Immaculate 1972 Jeepster Commando Powered by a Cummins R2.8 Diesel Engine
An exploration rig and calling card for biodiesel
It's not often that you run across a 1972 Jeepster Commando that's clean and unmolested, and it's even more rare to see one powered by a diesel engine. Don Scott's Jeepster is definitely one of a kind, an there's an interesting story behind both its build and its purpose.
Don Scott works at a non-profit dedicated to promoting the benefits of biodiesel. If you're not familiar with it, biodiesel a renewable energy resource that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, among other thing. Beyond being a number-cruncher and statistician, however, Don is also a classic Jeep enthusiast with a lifelong desire to explore the world. Often those explorations are off the beaten path and require four-wheel drive, but anyone can run around the world in a regular old JK. Bucking the trend for late-model taste and comfort, Don chose instead to combine his interests classic Jeeps, exploration, and diesel engines, into something that could benefit all of them. This immaculate 1972 Jeepster is the result.
Don reported that the Jeepster had just 1,200 miles on it when it arrived at check-in day for Dirt 'N Drive in Farmington, New Mexico, because that's how far he had to drive it from his home in Missouri after completing the build. Despite paint that was barely cured and virtually everything about the Jeep being untested, Don reported that the initial "test drive" was as successful as his subsequent days on DND. Powered by a Cummins R2.8 engine, Don was able to utilize biodiesel purchased at various fuel stations along the way, netting an impressive overal1 27 mpg. He also reports that the Cummins engine offers 10 percent more horsepower and 25 percent more torque than the original AMC V-8, which was rated at a mere 11.4 mpg. The Cummins R2.8 received no modifications to run on biodiesel, and Don has logged a subsequent 9,000 trouble-free miles across 13 states behind the wheel of the classic Jeepster.
Using diesel technology makes sense with just about any classic 4x4, but Cummins fans had slim choices of either the 4BT or the 6BT until the R2.8 was released. The mechanically injected engines are as reliable as a hammer and can run on just about anything that is vaguely diesel-related, but the refined fuel delivery and electronic systems of common-rail technology make some question its compatibility with alternative fuels like biodiesel. Don's little Jeepster is proof positive that modern technology is compatible with alternative fuel sources, and best of all, he gets to keep exploring to further drive the point home. Magazine editors are sometimes accused of having the best jobs in the world, but we'd be willing to bet Don might actually have that accolade all figured out.
Vehicle: 1972 Jeepster Commando
Engine: Cummins R2.8
Transfer Case: Dana 300
Axles: Dana 30, 3.73, open (front); Dana 44, 3.73, Detroit Truetrac (rear)
Tires: 235/85-R16 BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2
Other Stuff: Fully restored interior, Quickdraw Brands bellhousing, front disc brake conversion, built to be a test mule for the compatibility of biodiesel with common rail technology