These 5 classic 4x4s are under $20K
One of the fastest growing segments of the collector vehicle market has been 4x4s. People love their vehicles because they deliver a level of freedom, the ability to get out and hit the road and go wherever it takes them. Well, 4x4s do the same and then some, allowing the adventure to continue after the road ends and things get rough. We appreciate a good weekend trip off the beaten path to spend time under the stars and around the campfire, and while you can see quite a lot in a car or minivan, some sights are best explored in a 4×4. We scanned Hagerty’s Marketplace to find some affordable drivers and one project that we think would make great adventure vehicles to get you out into the wind, and, equally important, back again.
If you’re looking for a rugged pickup and the offerings from the Big Three are too mainstream, how about a Jeep J10? This one is a bit of a hybrid, actually, as it has the axles and suspension from a J-20, with a Dana 60 rear axle and a heavy-duty Dana 44 in the front. Those aren’t the end of its OEM plus upgrades, however, as the interior comes from a slightly more modern Jeep Wagoneer. The outside looks rather solid and dent-free, even if the paint is quite weathered. Inside, the tan interior and wood trim are exactly what we’d hope to see inside a Jeep pickup. Its long bed could fit a lot of gear for a long weekend of off-roading and a pickup is always handy to have around.
The iteration of Jeep’s CJ lineup that evolved into the Wrangler, the CJ-7 is an excellent blend of utility and maneuverability. Of course, there’s not as much room as the J10 and its huge bed, but there’s space enough for a weekend getaway if you pack light, and this one offers an extra bonus: top-off freedom with half doors. The sale includes a fabric top if you need to keep the sun off your dome. Its inline-six engine and five-speed manual powertrain is quintessential AMC-era Jeep and should provide enough pep for the lightweight runabout. A recent restoration included new paint outside and bedliner inside the steel tub, so don’t be afraid to get this one dirty.
1941 Dodge WC-17
The WC-17 is the 1/2-ton equivalent to the slightly better-known 3/4-ton WC-53 command car. These tough wagons were used in WWII and were the bigger brother to the Willys MB and Ford GPW Jeeps. This one is a major project, although we couldn’t help but include it as there is so much potential for a unique off-road build. There’s not much floor in the back, as the wood has deteriorated, and there’s plenty of work to be done in repairing the rust, but for an 82-year-old WWII veteran, it could be a whole lot worse. Picture this with some bodywork, a fresh coat of olive drab paint, and a simple military-themed interior, dropped on top of a Jeep Gladiator Rubicon chassis. The thought of that kind of project had us looking at Copart auctions nearby to see what kind of donor 4x4s were available.
Featuring a rebuilt powertrain and a great color combo, this SUV packs a 351 V-8, the most powerful engine offered in the fourth-generation Bronco. Even with easy-clean rubber flooring, we’d be careful to keep the rest of this car’s red velvet interior clean as it is in fantastic condition and is absolutely perfect for the era. We especially like the interesting two-tone pattern on this well-maintained Bronco. The white is broken up by red on the rockers and on the tops of the fenders and hood that also reached back to surround the front windows. A modest lift and 33-inch tires would go a long way to making this 4×4 look more modern, and the 351 would hardly notice it.
FJ40s were among the first wave of 4x4s to become popular among collectors, along with the first-gen Ford Bronco. It’s easy to see why. The styling of the early FJs is very much reminiscent of Jeep CJs, but Toyota gave the FJ a bit more room than Jeep’s contemporary CJ-5, with a longer wheelbase. The FJ also was available with hard doors and a hard top to make them more suitable for a wide range of climates, which you’ll surely appreciate, along with the aftermarket Vintage Air A/C system, when tackling a summer trial run. FJs were powered by Toyota’s 2F engine, an updated version of the F engine that Toyota built under license from GM. This one was rebuilt, so it’s likely got another few decades of service ahead of it.
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