“Jeep will always be a popular brand but to see something that is a classic Jeep, that is rare,” the owner said smiling. “Nobody thinks of a Jeep being a classic car but it is.”
“We find that older people like it and young kids,” the owner said. The Jeepster was introduced about the same time as the Ford Bronco, and the two vehicles completed with each other for popularity, she said.
Most common comments? “What is that?” and “That’s awesome!”
The vehicle has no airbags, no shoulder harness on the seatbelt and you can’t turn it on a dime because there’s no power steering. You MUST learn how to drive an old car.
The owners, who live in Palm Beach County, don’t drive it on Interstate-95. Instead, they run it up and down Federal Highway or Congress Avenue. It’s maneuverability is limited.
Rare Jeepster was Manufactured for Limited Time
According to Wikipedia, the Jeepster was originally manufactured by Willys-Overland Motors from 1948 to 1950. It was developed in hopes of filling a gap in the company’s product line, crossing over from their “utilitarian” photo SUVs and trucks to the passenger automobile market. A total of almost 20,0000 were built, Wikipedia said.
“The basic model included numerous deluxe features and interior fittings in addition to a high level of standard equipment that cost extra on other automobiles,” Wikipedia noted.
The Jeepster was revived in 1966 on a new model the C-101 Jeepster Commando. American Motors (AMC) Willys-Overland’s successor, moved Jeepster from the name for 1972, ending production after 1973.
The March Cars and Coffee event marked the Jeepster’s second appearance at the show. The vehicle had been in the shop for months getting body work done due to neglect. It had previously been parked for nine years on the lot of a car dealership, exposed to the elements.
“She was restored at a collision shop. There was a lot of rust. They took out a lot of badly patched rust and welded in steel panels,” her owner explained. “It’s seamless. You can’t even tell where they did it.”
Variety that includes unique old cars like the Jeepster is one reason why so many car enthusiasts pack the Cars and Coffee Palm Beach car show every month.
Car Show’s Lure is Variety that Offers Mild to Wild
Attendees are likely to see everything from a $3.8 million 2018 Bugatti Chiron to a mud-spattered 1997 Jeep Cherokee that draws crowds every time it pulls in. Those who frequent the show know they will see exotics like McClarens and Lamborghinis as well as muscle car classics, hopped up BMWs modified with camber wheels, or any variety of unique rides.
Cars and Coffee Palm Beach marketing manager Lana Vegosen Galati recently told Florida Fine Cars recently that attendance has reached 35,000 with as many as 3,500 cool cars on display on a busy Sunday.
“Our primary goal was to bring in spectators. Car owners will go where spectators are because then more eyes can see their ‘pride and joy.’ That has been one of the keys to our success,” she explained.
The Jeepster definitely attracted spectators, including brokers who made offers to buy the classic car on the spot.
“We were driving it home right after they got the engine started and there was a gentlemen in the passenger seat of a Mercedes who was yelling at us, ‘how much do you want?’ It was my first day driving it,” the owner laughed.
The vehicle’s dashboard has an AM radio and little else. This Jeepster was also one of the first automatics available by Jeep. The owners installed an electronic start in the vehicle to make it more driver-friendly.
“Super cool,” yelled a passing spectator.
And that’s the beauty of Cars and Coffee.
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