Although Jeep is better known for military-inspired off-roaders like the CJ and Wrangler or for luxury SUVs like the Grand Wagoneer, it has a history with pickup trucks that goes back to the cab-over, “Forward Control” line of the 1950s. A more conventional, body-on-frame front-engine pickup called the Gladiator arrived for 1963, and it shared basic platform and styling with the wagon-bodied four-wheel drive Wagoneer.
In 1970, AMC purchased the Jeep brand and from 1971 the Jeep pickup lineup received styling updates and utilized AMC engines, including a 258 cubic inch six and V8s of 304, 360, or 401 cid. After 1971, Jeep dropped the Gladiator name and this era of open-bed Jeeps is simply known as the Jeep Pickup, Jeep J-Series, or by individual model designations like J2000/J3000/J4000 or J10/J20. Long and short bed versions were available, Jeep also built many commercial and military versions of its pickup, and Quadtra-Trac four-wheel drive was an available and popular option. For 1983 this system was replaced by the Selec-Trac.
The 1970s and early 1980s saw numerous loud trim packages like the “Pioneer” with its luxury woodgrain-trimmed interior and flashy exterior trim, the “Honcho” with its bright decals and roll bar, or the similar “Golden Eagle.” The “Laredo” included leather bucket seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel as well as a high-end Alpine stereo.
In 1987, Chrysler bought Jeeps. Since Chrysler also built Dodge, it wasn’t keen on Jeep building large pickups to compete with its own established line of trucks. The Grand Wagoneer, which shared the Jeep pickups’ chassis, soldiered on in its own upmarket niche for a few years but the Jeep pickups were no more. It wasn’t until the 2019 Wrangler-based Gladiator that Jeep again built a large pickup truck.