Gorgeous Jeep Gladiator Is Every Project Garage’s Desire

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1965 Jeep J300 Gladiator Front Corner

Sure, it has a sacrilegious Chevy 350 motor in it but this classic pickup is still an absolute bombshell.

While flipping through the listings on the Mecum website for their upcoming Las Vegas auction later this month, we came across this 1965 Jeep J300 Gladiator pickup. This truck appears to have been partially restored with a sharp exterior, a clean interior and a Chevrolet drivetrain. While it is certainly not perfect, this classic Jeep pickup could be a great daily driver, a solid weekend off-road toy or a perfect basis for a light refresh project.

Clean, Classic Look

The truck shown here is a 1965 Jeep J300 Gladiator. The body is remarkably straight and the paint looks great in every picture, so with the lack of badges, we are inclined to believe that the exterior of this truck has been redone.

1965 Jeep Gladiator Rear

The grille, headlight trim and bumpers are all painted dark silver, as are the wheels, giving this truck a nice, classic look.

1965 Jeep Gladiator Front End

On the inside, almost everything appears to be original, with the exception of the shifter, the steering wheel and some extra gauges hanging from the middle of the dashboard. All of the original gauges, switches and buttons appear to be in place, as is the bench seat, complete with a brutally ugly seat cover that looks like throw rugs that grandma used to have in her entryway. Frankly, the interior could use some sprucing up, but the original look can and should be appreciated by many prospective buyers.

1965 Jeep Gladiator Interior

Chevrolet Power

The biggest change made from original is under the hood, as this 1965 Jeep Gladiator is powered by a 1988 Chevrolet 350-cubic inch V8. This engine features modern fuel injection and headers, so it likely packs far more power than the stock mill. That power is sent to all four wheels by means of a General Motors Turbo 400 automatic transmission and 3.70 gears, with a Detroit Locker rear differential.

1965 Jeep Gladiator Engine

Other features of this bright yellow Gladiator include an aluminum radiator, power brakes, power steering and the aforementioned B&M shifter.

Really, while this engine provides better power, the engine bay is ugly, serving as the biggest roadblock for this classic Jeep in being a great show vehicle.

1965 Jeep J300 Gladiator Side

However, clean up the engine bay, dress up the interior and finish the exterior and this 1965 Jeep Gladiator would be a great showpiece. In the meantime, it will be a great driver for whoever wins the auction later this month.

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"Before I was old enough to walk, my dad was taking me to various types of racing events, from local drag racing to the Daytona 500," says Patrick Rall, a lifetime automotive expert, diehard Dodge fan, and respected auto journalist for over 10 years. "He owned a repair shop and had a variety of performance cars when I was young, but by the time I was 16, he was ready to build me my first drag car – a 1983 Dodge Mirada that ran low 12s. I spent 10 years traveling around the country, racing with my dad by my side. While we live in different areas of the country, my dad still drag races at 80 years old in the car that he built when I was 16 while I race other vehicles, including my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and my 1972 Dodge Demon 340.

"Although I went to college for accounting, my time in my dad’s shop growing up allowed me the knowledge to spend time working as a mechanic before getting my accounting degree, at which point I worked in the office of a dealership group. While I was working in the accounting world, I continued racing and taking pictures of cars at the track. Over time, I began showing off those pictures online and that led to my writing.

"Ten years ago, I left the accounting world to become a full-time automotive writer and I am living proof that if you love what you do, you will never “work” a day in your life," adds Rall, who has clocked in time as an auto mechanic, longtime drag racer and now automotive journalist who contributes to nearly a dozen popular auto websites dedicated to fellow enthusiasts.

"I love covering the automotive industry and everything involved with the job. I was fortunate to turn my love of the automotive world into a hobby that led to an exciting career, with my past of working as a mechanic and as an accountant in the automotive world provides me with a unique perspective of the industry.

"My experience drag racing for more than 20 years coupled with a newfound interest in road racing over the past decade allows me to push performance cars to their limit, while my role as a horse stable manager gives me vast experience towing and hauling with all of the newest trucks on the market today.

"Being based on Detroit," says Rall, "I never miss the North American International Auto Show, the Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Nights, along with spending plenty of time raising hell on Detroit's Woodward Avenue with the best muscle car crowd in the world.

Rall can be contacted at [email protected]

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