Some of the coolest rigs we run across start out as hammered old 4x4s that were never intended to be the trick machines they are today. Frank Manno of Boulder City, Nevada, only wanted his '71 Jeep Commando for driving around town, running errands after work, and as a project to tinker with after he retired. He never had any aspirations to build it into the slick off-road machine it is today. It just happened.
Commandos aren't the most common vehicles on the trail, and parts for them are even scarcer. But that's what makes them unique and intriguing. Although this isn't a hardcore rockcrawler, it has been turned into a very capable and reliable rig that takes Frank and his family on weekend adventures and leisurely putts around Boulder City and through Nevada's vast expanses of desert.
We found Frank at the Vegas Valley Four Wheelers 30th Annual Hump N Bump, where he and the Jeep were ready to hit some of the trails with family and friends.
1971 Jeepster Commando
Engine: Chevy 4.3L V-6
Transfer case: Dana 300 LoMax 4.1 gears
Front Axle: Dana 44, ARB Air Locker, 4.56 gears
Rear Axle: Dana 44, ARB Air Locker, Warn full-floater conversion, 4.56 gears
Springs & Such: Alcan leaf springs and Bilstein 5150 shocks front and rear
Tires & Wheels: 285/75R16 Toyo Open Country M/T, 16X81/2 Stockton wheels
Other Stuff: Vintage Air heating and A/C system, Auto Meter gauges, Warn 9.5ti winch, Woody's front and rear bumpers, boxed frame, B&M shifter, custom rollcage, custom aluminum radiator, custom steel fuel tank