The Jeepster Commando, a sometimes overlooked model in the Kaiser / Willys lineup, was first introduced by Kaiser Motors in 1966 to compete with the Toyota Land Cruiser and Ford Bronco. A throwback to the original Willys Jeepster, the Jeepster C101, as the first Commando was called, was produced from 1966 to 1971 and came in several different body styles, including the station wagon, convertible, pickup, and roadster. Equipped with the F-head Hurricane straight-4, the C101 also came with a 160 horsepower Dauntless V6 option (which was preferred, with its 235 lb-ft of torque).
Of the total 57,350 Commandos that were produced during this time, Kaiser Motors also offered a deluxe version of the C101 station wagon body style, which was outfitted with sliding rear windows and embellished with full interior trim and an (optional) two-tone exterior. In 1971, a very select number of “Hurst Jeepsters” were built with modifications by Hurst Performance, featuring rally stripes, a Hurst Dual Gate shifter (console-mounted) OR Hurst T-handle shifter (for manual-transmission), roof rack, sports steering wheel, Continental tire kit (available only for this model) and a scoop-mounted 8,000-rpm tachometer.
After 1971 the Jeepster “namesake” was removed and replaced with the simpler title of “Jeep Commando.” By 1972, it was clear that the Commando had become something quite different from its predecessor. For example, the grille was redesigned into something less inspired by Kaiser and more influenced by conventional full-width grilles that were popular at the time. We should also mention that the Commando had a new engine, and was now equipped with one of three AMC options: the 232 cu in (3.8L), the 258 cu in (4.2L) AMC Straight 6 or the 304 cu in (5.0L) AMC V8. The Jeep Commando C104 was produced for two more years until it was completely phased out in 1973, bringing the total number produced to 20, 223.
All history aside, one thing’s for sure: Jeepster Commandos were made for fun in the sun! Check out the Willys Jeepster and Commando Photo Gallery of the original Jeepsters produced from 1948 to 1950, and the 1966 to 1973 Kaiser and AMC Jeepster Commandos and let our Commando owners know what you think about their rides! Here are a few pictures of our blog members rides:
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