When you mention the brand “Jeep” to someone, the models that are generally recalled are vehicles such as Cherokees, Wranglers, and Renegades. However, Jeep has been around for almost a hundred years and there have been many, many usual Jeeps manufactured and sold during that time. In this two-part article, we will look at some of the rare and usual Jeeps that have been sold.
Jeep Forward Control
In 1956, Jeep introduced a strange model they called the Forward Control or FC model. It was a cab-forward truck with the engine underneath the passengers. Even though the FC was a Jeep, which means it was a capable, tough and durable machine, the market didn’t respond well to its unusual design. In fact, in its nine years of production, Jeep made just around 30,000 of them, mostly for the export market. Yes, Jeep thought the FC would be a big seller, but it never sold well. The folks at DCH Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Fiat (Temecula, CA) believe the reason for this lies in the odd looks of the Forward Control design and the noise of the motor located under the cab.
The 1950s saw the birth of mass tourism and travel. In response to this, hotels became car customers, buying fleets of cars and other vehicles. Some hotels even offered transportation to and from airports in festively-colored vehicle models with the British Mini Moke and Fiat Jolly being common choices. Jeep wanted a piece of that market, so they produced a special Jeep they named the Jeep Surrey. The Surrey was just a regular Jeep DJ-3A model they painted in bright colors with matching upholstery. It looked totally different than most Jeeps of that era and was popular. Jeep introduced the Surrey in 1959 and discontinued it in 1964.
The Commando is a forgotten Jeep model produced between 1966 and 1973. Looking roughly like the previous decade’s Willys Jeepster, it was a snazzier upscale version of pure off-road models. Commando buyers had a wide selection of engines to choose from including inline-four and six-cylinder power plants to V6 and V8 engines. It should be noted that AMC produced most of the Commando engines because they owned the Jeep brand at the time.
Ah, the Jeep Honcho. Jeep took the regular Gladiator truck, added some crazy graphics on the side and gave it the Honcho name. Also, they included a special interior, special wheels, off-road tires, and a winch. Under the hood, they offered a couple of engine choices including the AMC 401 V8, a seriously powerful machine for the day. However, despite all their efforts, they only made 1,500 Honchos in, ready for this, seven years of production. Since then, the Honcho has become a highly sought-after collector truck.
Although they produced it in high numbers, Jeep DJs are almost extinct now. You would recognize one quickly as it was main vehicle for the US Post Office for many, many years. The DJ stood for Dispatcher Jeep and in 1955 Jeep unveiled it to the public as a cool little roundabout with a closed body available in various configurations. Jeep produced them all the way until 1984 in several versions.
CJ- 8 Scrambler
Today, Scramblers are highly sought-after collector trucks. But when Jeep introduced them in the early 1980s, sales were slow. Based on the CJ-7 model, the Scrambler came with a removable half cabin, cool graphics, and truck-style bed behind the driver. But during its six years of production, they built fewer than 30,000 of them.