The Jeepster was an Automobile sold under the Jeep marque. The original Jeepster was produced by Willys-Overland from 1948 to 1950. The Jeepster name was revived in 1966 on a new model, the C-101 Jeepster Commando, and American Motors (AMC) (successor to Willys-Overland) removed the Jeepster name for 1972 and halted production after 1973.
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 passenger automobile market. The car was originally only offered with Rear-wheel drive, thus limiting its appeal with traditional Jeep customers. 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 segment. Sales were also limited by sparse advertising. In the end, 19,132 original VJ Jeepsters were produced (1948 - 10,326; 1949 - 2,960; 1950 - 5,836).
The VJ Jeepster was powered by the "Go Devil" engine, a Straight-4 also used in the CJ. A 3-speed Manual transmission with optional Overdrive (mechanics) 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 - L134 Go Devil Straight-4 — 134.1 CID (2,197 cc) Standard equipment included a Champagne White exterior with red and blue stripes, a roof rack, a sports steering wheel, and Goodyear G70 x 15 raised white letter tires mounted on wider steel wheels. Hurst equipment included special exterior insignia, an 8,000-rpm Tachometer on the back of the hood scoop in the driver's line of sight, as well as a Hurst T-handle shifter on manual-transmission cars or a console-mounted Hurst Dual-Gate shifter with the optional automatic transmission.
The Jeepster name was removed after 1971, but the model remained in production for two more years as the Jeep Commando. In 1972, it received a "conventional" full-width grille (see picture). The Commando had one of three American Motors engines, the or AMC Straight-6 or the AMC V8. A total of 20,223 AMC-spec "C104" Jeep Commandos were made in 1972 and 1973.
- 1971-1972 - AMC Straight-6 I6— 231.91 CID (3,800.3 cc), bore, stroke, 100 hp (74 kW) and 185 ft·lbf (250 N·m)
- 1971-1972 - AMC Straight-6 I6—258.08 CID (4,229.2 cc), bore, stroke
- 1971-1972 - AMC V8 V8—303.92 CID (4,980.3 cc), bore, stroke
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