Rides from the Readers: 1969 Jeep J-3500 Gladiator
Hagerty readers and Hagerty Drivers Club members share their cherished collector and enthusiast vehicles with us via our contact email, firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re showcasing some of our favorite stories among these submissions. To have your car featured, send complete photography and your story of ownership to the above email address.
Today’s featured vehicle is a 1969 Jeep J-3500 Gladiator. Jeep produced these J-Series, full-size pickups from 1963–1987, though only trucks from models years 1972 and earlier formally bore the Gladiator name. Jeep introduced the four-digit model nomenclature in 1965, and this four-wheel-drive truck’s “3500” code identifies it as a half-ton model with a 126-inch-wheelbase.
The 1969 model was also the last Gladiator that didn’t share a grille with the Wagoneer, which, in 1970, was the first styling change Jeep introduced for the J-Series. The J-Series lineup was anything but boring, however; in 1968, it boasted no fewer than 24 different models. Thankfully, Jeep kept the engine options simple: straight-six or V-8.
This particular Gladiator has been completely restored by owner Scott Leep, who owns Rick’s Garage in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This Jeep isn’t a client commission, however, or another item checked off Scott’s personal bucket list. This Jeep is a gift to Scott’s father, whom Scott surprised with the resurrected Jeep.
From where we’re sitting, it looks like Mr. Leep is a pretty happy camper. We couldn’t approve more!