The goal for this classic Jeep truck wasn’t to be a pristine show truck with zero flaws and sparkling paint, there was already plenty of character to the truck that only time could create. This truck was built to bring back memories of radical ripped jean jackets, leg warmers, and massive D battery powered boom boxes with built-in cassette decks. We think this Jeep captures that perfectly, and is even reminiscent of the Chevy pickup from 1984’s “Red Dawn” where it opens the movie in a high school parking lot. Throughout the 80’s and 90’s, almost every movie truck had this same look: roll bar, brush bar, tube bumpers, and as many fog lights as possible – and we think this J2000 checks all the boxes.

Custom Fabricated Winch Bumper Custom Rear Tube Bumper from YJ Buick’s 230hp Dauntless 350 V8
3-speed Manual Transmission Custom Upholstered Seat Factory Radio Converted to Bluetooth
KC Lights Tubular Roll/Light Bar Warn Classic Style 8274 Winch
Custom Fabricated Ceramic Coated Exhaust Original Spruce Tip Green Paint BFG Mud Terrains on American Racing Wheels
4in Lift Kit Rancho Shocks

When people hear Jeep, they think of open top Wranglers and CJs. But from 1947 till 1992, Jeep made hundreds of thousands of pickup trucks for the American public and U.S. military branches. The names would change throughout the years from names like “Jeep Truck” and “Gladiator”, to the “J series” and “Comanche”. With all these different model names would come different companies laying claim to the Jeep brand, and since Jeep’s creation there have been many. At their inception, Jeep was owned by Willys, then Kaiser, then AMC, and most recently Chrysler and Fiat. Strangely enough within all these different owners would come different alliances with other companies, leading to this particular Jeep being filled with General Motors parts. 1971 was a turbulent year for Jeep, after being purchased from Kaiser the year before, the new owners at AMC were eager to change things up. They would drop the “Gladiator” name and keep the “J series” designation that had graced the front fenders of truck for the past several years. Our Jeep here features Buick’s Dauntless 350 V8 under the hood and a three speed manual transmission on the floor. 1971 would also be the last year of production for the Buick engine, before being replaced by AMC’s own V8 engines. The J2000 overall is a pretty barebones machine, having power steering as its only power option meaning both feet are needed to engage the four wheel manual drum brakes. But for everything that was stripped away on these trucks, they were the only truck in America that came standard with four wheel drive in 1971, a claim Jeep was proud to have.

The restoration of the truck would be focused almost entirely on the mechanical side of things and adding period correct accessories to give the truck a 1980’s budget 4×4 build feel that you would see in a high school parking lot. The truck itself was marked with years of cheap home done repairs that did the trick without compromising the structure or safety of the truck, so the decision was made to stay on this path and build off the look the truck already had. Working with this idea meant researching and acquiring all kinds of things nostalgia of the 1980’s. With its bed mounted tubular roll bar with round KC lights, NOS square KC lights and covers on the front bumper, Yosemite Sam “Back Off” mud flaps and Tonka stickers, the Jeep captures memories of days gone by. To dress up the truck, a factory style winch bumper was made by splitting the original bumper and fabricating in a winch mount and brackets. A fully custom manifold back ceramic coated exhaust was fabricated and featured a Thrush muffler for more rumble. When it came to the frame and under body it was all about preservation, so the frame would be wire wheeled and painted with epoxy chassis paint and the underside of the truck would be steam cleaned and wire wheel and treated to a thick layer of undercoating. The interior was relatively intact for being over fifty years old, so only the bench seat would be reupholstered, and the factory AM radio modified into a Bluetooth capable AM/FM radio. Mechanically the truck was “running and driving” when it came in, but was in need of lots of maintenance and tuning. Items on the to-do list included many regulars like a thermostat and gasket, exhaust manifold gaskets, a complete distributor rebuild, a complete brake rebuild, wheel bearings, steering components, bushings, and many wiring issues to name a few. Once everything was up to par and ready to go it was time for a photo shoot inspired by the theme of the build itself: the 1980’s! So, we grabbed a couple of 1970’s era Ski-doo snowmobiles and loaded them in the bed for some picturesque snowy New England winter photos just as would have been done back in the day. The build would be finished off with some celebratory donuts in the snow during the photoshoot, a fitting end to this build.