This Jeep May Look Rusty, But It’s a Gem Underneath
There’s an essential difference between something rusty, and something that has “patina.” Structural rust is never desirable, but the distressed look of patina is harder to find. For cars, it’s a badge of honor, and one earned after countless years under the relentless sun. This 1962 Jeep Fleetvan may look rusty, beaten, and forlorn, but a look beyond its weathered skin will reveal a workhorse prepped for a second life of cargo duty. The not-often-seen Jeep step van is claimed to have spent five decades beneath the California desert sun. It has since been revitalized, and recently surfaced on eBay. RELATED: The 2015 Jeep Chief is a Throwback to the Legendary Wagoneer
Built by Willys Motors, the Jeep Fleetvan came onto the scene in 1961, and offered 1,000 pounds of payload-hauling prowess in two step van variants—a short FJ-3 and a longer bodied FJ-3A. The U.S. Postal Service would go on to order hundreds of FJ-3 Fleetvans in right-hand-drive. The left-hand-drive FJ-3A is said to be a rarer bird, which makes this one all the more interesting.
According to this Fleetvan’s owner, the Jeep was found sitting in a field, where it had remained for decades. They scooped it up and began restoring it, but instead of wiping away all those years of sunburn, they sanded and sealed the van’s exterior patina with a clear coat. Aside from the chromed wheels, bumper, and grille, one wouldn’t immediately realize this Jeep to be a runner and a driver.
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Underneath the hood is the Fleetvan’s original 72-hp Hurricane four-cylinder engine, which has been rebuilt and dressed with a new wiring harness, fuel lines, belts, hoses, and rebuilt carburetor. New brakes, a re-cored radiator, and fresh clutch add to the Jeep’s build sheet, and despite that rough appearance, the van is said to sport only 20 miles since its completion.
The patinated look isn’t for everyone…but on what is essentially a full-functioning work van, it sure is a fine departure from the norm.
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