The history of the Jeep Pickup | McLarty Daniel CDJR of Bentonville

February 28th, 2019 by

We’re beyond stoked to get the all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator on the lot here at McLarty Daniel Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Bentonville. With incredible styling and all the rugged capability of the Jeep Wrangler, it’s sure to be a game changer in the midsize truck world, and a hot commodity for our sales department!

While we’re waiting on the new Gladiators to start rolling in, we’ve got some time to kill. So read on for a short history of Jeep Pickup trucks, including all the ancestors that led to the debut of the 2020 Gladiator. And if you want to be one of the first to own this incredible new truck from Jeep, stop in at McLarty Daniel CDJR and talk to our friendly finance professionals today!

1947–1965: Willys-Overland Jeep 4×4 Truck
Jeep wasn’t done when victory was declared in Europe and the Pacific. With American vets clamoring for the rugged capability of the plucky little Jeeps they drove in the service, Original Jeep parent company Willys-Overland introduced the Jeep CJ, a civilian version of the Jeep. It was a stunning hit, and Willys-Overland soon followed up that success in 1947 with their second product: the rugged, no-nonsense Jeep 4×4 Truck. Available as either a pickup or 4×4 station wagon, the trucks would be produced almost unchanged for 20 years.

1957–1966: Jeep FC (Forward Control)
Borrowing a flat-nosed, driver-forward look from the European Volkswagen van and truck, the Jeep FC trucks are still one of the oddest Jeep vehicles ever made, but proved very popular upon their debut in 1957. The short wheelbase, rugged components and surefooted Jeep capability made them prized by everyone from loggers to ranchers, who loved their robust 4×4 components and commanding view from the driver’s seat when crawling over rough terrain. Some versions even offered a power-take-off shaft to run farm implements that would normally be used with a tractor.  

1963–1987: Jeep J-series Gladiator
The longest-running Jeep pickup ever produced, the J-series was introduced in 1963 for those who wanted a truck with a little more luxury and more options than the plain Jane Jeep 4×4 Truck we previously introduced. Featuring virtually the same doors, cowl, hood and front sheetmetal as the first generation Jeep Cherokee wagons, the Jeep J-series is one of the coolest Jeep trucks ever built. Between 1967-1969, the model even went to war again as the Kaiser Jeep M715, which featured upgraded axles, military spec bumpers and a convertible top. The J-series was eventually the first Jeep given the “Gladiator” name that has now passed to the 2020 version.

1981–1985: Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler
While the Jeep CJ models were always beloved for their off-road prowess, their ability to haul cargo left a lot to be desired. Jeep took a shot at improving upon that starting in 1981, with the longer-wheelbase Jeep CJ-8 Scambler. Featuring a five-foot pickup bed mated without a gap to the popular Jeep CJ, the model featured a rigid, lift-off half-cab and locking doors, but could also be purchased with a convertible soft top. While the bed didn’t make it a true pickup, it was a hit with those who needed more hauling capability from their Jeeps. Pristine examples are prized by collectors today.

1986–1992: Jeep Comanche
With the Jeep J-Series truck getting seriously long in the tooth by the 1980s, Jeep knew it was time for a redesign of their truck offering. The result is the Jeep Comanche, which featured a real-deal seven-foot four-inch bed, making Jeep an immediate contender in the mid-size truck market. Built on either two or four wheel drive powertrains, the Jeep Comanche features sheet metal that’s identical to the popular Jeep Cherokee Sport from the front doors forward. With Jeep’s legendarily reliable and torquey 4.0-liter inline six cylinder under the hood, it was popular, but would be the last production Jeep truck for over 25 years when the final Comanche rolled off the line in 1992.  

2005: Jeep Gladiator Concept
Aftermarket companies — including Jeep performance parts supplier Mopar — jumped into the void left by the Jeep Comanche after 1992, issuing top kits that turned Jeeps into something like a truck but not quite. That was the news until 2005, when Jeep debuted the tantalizing 2005 Jeep Gladiator Concept at the Detroit Auto Show. Cribbing its design heavily from the Jeep Wrangler, the Jeep Gladiator concept was definitely the shape of things to come (14 years later), with angular rear fenders, a side-mounted spare, an expandable truck bed, and the 2.8 liter diesel from a Jeep Liberty.

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