The Jeep Commando was manufactured by two different companies from 1966 through 1973. Originally brought out under the ownership of Kaiser, Commando survived a buyout of the Jeep brand from Kaiser by AMC in 1970. This tough little vehicle entered the sales scene as the Jeepster Commando, and was created as competition for Bronco and Land Cruiser vehicles. It could be ordered as a convertible, a pickup truck or as a wagon. Jeep Commando had the typical Jeep front grille, and it looked a lot like the CJ models. It was also related to an earlier Jeepster Commando model that had been built years prior.
Later on in production, changes to the front end took Commando from its original military Jeep look into that of a more of a traditional passenger car. The front grille was redesigned after 1972, but that was not enough to perk up sales. Production of the Commando was discontinued after 1973, and because of the short production time, very few are still in use today. Earlier in 20th century, Willys-Overland had produced a Jeepster" model, from 1948-1950. The intention at that time was to crossover from a utilitarian vehicle to a more marketable passenger vehicle. The name was changed to just "Jeep" Commando after 1971.
The history of Jeep Commando is both long and short. The vehicular ancestry of Commando dates back to 1948 "Jeepster" models, but on its own run, active production only lasted a few years, from 1966 to 1973. During that time, expected sales did not materialize, despite all efforts at redesign and modification. The Commando had 57,350 sales while under control of Kaiser, and another 20,223 sales under AMC leadership after 1970.
The Jeep Commando had three engine choices in1971 and 1972. The AMC 3.8L 232 CID engine, the 4.2L AMC Straight-6 304 CID engine and the 5.0L AMC V8 304 CID engine were each available in new Commandos. Early models in 1966 were outfitted with an F-head Hurricane straight-4 engine that produced 75 hp at 4,000 rpm. Four-wheel drive was optional, as was a higher 160 horsepower engine, the Dauntless V6. Another option for body style as a roadster was also added to Jeep Commando, along with some deluxe options for the station wagon. The wagon could be ordered with a sliding rear window, full interior trim and a two-tone exterior.
Special designs were available on the 1971 Hurst Jeepster, which had amenities like special paint and striping colors, an 8,000 rpm tachometer, roof rack and Hurst T-handle or Dual-Gate shifters. Another model, the Revival Jeepster, was outfitted with deluxe interior materials, a power convertible top and a Continental tire kit. The standard Commando convertible had an identical body, but only basic finish and appointments.
... View more