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

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

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?

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • 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!

  • Patrick hoover Patrick hoover on Aug 08, 2023

    Hi i just bought a jeep that has similiar engine. I have the block number but can NOT find anyway to decode it to find out what engine I have and wven what exact jeep I have. So i can order the correct parts. Any help would be great.

  • JOHN One is for sale on an ebay car donation site.https://www.ebay.com/itm/305579991767?itmmeta=01HYHVJ49MCC6HEWQY5AX9MX85&hash=item4725fca2d7:g:k9cAAOSw5V5mThFw
  • Scott So they are losing hundreds of millions of dollars and they are promising us a “Cheaper EV”? I wonder how that will look and feel? They killed the Fiesta because they claimed that they couldn’t make a profit on them and when I bought the first one in late 2010 they couldn’t deliver the accessories I wanted for it! Then I bought a 2016 Fiesta ST and again couldn’t get the accessories for it I wanted. They claimed that the components were going to be available, eventually. So they lost on that one as well! I don’t care about what they say anymore. I’ve moved on to another brand.
  • Michael S6 CX 70 or 90 will not be on my buying list. Drove a rental base CX 90 and it was noisy and the engine noise was not pleasant. Ride was rough for a family SUV. Mazda has to understand that what is good for Miata isn't what we expect in semi luxury SUV. My wife's 2012 Buick Enclave has much better Ride and noise level albeit at worse gas millage. Had difficulty pairing my phone with Apple CarPlay
  • Michael S6 What is the metric conversion between one million barrels and the number of votes he expects to buy.
  • NJRide This could give Infiniti dealers an extra product maybe make it a sub brand