Rare Rides: A 1971 Jeepster Commando of the Hurst Variety

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides a 1971 jeepster commando of the hurst variety

Long before the Wrangler and Cherokee became Jeep’s household names, and even before the Jeep brand existed as we know it today, the company known as Kaiser Jeep produced the Jeepster Commando. And for a few special examples, Hurst made some of its own modifications.

Let’s have a look at a special proto-Cherokee:

In the mid-1960s, the Kaiser Jeep company desired an SUV to compete with existing offerings like the Toyota Land Cruiser and International Scout, as well as Ford’s upcoming Bronco. The company’s new Jeepster Commando (C101) was ready for a 1966 debut, which just so happened to be the same time as the Bronco’s launch. Game on!

Four different versions of the Jeepster were on offer: a convertible, a roadster, a wagon, and a truck. Four-wheel drive was available from the start, and base model power was provided by a 75-horsepower inline-four F4-134 engine which dated back to 1950. Optionally fitted was a 3.2-liter Buick V6, which managed a much more respectable 160 horsepower. Jeepsters delivered power through a standard manual or optional automatic transmission.

Things stayed roughly the same with the Jeepster for a few years, until the Hurst version came along for 1971. All examples featured a white exterior festooned with red and blue stripes, plus a standard roof rack. Better handling was on offer via Goodyear G70 tires, fitted to wider steel wheels. Hurst versions received the requisite Hurst labeling all over the place, as well as a hood-mounted tachometer, while the interior featured a different steering wheel and a special shifter for both manual and automatic transmissions.

The Jeepster Commando lasted in its original iteration until 1971. By then, Kaiser Jeep was owned by American Motors (note AMC badge on tailgate), and the Jeepster was looking old. AMC developed a new model known as the Jeep Commando (C104), which sported a longer 104-inch wheelbase, revised styling, and new engines. After just two years, the C104 version was replaced by the first-generation Cherokee (SJ).

Widely reported as the rarest Jeep vehicle in existence, the estimated number of Jeepster Commando Hursts produced ranges between 100 and 103. Sources also report some Hurst versions were sold as model-year 1970 vehicles, rather than 1971s. Today’s Rare Ride is a 1971 example from late in the run; an indicated number 99 of 103. With the optional V6 and automatic transmission, this one’s very clean and asks $28,000.

[Images: seller]

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5 of 16 comments
  • Lie2me Lie2me on Sep 05, 2018

    Great find, Corey. I never understood the market for these, it seems the only place I've ever noticed them were carting tourists around some 3rd world all-inclusive resort or driven by guides at some "Safari Land" amusement park

    • See 2 previous
    • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Sep 05, 2018

      @LectroByte It just seems to me like the other two have a rough and tumble image, and what I've read about these says it's best to keep them on the pavement. Yes these are 4WD.

  • Compaq Deskpro Compaq Deskpro on Sep 06, 2018

    This is not only a prototype crossover, but one with ridiculous sporting pretensions, like the Jeep Compass Trailhawk with red bucket seats.

  • FreedMike If it were a GLI, it’d be a decent project car. But at the end of the day you have a base Jetta, and those weren’t all that great. Speaking of project VWs - when I was living at my old house a few years ago, one of my neighbors had an OG 1983 GTI sitting on his lawn. Lord, did I want to take that car home.
  • Dukeisduke "Gouging" - lol. California's gas prices are driven by a combination of the highest state gasoline tax in the US (66.98 cents per gallon) and the CARB-mandated California-only boutique fuel blends.
  • Astigmatism Honestly I'm surprised it's not higher. My parents bought two garage spots in Boston for $250k in the 1980s. When I worked in midtown a decade ago, garage spots near my building rented for $500 a month, which would support a $125k mortgage.Places get expensive when lots of people want to live there.
  • 28-Cars-Later As much as the Orwellian nature concerns me I must say to "add a turbo" as it were to net roughly 20% more bhp for $1,195 doesn't sound too bad. In days of old the V6 -> V8 upgrade was upwards of 20-30% of the base model cost.
  • Nivya Typical Manhattan parking spot price usually ranges anywhere between $15 to $75 for two hours. However, there are plenty of alternative parking options that provide even cheaper rates.