Junkyard Find: 1968 Kaiser Jeep DJ-5A, With Factory Chevy Power

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1968 kaiser jeep dj 5a with factory chevy power

After I found the very rare Audi-engined ’79 AM General DJ-5G “Mail Jeep” in a Denver junkyard, I thought I’d go back to ignoring most junked DJ Jeeps. They’re very common in Colorado, and this series has always been more about historically significant vehicles than just plain old ones. However, DJs built before AMC bought Kaiser-Jeep, and featuring the nearly-forgotten Chevrolet Nova four-cylinder engine, deserve some attention.

You could get a Chevy II aka Nova with a 153-cubic-inch L4 engine until 1969. Just as the later Iron Duke was based on the Pontiac 301 V8, the 153 was based on the Chevrolet 230-cubic-inch L6. Hardly any Nova shoppers bought this engine, because gas was cheap and the six didn’t cost much more up front, but Kaiser-Jeep knew a good deal when they saw one. When AMC gobbled up Kaiser-Jeep in 1970, the good old AMC Six replaced the Nova four.

Even by 1968 truck standards, these controls were super-minimal.

Believe it or not, Jeep DJs were sold to customers other than the Postal Service. This one has left-hand-drive, so it probably spent its life hauling something other than junk mail (unless it was purchased by the Royal Jamaican Postal Service for left-side-of-the-road deliveries).

Maybe it was some seriously tight-walleted cheapskate’s commuter car? Do you really need more than a steel box on wheels to get from Point A to Point B?

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3 of 41 comments
  • -Nate -Nate on Jan 28, 2013

    Actually no ~ Worm and sector steering box has a roller thing that rolls (stiffly) up and down the worm whereas a recirculating ball typ has a machined block with cute little delicate tubes to recirculate the balls when they come out of either end of the block as the worm is turned , this is about 1/4 the friction of a worm and sector typ box . I guess you have to be old to know this crap or something . In any case , I still like this rig and hate to see it in the scrapper . When I was younger and Chevy II's (Novas was a trip option) were new , many were sold with the too dang small Iron Duke 153 engine . -Nate

    • Pig_Iron Pig_Iron on Jan 28, 2013

      Nate, they're still in use in on CNC machines due to near zero lash. Old tech never entirely dies, somestimes it just gets an update and reapplication.

  • Mr. Edward Mann Mr. Edward Mann on Jan 30, 2013

    The 153 cu.in Nova I4! Something TTAC ex-patriate Paul Niedermeyer has requested to see in operating condition in a car since the 1960's! Send him this example (motor) as a gift for now, knowing that he probably won't even be able to find a car with this motor in it in his well known hometown of Eugene, Oregon, the land that cars last near-eternally in!

  • Inside Looking Out This is actually the answer to the question I asked not that long ago.
  • Inside Looking Out Regarding "narrow windows" - the trend is that windows will eventually be replaced by big OLED screens displaying some exotic place or may even other planet.
  • Robert I have had 4th gen 1996 model for many years and enjoy driving as much now as when I first purchased it - has 190 hp variant with just the right amount of power for most all driving situations!
  • ToolGuy Meanwhile in Germany...
  • Donald More stuff to break god I love having a nanny in my truck... find a good tuner and you can remove most of the stupid stuff they add like this and auto park when the doors open stupid stuff like that