THE CAR AND ITS OWNER
1972 Jeep Commando owned by Louis Bates
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING
Well before SUVs became a suburban vehicle of choice, this Jeep was winning the hearts of families and off-roaders from 1967 through 1973. First known as the Jeepster, it was rechristened and redesigned as the Jeep Commando in 1972. "It was popular with young families, especially in areas with long winters," says Bates, who still refers to his car as a Jeepster. The Commando was offered as a pickup, roadster or wagon, but by 1974, the new Jeep Cherokee would take its place.
HOW LONG HE'S OWNED IT
WHERE HE FOUND IT
A friend sold the car to Bates because it was too tall to fit on Amtrak's Auto Train to Florida. "I own an auto repair business specializing in antique and classic cars," he says. "I had worked on this man's cars for years. I liked the Jeepster from the moment he got it."
"It only has 80,000 miles on it since 1972," he says. "It has been garaged and carefully maintained all these years."
TIPS FOR OTHER OWNERS
"Use your car and don't allow it to sit for long periods, unless carefully stored," Bates advises. "The service intervals do not apply to these vehicles. They must be serviced yearly, regardless of mileage."
He estimates the Jeep's value between $12,000 and $15,000.
"My wife and other women like to drive this car because of the excellent visibility in all directions," Bates says. "It is easy to park and has plenty of room for shopping. With four-wheel drive, it does well in snow. I often bring it to local shows in the area with other classic cars I have."