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Good article Dave!
 

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I can't vouch for accuracy but I sure enjoyed reading it.
 

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Good stuff Dave! Having owned a '63 and an '81, I have a fond place for these trucks.
You may want to confer with Bob about the IFS, as AFAIK, it was only offered upon the Wagoneer, for a short time, not the Gladiator.
If you could clarify or correct me, that would be appreciated.
Thanks!

PS, these trucks were ahead of their time and never were able to crack the Big Three, sadly the first step that Chrysler took was to kill the J Truck, supposedly, because of pressure from the Dodge Truck Managers. At the time Jeep and Dodge Truck were stand alone dealers, who feared the rivalry.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks. I'll ask Bob.

I don't think J was killed because of Chrysler. Like I said in the last paragraph, they kept pouring money in, and sales were dreadful throughout most of the run. I think at most they may have sold 40,000 in a year -- in something like 20 varieties! The Comanche replaced the J-series — and we can agree that Comanche was killed partly due to Dakota, though I personally think the popularity and profitability of Cherokee made it inevitable.

J trucks... they were selling maybe 5,000 per year at the end. No threat to Dodge there! Dodge itself was phasing out its truck line by then, I think they would have been happy to have popular J trucks so they could kill D-series.

I think we can agree they should have sold better, especially in the early years.

I'd appreciate it if you could write up your perspective as an owner, anything at all you remember, the page is all history and no character.

Will double check with Bob. I might have misunderstood him.

Oh, and THANKS.
 

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Dave said:
Thanks. I'll ask Bob.

I don't think J was killed because of Chrysler. Like I said in the last paragraph, they kept pouring money in, and sales were dreadful throughout most of the run. I think at most they may have sold 40,000 in a year -- in something like 20 varieties! The Comanche replaced the J-series — and we can agree that Comanche was killed partly due to Dakota, though I personally think the popularity and profitability of Cherokee made it inevitable.

J trucks... they were selling maybe 5,000 per year at the end. No threat to Dodge there! Dodge itself was phasing out its truck line by then, I think they would have been happy to have popular J trucks so they could kill D-series.

I think we can agree they should have sold better, especially in the early years.

I'd appreciate it if you could write up your perspective as an owner, anything at all you remember, the page is all history and no character.

Will double check with Bob. I might have misunderstood him.
Oh, and THANKS.
You're welcome and check with Bob on the reason for terminating the J Truck, because my friend, Brian Chuchua was the number one Jeep dealer at the time of the Chrysler take over of AMC and that was his recollection.
Dodge Truck dealers felt threatened, but the reality was that the trucks were not direct competitors. I actually owned both at the same time. The Jeep was my 2/3 sized back country and primitive construction site vehicle and my Dodge was my "big rig" hauler and highway truck.
Two friends had them outfitted with Alaskan campers and traversed, with my Dad in his FC-170 and cab level camper, the entire length of the Baja peninsula, in 1959, years before any pavement graced the 1,000 mile wilderness. The trip took them 6 weeks and all three Jeeps performed flawlessly.
The J Trucks could go anywhere the CJ's could go, barring size limitations. They were truly a go anywhere truck, although they were lighter duty than the big three pickups, because of frame size, axle and spring set-up and construction. The 1981 Laredo model was a precursor to today's cushy cabs, with bucket seats, in leather, leather wrapped steering wheels and chrome accents inside the cab.It was a plush truck and the 258 in-line six was a powerful engine at that time, rivaling many V-8's of its day.
The Alpine sound system was equal to anything out there and folks who only shopped the big three missed out on a great truck.
Seeing that the Dodge Lifestyle trucks were nearing 10 years old ( they would go on nearly unchanged until 1993) these Laredo models sharing the same show room, would have received a LOT of attention from buyers and likely harmed Dodge pickup sales.
Compared to the trucks of the day, these last offerings from AMC were very competitive, but nearly a secret because of the low number of AMC dealers. Flashy packages like Honcho and Golden Eagle and Laredo, did gain a bit of attention, but consumers weren't sure what they were getting with Jeep, J Trucks. That was their loss, and ultimately the loss of Jeep.
I can't really speak to the Commanche being anything but a variant of XJ, as it really was far from being a J Truck replacement.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks, Norm. I will add some of your impressions. You could be right but it comes down to hearsay and ... seriously, did you see the sales figures for the last years of the J trucks? I agree that part of that is lack of visibility... but there were a lot of AMC dealers. They sold plenty of XJs when the time came... You're right that Comanche and Gladiator were very different but to a degree they filled the same niche — off-road capable, relatively-light 4x4 vehicles in pickup truck form. It's like looking at Challenger and Camaro, their character is totally different, but they attract the same buyers.

tomtex, I don't know anything about the Army trucks -- whether they were modified or not, etc. Guess I need to ask Bob ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The Oracle has Spoken. Our mutual friend confirmed that it was low sales, and said that Chrysler even extended the run a bit beyond what AMC had planned.

Given AMC’s resources, producing four or five thousand specialty trucks a year must have been hard to justify...especially when Wagoneer, which had a higher price tag, was being canned as well, admittedly that lasted two more years.

Side note, the "glory days" Wagoneer was named just that. Grand Wagoneer only came when they made a Cherokee-based Wagoneer.
 

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With all due respect this would be a great policy with many articles!! A recent K car story had a few errors but there was no link for input. I have requested a few times to straighten out the engine section starting with the early V8'S but little response. There is a great wealth of knowledge here that could be utilized to ensure Allpar is the most accurate online resource.

Thanks
Randy



This is the first draft of the article and I am seeking your thoughts and corrections:

http://www.allpar.com/trucks/jeep/gladiator.html
 

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Dave said:
Norm, I was just adding your input, and realized nobody could drive a Gladiator into Alaska in 1959. I think there, though, you were talking about the FC-170 ...
Alaskan Camper Dave. ;) not Alaska. The trip was into Baja. The FC170 had a Pullman camper.
But, you could drive a Gladiator, any year after it was produced, into Alaska any year after 1944, when the Alcan Highway was completed. ;)
But yes, the 1963 Gladiator was 4 years after that, so I morphed my trips, good catch, the 1959 trip was with Jeeps and FC170, later trips were indeed with the Gladiators.
1959 being the date of our first trip. Sorry!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
With all due respect this would be a great policy with many articles!! A recent K car story had a few errors but there was no link for input. I have requested a few times to straighten out the engine section starting with the early V8'S but little response. There is a great wealth of knowledge here that could be utilized to ensure Allpar is the most accurate online resource.
For any article, you can write to me via e-mail, the contact form, the correction form, or the feedback forum. If you could be specific about the early V8s that would be appreciated.
 
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