Rare, rugged Jeep J10 Honcho precursor to 2020 Gladiator

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Jeep doesn’t make a lot of pickup trucks, but for seven years beginning in 1976, a trim package called The Honcho was available. The limited-edition offered on the J10 model and only in the step side and short bed offerings included bold striping and decals.

Optional extras included an interior made by Levi’s (in blue or tan) or a roll bar. The specialty trucks also included the Golden Eagle and 10-4. The latter was offered with an optional CB radio corresponding to the radio acknowledgment decal “10-4.”

The Jeep J10 Honcho was the precursor to the 2020 Gladiator.
The Jeep J10 Honcho was the precursor to the 2020 Gladiator.

The Jeep J10 Honcho was manufactured through 1983, and it could be ordered with a combination of the specialty items. Only 1,264 examples were made. It’s not the most coveted, but it’s now often considered the rarest pickup truck ever made in the United States.

After American Motors Corporation (AMC) purchased Jeep from Kaiser Motors in 1970, the Honcho was sold as the Gladiator. They were known as the J-Series trucks.

Jeep J10 Honcho: ruggged dependibility

Jeep marketed the truck as the epitome of masculinity with this advertising poster refrain:

“Honcho” means boss. And when it comes to 4-wheel drive pickups, the Jeep Honcho is way out in front with sporty good looks, all-out performance and the rugged dependability that comes with the Jeep name.”

Jeep reintroduced the Gladiator as a 2020 model, its first pickup truck in 30 years. A Jeep dealer in Wisconsin decided to pay homage to the original Honcho with a Gladiator with look-a-like original Honcho looks.

Despite its scarcity, the original Jeep Honchos are available on well-established vintage vehicle websites.

Optional extras included an interior made by Levi’s (in blue or tan) or a roll bar. The specialty trucks also included the Golden Eagle and 10-4. The latter was offered with an optional CB radio corresponding to the radio acknowledgment decal “10-4.”

The J10 Honcho was manufactured through 1983. It could be ordered with a combination of the specialty items, and only 1,264 examples were made. It’s not the most coveted, but it’s now often considered the rarest pickup truck ever made in the United States.

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