The XJ-001, a Jeep Muscle Car Concept From 1970

And it almost made it to production, too.

16w ago

By the late sixties, muscle cars had become so popular that even Jeep thought about getting in on it. Albeit not quite in the traditional way, of course.

The car, called the XJ-001, was meant to be a hybrid of Jeep and sporty car, and something that was fun to drive both on and off the road. It was fully driveable and ready for production if they decided to do so. It was built on a CJ5 chassis with lowered suspension and deep-dish chrome reverse wheels, and to make it exciting and muscular, they replaced the Hurricane four-cylinder with an AMC 360 V8. It still had manually locking hubs for four-wheel drive, though, so it kept a bit of Jeepishness in that way. The low-slung fiberglass body featured an integral shoulder-height rollbar behind the seats, and I have no idea how that’s supposed to do the passengers any good, but the windshield was also strengthened in case of a rollover, so there’s that. Although color photos of the car are rare, it appears the paint was most likely Jeep Candlelight Yellow with black stripes.

When it was unveiled at the New York auto show, it became a huge hit, and when Jeep was bought by AMC, they scheduled it to appear at several more auto shows. While it’s unclear whether there was any chance of it entering production, it wasn’t out of the question. But then tragedy struck. A van carrying the XJ-001 overturned on the way to a show and burst into flames, reducing the little muscle Jeep to ash and eliminating any chance of a production muscle Jeep (although they would later put a v8 in the CJ5).

The XJ-001 also had a sister car, the XJ-002, but that one looked less like a Jeep muscle car and more like a moon rover from a low-buck 70's sci-fi movie.

It’s too bad this neat little concept car had to meet such a horrible end, but on the bright side we did eventually see a Jeep muscle car of sorts in the form of the Trackhawk. And CJ5 chassis and 360 V8s aren’t impossible to obtain... hmmm......

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Comments (24)

  • It resembles a ride ya put a coin in so your toddler can have a go for 3 mins...

      3 months ago
  • They were capable of interesting concepts....this AMC van is kind of cool

      3 months ago
  • I have an amc 360.....

      3 months ago
  • Thank goodness the truck overturned and burned this horrid abomination. I love my Jeeps, but this is awful.

      3 months ago
    • I disagree. It wasn't practical in any way, but it was fun, and it was a different and interesting take on the muscle car/light off-roader. Not everything Jeep makes has to be a mountain goat off-road.

        3 months ago
    • It really is kind of the point with a Jeep.....and even then they have made plenty of vehicles that weren't dedicated off road machines. The patriot and first gen compass come to mind, also let's not forget the SRT GC and Trackhawk. I don't...

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        3 months ago
  • Good read, though I feel like I read this article already on Kinja. Did you copy and paste this over here (and is this the best way to preserve our posts do you think) or is this all fresh?

      3 months ago
    • Yes, this is one of my old Kinja posts. I'm no tech wizard, and can't figure out the saving methods others suggested, but I figure if I post some of these here, more people can see them and I can get new life out of old content so to speak.

        3 months ago
    • I think that's smart, I'll archive any post worth archiving and then post as if we were on DT all along. Did you just copy and paste it or did you have to remake a lot of it from scratch?

        3 months ago