THE CAR AND ITS OWNER: 1973 Jeep Commando owned by James Bohuslaw
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING: In the days before well-appointed SUVs and crossovers took the car market by storm, Americans who wanted beefy rides and power to all four wheels usually opted for Chevrolet’s Blazer, Ford’s Bronco, International Harvester’s Scout, Toyota’s Land Cruiser or Jeep’s Commando. Today, all are collectible to one degree or another, (especially the rare 1971 Commando factory-modified by Hurst Performance). First offered in 1966 as the “Jeepster” Commando by the company then known as Kaiser-Jeep, this slab-sided vehicle was built from 1970 to 1973 by successor American Motors, or AMC, which was later absorbed into Chrysler. It would be replaced in 1974 by the full-sized Jeep Cherokee, which was based on AMC’s Wagoneer model. Bohuslaw’s ride, with more than 63,000 documented miles, features standard air conditioning, which, he says, “makes for a comfortable ride in the summer heat.” It is powered by AMC’s venerable 304-cubic-inch V-8. “When AMC took over,” he adds, “they lengthened the front end to accommodate their engines. They revised the front grille to give it a new appearance to boost sales for 1972 and 1973. Total sales these two years were about 23,000 vehicles.”
HOW LONG HE’S OWNED IT: Since 2013
WHERE HE FOUND IT: He bought it online from an Arizona owner.
CONDITION: “The original owner repainted it in 1995 and then sold it to his friend, who restored the interior,” Bohuslaw says. “When I bought it in 2013, I detailed the engine compartment and found the correct NOS (new-old stock) decals and emblems to make it period-correct.”
TIPS FOR OWNERS: “It’s best to try and find a Western vehicle, where they don’t use road salt,” he advises. “This vehicle spent its whole life in Arizona.”
VALUE: Bohuslaw has had the Jeep appraised for $13,000.
THE BOTTOM LINE: “I have restored five Jeep Commandos over the years,” he says. “They drive well and have plenty of power.”