Monday, January 3, 2011

The Jeep in Public Service, The Final Part, The 1970’s

The dawn of a new decade saw yet another change for the venerable jeep. Kaiser Industries sold its interest in the jeep to American Motors Corporation in February 1970. Superficially, not much had changed initially, but it was to be a golden era for the proliferation of the jeep and its further development. It was to usher in the newly re-designed pickup truck, the Commanche, the Grand Wagoneer and the Cherokee took aim at a growing segment of four-wheel drive owners, the AMC 232 and 258 straight six engines and as well in typical jeep fashion, a continuation of what had been wrought before it, but improved upon. The CJ continued with the Renegade series as well as an updated variant on the CJ-6, the CJ-7. As well AMC’s subsidiary company, AM General continued the substantial face lift to the Dispatcher DJ-3 line with the DJ-5, first built in 1965.

The new DJ-5 was available in both left and right hand drive models specifically targeted and successfully sold to the United States Postal Service where it was widely seen on the road as both a rural and urban mail carrier through 1984.

The most important aspect of the AMC acquisition was the jeep’s continuation with a fresh outlook that was based upon respect for what had come before it. The ‘new’ jeep was to live on and carry the torch passed to it to a new generation of businessmen and private owners. But in business for others or for yourself there were legions who appreciated the “toughest four letter word on wheels.”

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