Gem of a Jeepster: 1969 Jeepster Commando
This 1969 Jeepster Commando is shining example of a restomod done right
There are plenty of great reasons to find that old Jeep you've always wanted and build it, or restore it, or do a restomod. Our favorite restomods are neatly done and never overcomplicated, and they have appropriate powertrain and suspension choices that create an authentic, classic driving experience with a touch of modern technology. Building that Jeep with a family member can make the time spent and final result all the more memorable. That's exactly what we found in Mike Tertany's 1969 Jeepster Commando. Built with the help of his son Troy, the Commando is a unique vehicle that is just plain fun to drive.
Mike's Jeepster is powered by the original Dauntless 225ci V-6, rebuilt and updated with an Offenhauser intake manifold, Holley fuel injection, HEI ignition, and a MagnaFlow exhaust system. A TH400 automatic and Dana 20 transfer case with a double shifter setup feed the torque through custom Tom Wood's drivehafts to a Dana 30 front and Dana 44 rear. Those axles came with 3.73 gears from Troy's '73 Jeep Commando project build. A power brake conversion boosts the front disc and rear drum system.
Riding on a set of custom 3-inch-lift leaf springs, Bilstein shocks, and 30-inch BFGoodrich KO2s, the Commando also had some chassis mods done for the power Saginaw steering conversion with help from Castle Fab in Minden, Nevada. The body was in near-perfect shape when it was cleaned up and painted with POR-15 Matte Clear Coat, making sure the faded and slightly scuffed original Spruce Tip Green coat was protected for many years to come from the further ravages of time. Original body trim is complemented with modern and unique trim pieces from Troy's custom vehicle company, RoamR, and a Warn Anniversary 8274 winch perched on the front bumper evokes the rig's restomod vibe.
A squared away and neatly tucked interior with reupholstered seats done in distressed brown custom leather from Relicate Leather, leather-wrapped door cards to match the seats, a rack of Dakota Digital gauges front and center of the steering wheel, and a vintage "necker knob" were the first things we noticed once inside. A Vintage Air air-conditioning unit to keep it cool on hot days, custom gauges, and a full array of Switch Pros electrical auxiliary system switches built into in the center shifter control make the Jeepster easier to live with on the trail or highway. The rollcage was installed by the Commando's previous owner and was in good shape, so was left in; both the rollcage and the entire inside of the body were Rhino Lined before all the niceties you see were installed.
The 1969 Jeepster Commando Mike and Troy built is a sort of time capsule, a classic with a dash of modern to spice it up. As with all projects, there are lessons to be learned. Mike told us that the key to success for this father/son build was "starting with a clean and rust-free vehicle, having a vision of the end product, looking for advice and help when needed, and having lots of time and patience." Good advice. Their '69 Commando restomod was well executed, it looks authentic, and it's ready to take on dirt roads, mild trails, and the open road.
Vehicle: 1969 Jeepster Commando
Engine: Dauntless 225ci V-6
Transmission: TH400 automatic
Transfer Case: Jeep Model 20
Suspension: Custom 3-inch-lift leaf springs, Bilstein shocks, Rough Country steering stabilizer, custom Saginaw steering box conversion
Axles: Dana 30 front and Dana 44 rear axles from '73 Commando w/ 3.73 gears
Wheels: 15-inch stock re-powdercoated white
Tires: 30x9.50R15LT BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2