Remembering the Jeep Gladiator
Although the rumors of an upcoming pickup truck have since been squashed, or at least put to rest for now, many Jeep enthusiasts are anxious to see the brand once again put its stamp on a pickup truck.
If you’re looking for used Jeeps, check out the Jeep Gladiator, a pickup truck produced by Jeep between 1962-1971.
Although the “Gladiator” name was ultimately dropped from the line in 1971, Jeep continued to produce pickup trucks, and boasted an impressive run of more than twenty-six years of pickup truck production.
Never heard of the Gladiator before?
You’re in for a treat, not to mention a real appreciation for why so many Jeep loyalists want to see the Jeep pickup truck reclaim its place on the road.
The Jeep Gladiator: Picking Up With the Past
Initially designed as the first fleet of post-war U.S. Army trucks intended for civilian use, but still military-grade, the Jeep Gladiator was introduced in 1962. Sharing the same architecture as the four-wheel drive Jeep Wagoneer station wagon, the Gladiator was released for the 1963 model year.
Gladiators were equipped with a Jeep Tornado engine, a 3.8-liter straight six, generating 140 horsepower, and measuring 230 cubic inches. With rear-wheel and four-wheel drive options, the Gladiator in four-wheel drive featured an industry first from its optional automatic transmission, not to mention power steering; Power Take-off unit for add-ons like snow plows and push plates, complemented by power brakes.
By 1965 the Gladiator was available with an additional engine option from the 327 cubic inch, or 5.4-liter AMC V8, which was rated at 250 horsepower and 340 lb.-ft. of torque. The Tornado engine was ultimately dropped in favor of the 3.8-liter OHV inline six.
Between 1968 and 1971, the Gladiator featured the optional 350 cubic inch or 5.7-liter Dauntless V8 engine from Buick, which was backed by 230 horsepower.
From 1971-1988, the pickup line from Jeep was known simply as the Jeep pickup.
So, will we see a return of the pickup truck to the Jeep line?
Well, according to Mike Manley, President and CEO of Jeep, he remains “a big fan of a Jeep pickup…I think we have history that says it belongs in our portfolio.”
The brand certainly does have that history and automotive industry experts speculate that, in fact, the truck could make a comeback.
Kelley Blue Book senior analyst, Karl Brauer, insists, “If they could revive the Jeep Gladiator by snapping their fingers, they would…There’s no doubt in my mind if they could revive that vehicle…it would have a market.”
Well, I know this blogger would be the first in line to drive one. We’ll keep you posted on Jeep plans for a pickup truck in the future…