A few years back, Jeep produced a Jeepster Concept for the 2018 Easter Safari, and it was a subtle nod to the Jeepsters of yore. This latest take on the concept is, well, less subtle: the Jeepster Beach concept is basically a modified C-101 Kaiser Jeepster Commando body dropped on top of modern 2020 Wrangler Rubicon mechanicals. It’s a restomod, sure, but it’s done with the sort of craftsmanship you can only get from a factory outfit.
And the mashup works better than you’d think … a careful use of color and texture, for example, lessens the juxtaposition of the vintage door cards with the modern dash and controls. The vintage Jeep logo on the steering wheel helps sell the whole thing, as does the bold red-and-white two-tone scheme and the low-back seats. Too bad a thinner, larger wheel wasn’t fabbed up—the modern piece looks awfully chunky in a “Jeepster.”
But a minor gripe. This thing can do things no original Jeepster Commando—a direct competitor to the O.G. Ford Bronco and International-Harvester Scout—could dream of. There’s a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder under the hood, boosted to 340 horsepower and 369 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s paired with an eight-speed automatic (which works well thematically with the original Commando’s leisure and recreation mission). Jeepster Commando owners were looking for more comfort and convenience in their four-wheeler back in the day, as they were generally agricultural-grade contraptions offering minimal amenities. Any Commando buyer, we’d think, would jump at what the Jeepster Beach has on offer.
The outside is suitably flashy, wearing a candy orange “Hazy IPA” hue straight out of the late ’60s, with a light “Zinc Oxide” strip protecting the top of the body from sunburn. The chrome trim is original, as is the promise of fun in the sun, although the body was shorted by 5 inches to fit on the Rubicon’s shorter wheelbase and the fenders were flared to fit 35-inch tires. This is perhaps the only stylistic rub with the Jeepster concept: The original body was rather flowing; adapted to the short-wheelbase Wrangler chassis, it looks a bit stubby.
Fret not, because Jeep almost certainly has no intention of dropping vintage Jeepster Commando bodies on Wrangler platforms. If you want something like this, you’ll have to own a body shop—or be able to hire one.