Looking to get behind the wheel of a wild 4×4 ride with maximum visual impact? Look no further
Imagine the double takes you’ll get when you’re seen coming over the horizon in this 1968 Jeep M715 Restomod. Its niche is all about transforming a vintage Jeep truck into a no holds barred, one of a kind creation, and with a surprisingly comfortable interior, an ever-reliable 6.0L Vortec V8 powertrain mated to a modern 4-speed automatic transmission, and a beefed-up custom suspension, this uber-unique Military Jeep (if you can still call it that) delivers as one of the coolest vintage haulers that we’ve ever seen.
Starting life as a Kaiser-Jeep G-890 1 ¼-ton truck (based on the Jeep Gladiator SJ production truck) back in 1968, this big mauler was tabbed at the Toledo, Ohio factory to go into military service for the United States in our ‘M-Series’ armed-services vehicle program. Most of you have seen the M-Series Jeep CJs, the Chevrolet K5 Blazers, and the vaunted HUMVEEs, but not many are aware of these Jeep trucks that were sent to the corners of the world to spread democracy, most notably Vietnam. That’s exactly the life of noble service this Jeep was built for, before it was converted into a tactical fire truck for the Alverno Fire Department, with a short, utility stepside bed, its imposing stance, and canvas cab roof. A few years after it retired from the fire brigade, the entire truck was frame-off restored (and we have a big book of photographs that detail the entire build), and the previous Fire Engine Red paint was replaced with that super-cool Olive Drab Green you see today. It’s a matte-style finish, but don’t confuse it with some bumpy rhino-liner that looks like it was applied with a shoe, as it’s rather smooth to the touch and uniform overall. Sure, it’s not a show-winner with miles-deep paint, but the finish is top driver-quality, and for what this truck is, anyone can forgive any minor imperfections. The overall looks captures the spirit of what a military-grade was intended to be all along, with exterior features like the big brush guard up front, the winch mounted atop that industrial front bumper right underneath, oversized fender flares over the wheels, and tough-as-nails bed that loaded to bear with off-road tolls like shovels, axes, and Jerry cans. Yeah, this sucker is Rambo on wheels. This beast also comes with aftermarket stepbars at the sides, and they were powdercoated black to match the front grille and bumpers (including the rear bumperettes), while the heavy-duty canvas roof that protects the cab is original military-spec that we are thrilled the builders left on. Out back, the multi-purpose bed is battle-ready, where it includes a hidden storage compartment up front and an interior surface that was professionally lined with black spray-in bedliner that will preserve it for decades to come.
Inside, it’s part Jeep and part infantry grunt, and just like the exterior, the completed work is super-cool and very well-executed. High-back buckets provide comfort for two with durable vinyl and cloth upholstery that’s been well-cared for since it was installed during the restoration, and a full black carpet set, a Tuffy box middle console, and tweed door panels were installed to civilize the cabin a bit, giving this rough-and-tumble fighter an air of sophistication inside. A roll cage was added as well, because quite frankly this Jeep wants to go to some very exotic places that may include a little cliff rolling, cave spelunking, waterfall diving, and general outdoor rough housing through the jungles of the world, and having that safety feature is a welcomed site. The steel dash was restored and painted to match the exterior, and in typical Jeep style all the refreshed gauges are centralized inside a single bezel, and even the aftermarket 3-spoke tilt steering wheel was painted Olive Drab to match. Other options include a 12-volt charge port in the glove box, a black Lokar shifter that manages the automatic gearbox, and shoulder seatbelts. The inside of the canvas roof is in great shape and keeps out the elements, and all the glass was resealed and is crystal clear inside the cab.
A fuel-injected 6.0L Vortec V8 sits in full view inside the compartment, swapped-in from a late-model vehicle and looking like it always belonged. The modern transplanted heart pulls all that heavy vintage livery with great aplomb, light years ahead of what the diesels from 1968 could ever dream of, and even the presentation of the Vortec engine cover and wide intake tube and K&N style coned filter for the cold-air intake system made the trip and looks great under the hood. With a modern drivetrain come modern accessories, and this soldier comes equipped with a modern alternator, heavy-duty Optima yellow-top battery, serpentine belt system, power steering and power 4-wheel disc brakes. All those great specs mean this former Gladiator is ready to hit today’s roads on a regular basis, as the power, torque, and even efficiency is up to par with trucks from today’s era. A 4L60E 4-speed automatic transmission manages smooth shifts and provides the truck with a highway-ready overdrive gear, spinning heavy duty axles fore and aft, and the soundtrack has been upgraded thanks to a stainless steel exhaust system with a throaty chambered muffler. Giant Bilstein shocks are at the corners, all the bushings look new, as do the leaf springs out back, and even a big steering stabilizer was added up front to keep this mammoth on the road. Ground clearance is epic – get ready to leap over mountains with this 4×4 monster as it sits on tough-looking 17-inch beadlock alloys wrapped in rugged 42×14.50×17 Goodyear Wrangler all-terrain tires.
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Location: Fort Worth, Texas, United States