Still, owners of the 1 ¼-ton military version of the ‘60s Jeep Gladiator have a treasure trove of parts at their disposal. The 231ci “Tornado” six-cylinder is a bit of an odd bird, as are the 24-volt electrics (two 12V batteries in series) which in this application turn zero volts at present, but the T-98 four-speed, NP 200 transfer case, and Dana 60 front and full-floater 70 rear axles are all time-tested and extremely stout. Ultra-low 5.87:1 gears keep top road speeds down to around 55 mph, or about 55 mph faster than its current top speed. Military rubber was a no-doubt-extremely-stiff eight-ply 9.00-16, but the original donuts have been replaced here with a nice set of BFG Mud-Terrain KMs on 16-inch Trailready beadlocks. Since the vehicle hasn’t been driven since last spring, tread wear has been minimal, though one imagines a bit of flat-spotting may be the wages of indolence in the future. Up front sits a Warn 16.5ti winch, though its primary benefit at present would appear to be improved weight distribution rather than retrieval. We’re plenty jealous all the same, though---only some 30,000 of these things were ever built from 1967 to ‘69, so they’re quite collectible---and based on our own experience, they’re extremely wheelable in stock trim, with little modification needed. And with a base curb weight of 5,200 pounds, they make decent boat anchors, too.
Thick, heavy spring packs locate the Dana 60 front. If rust never sleeps, this truck’s got a bad case of insomnia.
This Kaiser still sports the original hatchet/pickaxe combo on the left rear quarter---great for chopping firewood or hacking through dense foliage, the kinds of obstacles we encounter all the time along Wilshire Blvd.