By on January 22, 2013

Even though the DJ Jeep was two-wheel-drive, Coloradans must really love them. I see DJ-5 “Mail Jeeps” in Denver-area wrecking yards all the time (for example, this ’82 and this ’72). I’ve mostly stopped photographing them for this series, because how much can anyone say about the steel box on wheels that delivered our mail for much of the 1970s? However, a Jeep with a factory-installed Audi engine is interesting, so here we go.
You could also get AMC Gremlins and Concords with Audi 2.0 liter engines, which means that Gremlins and Porsche 924s had lots of interchangeable parts (I need to remember this true fact next time I’m yelling at a LeMons miscreant with PCA patches all over his race suit). The one-year-only Audi-engined Jeep may be the rarest of all the Audi-fied AMCS, though.
To go with the mighty 95 horses of the Audi engine, the DJ-5G came with a Chrysler Torqueflite 904 automatic transmission.
As iron became rust in this Jeep, the lost mass was replaced by rodent nests. The interior of Uncle Sam’s former mail sled is very hanta-riffic now!
This dash is probably what Audi Designer Hell looks like.

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15 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1979 AM General DJ-5G Jeep, With Factory Audi Power...”


  • avatar
    CobraJet

    The valve cover says “American Motors”. Did Audi supply engines to AMC during its final days. What other AMC vehicles used this engine?

    • 0 avatar

      I believe that AMC used this engine in Gremlins, Spirits, and Concords. I’m assuming that they shopped the world for a cheapo 4-cylinder that met their specs and VAG’s bid was lowest.

    • 0 avatar
      ranwhenparked

      It was a VW/Audi design, but American Motors manufactured it themselves at their engine plant in Indiana. One of their biggest problems in the 1970s (aside from the lack of finances to develop a modern FWD small car platform) was the lack of a 4-cylinder. The Audi unit was a temporary Band Aid, but the royalties really cut into the margins.

      They finally took care of matters in the 1980s, by cutting 2 cylinders off their straight 6 and making their own. Why they didn’t just do that in the first place is beyond me.

  • avatar
    noxioux

    A Jeep with an Audi powerplant. Words fail me, but I’m sure you can hear me scream as I run far, far away. . .

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    My experience with these jeeps is from 78-81 when I was in the Navy and in Guam. Couldn’t keep them running. Possibly this is why. Just saying the word Audi leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

  • avatar
    p161911

    These things delivered mail well into the late 1990s at least.

    So for the ultimate LeMons hell project, Jeep DJ-5G with Porsche 924 TURBO power! Or maybe go all out for a 968 powered Jeep, how hard could it be?!

  • avatar
    Scout_Number_4

    My moderately-rural mail carrier still drives one of these. Wonder if he’d let me look under the hood one of these days?

  • avatar
    cargogh

    “This dash is probably what Audi Designer Hell looks like.” killed me.

  • avatar
    I've got a Jaaaaag

    I may have to check the local yards for one of these, that back gate looks about the right size do close in the crawl space opening in my garage.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Back in the 70′s aka malaise era I knew someone with a 74 Gremlin with the tried and true 232-6 and 3 speed on the floor. In 78 he traded it for a new Gremlin, (I know it sounds odd who traded a Gremlin for another one) with the Audi/VW 2.0-4 and a 4-speed. It got a few more MPG but lacked the low-end torque of the 6 banger.

  • avatar
    SixDucks

    Have an uncle that was a postman. He claims that a sudden hard turn at 45 m.p.h. would cause one of these mobile outhouses to roll 3 times completely, without hitting the roof on the first 2 rolls. Maybe so. But they got the job done. The DJ could be the only motor vehicle to have an L-head, an F-head (early Willys and Kaiser models), OHV (AMC 232, GM 153 and 2.5L), and this fine example of an OHC engine. That’s got to be some kind of first. Or last…….

  • avatar

    A bit of a thread de-rail, but I can specifically recall my mom getting a “hot stock tip” in the late 70′s to buy Curtis-Wright stock, as they owned the rights to the Wankel rotary engine, the next “big thing” in automobile engines.

    Apparently when GM ditched the Wankel they also left AMC at the altar (or perhaps they just weren’t willing to underbid Audi).

  • avatar
    kmk132

    I drive a DJ-5G as my daily driver. I bought 2 of the Audi powered jeeps off a gentlemen that let them sit since ’92, and I love the one I fixed up. It’s so much easier to work on than the straight 6 models, or the iron duke models of ’83 and ’84. If I break down, I have everything with me to get my up and running again within 10 minutes. It may max out at 69 on the highway with the 904 installed, but who cares; it’s a rare sight in Pittsburgh.


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