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Your Jeeps, Built Your Way, At Home

Jeepster Commando
Pete Trasborg
| Brand Manager, Jp
Posted January 1, 2012

Garage Shots

We called out for you to send us your Jeep projects that you’ve built in your garage, and you responded in a big way. Originally we thought that this story would be about complete frame-off kind of restifications. But along the way we received a lot of partial rebuilds, engine rebuilds, Jeep repowers, and so forth. We always enjoy learning about your ideas, and for this story it’s no different. This story is influenced by you—the pictures are your pictures and the words are yours as well. Except for the stuff we made up, of course.

Unfortunately, as so often happens, the submissions that had the best pictures had the least information. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and even if it isn’t, we couldn’t bring ourselves to run postage-stamp-sized pictures that were often blurry. So we picked the best images we had and filled in what holes we could. That didn’t always pan out, so enjoy the modified Hard Facts section too. If we didn’t get the info, we guessed or just made stuff up that we thought was funny.

Gas shortages, taxes, and less power output due to smog equipment signaled the sunset of the muscle car horsepower wars. All the U.S. automakers were looking for ways to boost the perceived performance of their offerings. Like some of its contemporaries, Jeep teamed up with Hurst Performance Products to create the Hurst Jeepster. It was equipped with a Dauntless V-6 engine coupled to a TH400 automatic transmission. There were a lot of Hurst-only parts that made them unique. Things like the Hurst emblems, special stripes, hood-mounted tach, hoodscoop, and aluminum slot wheels are but a few of them. There were only about 100 Hurst-edition Jeepsters made, making them exceedingly rare today.

Russell Witkop has been a Jeepster enthusiast for quite a while. When the time came for him to own his own Hurst-edition Jeepster, he wasn’t about to pay the exorbitant prices that they sometimes fetch. Besides, all the custom stuff is normally missing or needs to be redone anyway. Rather, Russell picked up a complete basket-case ’71 that originally had A/C, power steering, and power brakes and set about bringing it back to life. Maybe he found the Jeep, maybe the Jeep found him; who’s to say? What we do know is that he did a heck of a job re-creating a Hurst Jeepster, and thanks to his efforts there are now stripe kits available for those of us who want to make our own Hurst replicas.


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Hard Facts (as far as we can guess)
Vehicle: ’71 Hurst Jeepster Commando
Engine: 225ci Dauntless V-6
Transmission: TH400
Transfer Case: Dana 20
Suspension: Stock spring-under (front and rear)
Axles: Dana 27 (front); Dana 44 (rear)
Wheels: 15x7 factory slot wheel
Tires: Sporting a lot of Armor-All in that “after” shot

MB Cancer Cure
Craig Groeger of Ridgeway, Pennsylvania, sent in his amazing rescue of an old (we assume) MB. From the pictures we saw, we think he reskinned the entire exterior of the Jeep. And, having some experience with northeast rust, he probably did a fair amount of work on the interior of it as well.

Pete Trasborg met him out at the Butler, Pennsylvania, Bantam Festival, and Craig had just painted the Jeep—as in it was painted the Saturday before the show. Naturally, the paint was still pristine when Pete saw it, but we are sure that by now it has at least a bit of custom pinstriping.


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Hard Facts (as far as we suppose)
Vehicle: Willys MB
Engine: Yep, there is one under that hood
Transmission: Manual (as it should be)
Transfer Case: Got one of them, too
Suspension: Spring-under with heavy-duty aftermarket shackles (front and rear)
Axles: Unknown, but the rear one has discs and what appear to be cast GM-style U-bolt plates
Wheels: Old-school Jackman with custom beadlock
Tires: Interco Irok

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