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Old 10-31-2013, 06:05 PM   #1
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Jeepster Commando grille on a TJ

My latest project...

From 1966-1971 Jeep produced the Jeepster Commando. Four different models were available: a pickup truck, convertible, roadster and wagon. All featured a unique CJ-style grille with extensions on the sides.



I thought it would be a fun and challenging design and construction project to do a Commando front end for the TJ/LJ. The original Commando parts don't fit well on the Wrangler - the curves on the hood don't match the Wrangler tub, the hood is too short, the fenders are too short, etc., so my plan was to use a factory Commando grille and build custom fiberglass parts to integrate that grille with the styling of the TL/LJ Wrangler.

I designed a custom front clip consisting of a new hood, outer and inner fenders, and a new cowl panel. I made molds for all the parts and I've been molding them in fiberglass. Yesterday I popped the hood out of the mold, which was the last part I needed to make before I could assemble everything.







The outer fenders are CJ/Commando styled, but are slightly reshaped so that the curves of factory TJ flares look right on them. The hood is shaped to match the Wrangler tub in the back, and the Commando grille in the front. It's longer than the original Commando hood so that it's the right length for the longer TJ engine compartment.

I haven't decided if I'm going to put these parts on an actual Jeep, I don't really have a spare Jeep here to turn into a Commando .

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Old 10-31-2013, 06:06 PM   #2
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In 1971, Jeep and Hurst joined forces to create the Hurst Commando. According to most sources, only 100 were produced, making this one of the rarest Jeeps ever made. The Hurst Commando package included a hood scoop with tachometer, a Hurst shifter, a roof rack and some fancy stripes.



I also made a replica Hurst Commando hood scoop, here's a few photos of that in place:







I drew the Hurst decals on this one:


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Old 10-31-2013, 06:41 PM   #3
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In 1971, Jeep and Hurst joined forces to create the Hurst Commando. According to most sources, only 100 were produced, making this one of the rarest Jeeps ever made. The Hurst Commando package included a hood scoop with tachometer, a Hurst shifter, a roof rack and some fancy stripes. I also made a replica Hurst Commando hood scoop, here's a few photos of that in place: I drew the Hurst decals on this one:
That is absolutely awesome. I'm very impressed and forward props for imagination, innovation, attention to detail, and fit/finish.

The ram air scoop was originally from the AMC parts bin; you might recognize it from the 1970 Rebel Machine. An OE part commands thousands in the AMC world, which is something to consider. As far as I know, it has never been repopped.
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Old 10-31-2013, 07:38 PM   #4
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I'll volunteer my TJ for a Jeepster conversion! Your projects are always awesome to see evolve. Finally saw one of your safari tops on a TJ at JeepFest in Jasper, GA. Now I need to get me one.
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Old 10-31-2013, 07:54 PM   #5
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Your work is superb !I only wish I was closer to you and you could help me with a design or fab. a hood scoop , center console for my Willys wagon .
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Old 10-31-2013, 08:02 PM   #6
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There were some pics of a JK at Moab this year, sporting an old grill that I thought was really cool.

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Old 10-31-2013, 08:02 PM   #7
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You sir are a fiberglass wizard!
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Old 10-31-2013, 08:04 PM   #8
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Are you planning on doing a retro treatment to the back of the TJ as well?
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Old 10-31-2013, 08:06 PM   #9
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Your work is superb !I only wish I was closer to you and you could help me with a design or fab. a hood scoop , center console for my Willys wagon .
Thank you! The Hurst Commando scoop was a pretty straightforward project, I actually made the mold master from wood...



Once it was shaped and finished, I made a mold from the wood master.



Then I made the fiberglass scoop in that mold (at right below, the part at left is something else I was making at the same time).



The finished scoop:



And now that I've got the mold, I can easily make more.

Anyway, the woodworking was not too hard, although the fiberglass work does take a little experience to get right.
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Old 10-31-2013, 08:07 PM   #10
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There were some pics of a JK at Moab this year, sporting an old grill that I thought was really cool.

