's the "Dauntless" Buick 225 V6 was an
optional engine. When AMC purchased Jeep from Kaiser,
the AMC 232, 258, and 304 became available in the Commando C104
in 1972 and 1973.
The T-90 3 speed was the standard transmission for
the Jeepster with the F-Head engine and the T-86 3
speed was used with the Dauntless V6. The T-14 replaced the T-86 with
the 6 cylinder engines and later the T-15 was used with the 304 equipped
Commando. The TH400 was the optional automatic available for the Commando
only with the Buick and AMC engines.
The Jeepster/Commando was only available with the
Dana 20 transfer case.
Jeep Commando C104
The Jeepster name was removed after 1971, with the vehicle living
on for two more years as the Jeep Commando. The Commando used one of
three AMC engines, the 232 in³ (3.8 L) or 258 in³ (4.2 L) AMC
Straight-6 or 304 in³ (5.0 L) AMC V8. 20,223 AMC-spec "C104" Jeep
Commandos were made in 1972 and 1973.
- 1971-1972 - 232 in³ (3.8 L) AMC I6, 100 hp (74 kW) and 185 ft·lbf
- 1971-1972 - 258 in³ (4.2 L) AMC I6
- 1971-1972 - 304 in³ (5.0 L) AMC V8
American Jeepster club (AJC)
In 1988 The American Jeepster club (AJC) was formed to help Jeepster
owners "network", and find and sell parts. The club has over 800
Jeepster owners from all over the USA who own 1966 to 1973 model
Jeepster, Jeepster Commandos and Commandos. The AJC has regional
chapters, which give members more involvement in contacting others,
planning trail rides, rallies, show ‘N shines, swap meets, barbeques,
Willys-Overland JEEPSTER Club
40 Year old Jeepster Club dedicated to the Willys-Overland Jeepster
Willys-Overland Jeepster Registry and Information Site
Registry, Photo Gallery and Information Site for 1948-1950 Willys-Overland
WILLYS-OVERLAND JEEPSTER- JeepsterOnline
JeepsterOnline is for the 1948-1951Willys Overland Jeepster enthusiast
willing to share information about this fabulous vehicle.
This site is dedicated to helping people to find other people, parts,
and technical advice about the Jeepster Commando.
Webpages for and about Kaiser/AMC Jeepster Commandos and their owners,
providing information, help, and support for the community.
The Jeepster Commando on The CJ3B Page