Saturday, April 16, 2011


In line with my previous postings about the Toyota truck that is based on a 30 year old Toyota Landcruiser FJ-60 4x4 design that you cannot buy in America but can get in many other parts of the world as a new vehicle from Toyota, it got me thinking about who could make a no nonsense 4x4 truck for the sportsman.

The last American truck that I can think of was the Jeep J-10, which was discontinued in the 1980's. It was "replaced" by a mini-truck 4x4 that didn't hold a candle to it. I had several friends that had a Jeep J-10 in the 70's, and I never appreciated them for the fine vehicle that they were until long after they had ceased to be made. Which might have been the sales problem.

But I do think in this market where every 4x4 you see nearly comes so luxurious that you don't want to take it down by the river, or deep into the Padre Island National Seashore, there are some of us who would like a a workhorse 4x4 truck like the Jeep with a solid 4x4 system and winch. The Jeep J-10 was always low profile and height, like the Landcruiser, but had great ground clearance and tremendous torque and gearing to get out of tough spots. It wasn't jacked up like Chevys and Fords were, but it went so many places that the jacked up trucks couldn't go. And the Jeep J-10 usually was the one pulling out a very stuck jacked up truck out in the middle of nowhere on the northern parts of South Padre Island.

Jeep is making like a hundred different models of the venerable Jeep Jeep, and that's great. And I've owned one and it was a dandy unless you have to drive it as your everyday transportation, and then it gets old after a few rough riding years. 

So I'd prefer a truck this time please. Put a wide J-10 sized cabin and bed on one of your serious 4x4 frames with the running gear and engine from the Jeep. Extend the frame to a wide long wheel base and give it a bit of suspension. Big V-8 engine. Six foot bed. Three bucket seats across the single cabin and the middle seat folds down with a big glove box in the back of the seat like in a Dodge truck.

The key is, make at least one version that will become a legend. Like the Z Corvette. Make 4x4 equivolent of a boy racer version of a J-10 Truck. Big engine. Not for racing but geared for getting unstuck. Serious transmission. Tires and wheels appropriate for on and off road driving.

I remember when Chevy reintroduced the Z28 in 1977 and then further in 1978. Those cars had 350 engines, a special Borg Warner 4 speed clutch and transmission, and some special wheels and tires. My 1978 Z28 had hand rolled windows and no options. Base line boy racer. What a great car that was.

That's the kind of truck Jeep could make. Sportsmen like me want to tow a boat or trailer or carry a load to the camp in the truck.  Beach fishermen, cruisers and folks who venture into all kinds of wilds like swamps and deserts and beaches and woods and mountains and rough country long for a reasonably priced vehicle that will go anywhere. But they don't want to drive a Wrangler.

Here's what a guy like me wants in a Jeep Truck. Take note Chevy and Nisson and Ford and Dodge and Toyota. I'm not looking for a truck that I could run the Baja 500 in, but almost. We want basic and we want heavy duty.

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