That Jeep belongs to my friend Art, we did some trails together there this year.
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Old 10-31-2013, 08:15 PM   #11
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I love it, nice glass work did you save the molds?
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Old 10-31-2013, 08:17 PM   #12
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That is absolutely awesome. I'm very impressed and forward props for imagination, innovation, attention to detail, and fit/finish.
Thank you very much!

I spent more time in the design phase than I did in construction on this one. My two main design goals were:

1. Design something that looks like what the Jeep designers might come up with if they were doing a retro Commando concept Jeep or a new version Commando for production.

2. The kit should be a complete bolt-on. No hacking on the Jeep, no modifications that can't be done with ordinary tools or can't be reversed.

I definitely accomplished #2, here's a shot of the engine compartment with all the TJ components in their stock locations, including the radiator and A/C condenser. After this test install, the fiberglass parts were removed and the factory sheet metal was reinstalled. You can decide if I accomplished #1 .



The photo above has a CJ grille, not a Commando grille, but all of the parts install the same with either grille/hood.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1979WagoneerLTD View Post
The ram air scoop was originally from the AMC parts bin; you might recognize it from the 1970 Rebel Machine. An OE part commands thousands in the AMC world, which is something to consider. As far as I know, it has never been repopped.
Really? I looked at some photos of the Rebel Machine scoop and it doesn't look exactly the same as the Commando scoop, although they are similar in that they both have a tach hump. I think the Machine scoop was wider than the Commando scoop, and it's got a vertical bar in the air intake while the Commando scoop has no bar.

But it wouldn't be too hard to reproduce the Machine scoop from scratch .

BTW I updated the Hurst scoop design... the originals just had a big cutout that went over a hood mounted tach. If you look closely at the photo at right below, you can see how the original scoop doesn't even touch the tach.



My version can be cut out that way to work with an original tach, but as molded its got the gauge panel in which two standard gauges can be mounted. Here's a few (printout) examples:



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Old 10-31-2013, 08:18 PM   #13
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I love it, nice glass work did you save the molds?
Yes, of course! . I save all of the molds for all of my projects, you never know when I'll want to make more parts in those molds...
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Old 10-31-2013, 08:22 PM   #14
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That Jeep belongs to my friend Art, we did some trails together there this year.

That's cool! Small world! That was the only pic I saw and thought it was really cool and well done. It's a shame no one is turning out the hoods and grills that Jeep has been showing off at the Easter Safari every year, like that pick-up and NU-Kizer. Anxious to see your finished project.
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Old 10-31-2013, 08:24 PM   #15
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Are you planning on doing a retro treatment to the back of the TJ as well?
Probably not, but I've done two concepts that would use these parts. The first is an "LJ Commando", which would use a custom version of my Safari Cab hardtop:



The second is a Wrangler pickup, which uses the Commando front clip, a half cab version of my Safari Cab hardtop, and a bed made from a fiberglass Jeep-tub trailer kit:



I've got most of the parts for the pickup...



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Old 10-31-2013, 08:37 PM   #16
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Probably not, but I've done two concepts that would use these parts. The first is an "LJ Commando", which would use a custom version of my Safari Cab hardtop: The second is a Wrangler pickup, which uses the Commando front clip, a half cab version of my Safari Cab hardtop, and a bed made from a fiberglass Jeep-tub trailer kit: I've got most of the parts for the pickup...
Art. Dick Teague and Brooks Stevens would be proud.

Ok, I'm gonna stop gushing long enough to say "job well done!"
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Old 11-01-2013, 02:43 PM   #17
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Mocking up some parts for the possible future TL/Commando pickup project...

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Old 11-01-2013, 03:49 PM   #18
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Love it. Friend of mine in high school had a 67 commando and I've always wanted one.
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Old 11-01-2013, 04:30 PM   #19
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Can't wait to do this to my LJ. Been pining away for another Commando since my '70 (in '78). Had a '68 a few years ago, but it was a basket-case and I didn't have the time to address all it's issues.
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Old 11-01-2013, 06:08 PM   #20
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I'm going to do the CJ version of this kit on my LJ. The CJ uses the same fenders and cowl panel as the Commando kit, just a different grille and hood. But both kits are 100% bolt-on to the TJ, no mods or hacking the TJ required. Here's a comparison:





Here's a few photos of the test install on my LJ...





