A Look Back at the Jeep® Gladiator / J-Series Pickup (1963-87)


As part of our blog series highlighting all of our various models over the years (in honor of our 70th Anniversary), we’re going to have a look at the Jeep® Gladiator pickup truck.


One of the longest-lasting pickup trucks that we’ve ever made, the Gladiator debuted in 1963 and was in production until 1987 (albeit with a 1972 name change that lost the “Gladiator”, making it simply “J-Series”). The Gladiator was introduced in two configurations: the 120” J-200 and the 126” J-300. Both featured a Dana 20 transfer case and Dana 44s for both front and rear axles, and were offered with either two-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive. We also offered them with various box layouts, including the popular Thriftside narrow box and Townside wide box designs. Although it had quite a comfortable ride and interior, this was still a rugged workhorse of a vehicle, and it quickly found a home among blue-collar workers across the country.


Just a few years ago, in 2004, we introduced a Gladiator-inspired concept truck to represent the future of Jeep brand pickup trucks. We don’t know about you guys, but we think a rebirth of the Gladiator pickup would be fantastic fun.


12 Responses to “A Look Back at the Jeep® Gladiator / J-Series Pickup (1963-87)”

  1. love these trucks, I have a 79 J10 that i’m currently bringing back to life, this time as a hot rod street truck.  found it out back of a towing shop where i live and put a lot of work into it to get it running and driving (made it 2wd by putting in an AMC-pattern TF904 trans).  it’s at school right now and i’m rebuilding the original AMC 360 that was in it, found a broken pushrod, three rounded cam lobes, and a couple rounded lifters.  everything else looks good and it doesn’t need new pistons or bored, had the heads rebuilt and bought a mellings cam for it, can’t wait to get it done!  AMC built ’em RIGHT!

  2. Hey Guys (& Gals) at Jeep.
    Your ‘Nukizer’ concept vehicle is absolutely, unquestionably the most incredibly cool pickup going. Introduce that one if you really want to shake things up.

  3. So is there going to be a new Gladiator truck or not?
    I’ve heard everything from 2012 to no to who knows and we don’t know.
    Seriously, there has to be someone that can give a straight forward honest answer.

  4. There is no worthy small American pickup….. JEEP should build the Gladiator ASAP.

  5. Stephanie

    Bring it!!  I never drove a Gladiator, BUT I know what it means to have a pickup that is traditional 4WD with a manual transmission and yet be comfortable inside.  These were the Chevrolet pickups with built-up suspensions and the single color bodies with no chrome trim on it, made in the late 70s.

  6. Keith Dziedzic

    I have a 1970 Gladiator j3000 with the Buick 350 and two Dana 60’s as the stock drivetrain. I believe that article is inaccurate. 
    That thing is bulletproof though, and I would buy the new one if it was to be built!

  7. John Collins

    When you start talking about the J series of trucks, now you are talking Jeep. Had a 1977 J 20-3 back in the eighties that I used to beat the Nevada High Desret to death. Sheared off the U bolts off one side of the front axle, wired her back together with barb wire and limped the old gal back home. Tore out the rear drive shaft; that day the four wheel drive paid for its self, fifty miles though the desret. That was one tough sob. When I sold her there was gear lube in the crank case just to get some oil pressure. Wish I had her still, my Liberty isn’t half the machine that J 20 was. 

  8. Tim Christian

    I would buy a Jeep Gladiator tomorrow if they would just build it!  I saw a concept model 6 – 7 years ago and have been waiting ever since.

    Come on Jeep….just do it!

  9. Charles

    Hello fellow Jeep entusiasts. I have messed around with with Jeep CJ’s most of my life.

    I have taken a recent interest in Jeep J series trucks and am cuurently looking at a few.

    Does anyone here know of some great resources for finding factory specifications as well as information on what was available on these trucks and when. In general I’m looking for great resources for all things to do with the J series.


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