Prior to the name being revived in 2019, Jeep produced its original Gladiator model for roughly a quarter of a century, unveiling the pickup in ’62 before finally pulling the plug on production in ’88. Though the Gladiator has grown objectively long in the tooth in terms of practically any performance metric, its appearance, charm, and character still earn it plenty of fans today. And it’s one of these fans that, in 2015, opted to pick up a tired ’69 specimen, breathing new life into the Gladiator and bestowing it with a host of contemporary componentry and upgrades in an effort to yield the best of both worlds in a hardcore off-roader with the American pickup’s iconic appearance and thoroughly modern all-terrain performance capabilities.
Powered by a refurbished Chevy 5.3L LS V-8 mated to an automatic transmission with Corvette internals, the customized J2000 features an enormous slew of off-road focused aftermarket parts including Rock Krawler Off-Road Pro steering, 4TeraFlex front and rear swaybars, and .5″ X Factor Long Arm suspension with front coilovers, a Red Neck Ram hydraulic steering assist, up-specced driveshafts, ARB differential, transmission, and transfer case vent kit, and front and rear locking differentials, TeraFlex Speedbump bump stops, and a full Artec aluminum skid plate. On top of new LED headlights and a shortened bed that now houses a set of Optima batteries, an air compressor, and a full-size spare tire, the Gladiator has also received a Dana 60 front axle and a Sterling 10.5″ full-float rear axle with Nitro gears, both of which were plucked from a 2004 Ford Super Duty. The build’s refurbished engine has also received Accel ignition coils, MagnaFlow headers and exhaust, an upgraded cooling system, amongst a slew of other parts. The exterior of the Jeep has also been hit with a custom paint job with logos of the various aftermarket brands used in the build now adorning the doors while the interior has received custom upholstery, modern instrumentation, and an aftermarket sound system.
This heavily modified and modernized 1969 Jeep J2000 Gladiator is currently on Bring a Trailer’s online auction block where, as of the time of writing, bidding has reached $45,000 with two days remaining. Located in Orange County, California, the sale includes the modified Jeep, as well as extensive documentation, receipts from the build, and several magazines that the J2000 build was featured in.