Here's a photo of the engine compartment. Everything's in the stock location, and the TJ's radiator and A/C condenser bolts right up to the CJ or Commando grille with a set of brackets designed just for this purpose.

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Old 11-01-2013, 08:06 PM   #21
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I've got to ask...What kind of hard top is that on your LJ? BTW how thick did you go with the fiberglass?
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Old 11-01-2013, 08:29 PM   #22
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I've got to ask...What kind of hard top is that on your LJ?
I designed and built it.

I never really liked the design or features of the Jeep factory hardtops, so I designed this one to have the styling and features I thought a Jeep hardtop should have. I made it of fiberglass, and it's modular, so the hard side panels can be swapped out for roll-up soft sides. It's strong enough to support a roof-top tent or other heavy loads on the roof, and it's got a "barn door" that works as part of the factory tailgate to allow easy access to the cargo area.





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BTW how thick did you go with the fiberglass?
If you're asking about the Commando and CJ front clip kits, there's no single answer to that because the thickness of the fiberglass varies by the strength required. The fiberglass is hand laid, so I have the opportunity to use different types of 'glass where extra strength is required, or embedding reinforcement material in key areas. I've designed the parts to handle what I call the "225-lb. gorilla tests", shown below. I wouldn't try these tests with most commercial fiberglass (or sheet metal) Jeep parts .

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Old 11-01-2013, 09:13 PM   #23
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You sir are a fiberglass wizard, I used to do fiberglass work & I know how hard it is to just start with an idea & have a good looking finished product. I think I remember seeing pics of your hard top over on the JU forum now that I think about it. You have one of the few unique Jeeps, considering it's not stuff you can just buy out of a catalog or website.
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Old 11-01-2013, 09:22 PM   #24
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I'm going to do the CJ version of this kit on my LJ. The CJ uses the same fenders and cowl panel as the Commando kit, just a different grille and hood. But both kits are 100% bolt-on to the TJ, no mods or hacking the TJ required. Here's a comparison:

Here's a few photos of the test install on my LJ...

Here's a photo of the engine compartment. Everything's in the stock location, and the TJ's radiator and A/C condenser bolts right up to the CJ or Commando grille with a set of brackets designed just for this purpose.
A commangler!
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Old 11-01-2013, 09:26 PM   #25
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A commangler!
Or a Wrangando!


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Old 11-02-2013, 05:54 AM   #26
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You sir are a fiberglass wizard, I used to do fiberglass work & I know how hard it is to just start with an idea & have a good looking finished product. I think I remember seeing pics of your hard top over on the JU forum now that I think about it.
Thank you very much, but wizard is much too strong a word . I have spent a lot of time learning and working out the details and process of making fiberglass parts at home in my garage though, and while a lot of attention to detail is required in making the mold masters, the molds and molding the parts so that quality results are achieved, no single step is very hard. I don't think what I do is something that's out of reach for a person who's got either some bodywork or woodworking skills.

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You have one of the few unique Jeeps, considering it's not stuff you can just buy out of a catalog or website.
After you said that, I was trying think up a list of the "catalog parts" I've got on my Jeeps, and I think all I've come up with is the 2" budget boost lift kits I've got on each Jeep, and the door edge guards. Other than that, I can't think of anything

BTW I've got two Jeeps, both with custom fiberglass parts I've made myself...

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Old 11-02-2013, 06:09 AM   #27
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Send a message via Yahoo to ChaddG
subscribed... Awesome work!
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Old 11-02-2013, 07:34 AM   #28
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You truly are a fiberglass wizard and give inspiration to all of us to be more DIY oriented !
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Old 11-03-2013, 09:36 AM   #29
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The next part of this project is fiberglass flat fenders. They'll work with both the CJ Grille Kit and the Commando Grille Kit and they'll look basically like this:



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Old 11-06-2013, 06:43 PM   #30
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A couple of drawings of the flat fender design. These are shown with the CJ-hood kit, but will work with the Commando kit as well.




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