Jeep Pickup Trucks The Highs and The LowsIs my Jeep pickup here yet? What's the delay? How many of you can't wait till 2018? That's when Fiat-Chrysler-Jeep says they may be gracing us with a pickup truck version Jeep. For real. At least, that's what Jeep has announced. While Jeep has a very long history, with ups and downs in the automotive industry, it will be a challenge to bring that legacy back to a Jeep truck. A real truck. An actual pickup truck with a full size bed. No one quite knows what they will be till some designs have been released from Chrysler-Jeep. Drawings, photos, something to go on. So we still have a few years to guess. It could look like almost anything. There are so many people out there comparing what a new Jeep truck might have to live up to as far as heritage and we wanted to take a stab at it. Jeep has made many different kinds of "trucks" than their traditional offroad CJ's and Wrangler models. A few were successful, some, well, not so much. But all have a sweet spot to Jeepers for many different reasons. Let's look at the contenders:
Willys-Overland Jeep Truck - You still see these around now and then, but most have disappeared in a farmers field somewhere or become a rust heap in the woods. The few that have been found have been restored, hot rodded, lifted, and still stand the test of time. The trucks production ran from around 1947 to 1965, and they are also knows an "Jeepsters". These trucks had some keen options, such as power takeoff, and a "Dump-O-Matic" hydraulic hoist. But I wouldn't hold your breath for those options on a 2018 Jeep Pickup Truck.
Jeep FC Series - I would say in the recent decade, these Jeeps are more popular than they have ever been in history, even when they were new. One reason is they're so rare. Which gives you reason number two: they're an unusual looking vehicle to see on the road today. Many people have never even seen one before. The forward cab look was popular for a time, with Ford having an Econoline version, and Dodge having the A-100. None of these lasted very long. The Jeep FC was only made from 1956 to 1965, a short span of life for a truck. While the pickup truck body is the most well known, a variety of body options were available to buyers, from a dump truck, fire truck, to a tow truck bed. Jeep only made about 30,000 of the FCs, so they are rare indeed. (as a note of interest, India made an FC pickup based on Chrysler's design, up to about 1999, called the Mahindra FC160). Obviously the FC was made for commercial and farm type work. But it's unlikely a new Jeep Pickup Truck will be advertised for that segment of the populace.
Jeep CJ8 Scrambler - The CJ8 Scrambler was sort of a hybrid. Still a CJ, but with a small "pickup" style bed. It even had a "tailgate", so it was very close to being an actual "pickup". For some reason they didn't sell that well initially, so they're quite rare today. But more popular than ever. From the windshield forward, they were pretty much like a copy of the CJ7. Chances are, the 2018 Jeep Pickup Truck will be a similar idea. It will most likely use many parts, if not the actual design, of a 2018 Wrangler (whatever that ends up being, no one knows for sure yet). Will they call it a pickup truck? Or maybe they can bring back the Scrambler name and include the graphics package as well? Hey, we can dream.
Jeep J-Series Pickup Trucks - This was a solid Jeep truck (also known as the "Gladiator", and later on, the "Honcho"), and it was true to the genre. It did share parts with the SJ-Wagneer and Cherokees, but except for that, it was a tried and true pickup truck. As we've mentioned before, when Jeep was purchased by Chrysler, they didn't want a vehicle to compete with their Dodge trucks, so they killed the J-series. C'est la vie. (Famous J-series? The yellow truck in the movie "Twister". Also, Earl's 4WD Jeep pickup in the movie "Tremors". ..."Easy on the clutch, you're gonna break an axle!"...) Will the next Jeep pickup in 2018 be like a J-series? Not likely. Car companies of today don't like to step out of the box. Or take chances. They also like to have multiple vehicles share parts and platforms, which allows them to have a better bottom line when it comes to profits. It's not really possible a new Jeep pickup will stand on it's own.
Jeep Commanche - These are almost considered the red-headed step child of Jeep trucks. They borrowed some parts from the XJ Cherokee, including the "Uniframe" nightmare XJ owners are well aware of. These were a midsize / compact size truck, more comparable to a Ford Ranger or a Chevy S10. But they came around at the wrong time, with Chrysler already making Dodge fullsize trucks, and their smaller Dakotas. The Commanche had low sales, so it ended up on the cutting block. (Though they are very popular to find and own today.) The new 2018 Jeep Pickup truck will probably be whatever size a Jeep Wrangler is, though maybe with a longer wheelbase (than the unlimited), so it's hard to say how it will be classified: a compact pickup, or a fullsize version. We still have some waiting to do till we find out.
What do you think Jeep will give us for the Pickup Truck version in 2018?