1978 Jeep J-10 Pickup

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The original owner owned a 100 acre farm in Henniker, NH.

He ordered it on November 18, 1977 and paid $8,673.00. It was delivered on January 23, 1978.

He would drive the truck sparingly between May and October each year when the weather was good. He used it around his farm and would store it in a barn during the winter.

It has 2,440 original miles.

The owner splurged and bought the Levi denim interior option.


  • Optional Levi fabric interior
  • Automatic transmission
  • 360 cubic inch V8 engine
  • Optional brush guard and light bar
Manufacturer Jeep
Production 135,721 built
Engine Options 258 cubic inch, 112 hp & 210 ft./lbs. torque
360 cubic inch, 175 hp & 245 ft./lbs. torque
401 cubic inch, 225 hp & 320 ft./lbs. torque
Transmission Options TH400 & A727 Torqueflight automatic, T-15A & T-18 manual
Transfer Case Dana 20, NP208, Quadra-Trac BW-1305 & BW-1339
Rear Axle Dana 44, Dana 60
Front Axle Dana 44
Wheelbase 118.7 in., 130.7 in.
Length 204.5 in.
Width 78.9 in.
Height 69.1 in.
Curb Weight 5,200 lbs.

Closer Look

Jurassic Jeep- The Last Dinosaur

by Jim Allen

In the late 1970s, Jeep was doing pretty well in a growing light truck and SUV market, but its parent company, AMC, was ailing and Jeep profits were being siphoned off. The AMC acquisition of Jeep from Kaiser had been an initial boon to both companies, whose merger created a well-rounded auto manufacturer with irons in every fire of the American auto market. Jeep was well placed to capitalize on AMC’s large dealer organization, mainstream market share, and energetic marketing department. Unfortunately, AMC’s financial difficulties began to drag everything down.

Though Jeep sales were good, they weren’t getting the development and marketing money to remain a leader in a market segment that was growing by leaps and bounds. The great line up of vehicles began falling behind the curve and some parts of it were beginning to wither on the vine, the pickup line most of all.

By the time 1978 rolled around, more problems were afoot. New emissions regulations had sent all the manufacturers scrambling to comply, but there were new legislative wrinkles as well. In the face of two gas crunches, the federal government -mandated Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. These required auto manufacturers to average the fuel economy across their entire model lineup (based on new testing standards from the government) and meet a minimum averaged standard. It had begun with passenger cars for the 1978 model year and would apply to light trucks, under 8,500 lbs. GVW, for 1979. The immediate impact of CAFE would force the manufacturers to cull their least fuel-efficient vehicles. The result was to render American big-inch V8s nearly extinct and limit engine choices in the full size Jeep line.

It isn’t clear how many Jeep truck and big SUV customers knew 1978 would be their last shot at a big-block, but they could choose from four engines that year. The base for the half-tons was a 258 six, newly upgraded with a 2-barrel carburetor. Next up was the 360 2-barrel, which was the only engine available in smoggy California and was also the base engine for the three-quarter-ton J-20 line. A 4-barrel version of the 360 upped the power from 175 to 195 hp. The top dog was a 401 4-barrel that made 215 hp and 320 lbs-ft of torque.

For the trucks, this well-rounded engine lineup was backed by an equally well-rounded geartrain. The base 3-speed T-15A was standard for the 258 six and the 360 V8 2-barrel. The standard transmission for the 360 4-barrel was a 4-speed wide ratio T-18, which was also optional for all engines, except the 401. The AMC big-block came only with the super-burly TH-400 automatic. The automatic was optional for all engines, but only with the full-time four-wheel drive system called Quadra-Trac. Quadra-Trac was the earliest chain drive transfer case and came standard as a single speed unit. Optional (for about $160 more) was a 2-speed version with low range. All manual transmissions were mated to a Dana 20 part-time, gear driven transfer case.

The Quadra-Trac transfer case (designated as BW-1305 for the single speed and BW-1339 with a low range) was built by Borg Warner and had debuted in 1973 as part of a growing industry trend towards full-time four-wheel drive. It was certainly user friendly and nearly seamless. The single speed unit had no controls at all, except for a knob in the glove box that engaged “Emergency Drive,” which locked the center differential in the transfer case for a 50/50 torque split. Otherwise, the system simply “worked.” The BW-1339 unit with low-range had an unobtrusive lever that (barely) projected from under the seat. The low-range unit was a separate piece that bolted to the back end of the transfer case, so it could be added at a later date.

Despite its decently low 2.57:1 low-range, Quadra-Trac was not a system for hard-core four-wheeling, but that was not its downfall in the market of the day. Like all fulltime four-wheel drive systems then, it debuted just as the gas crunch started. At that time, anything costing 2+ mpg was not looked upon with favor. It lasted through 1979, after which a more mpg-friendly full-time system debuted.

The 1978 Jeep J-Series trucks came in two basic models, with several divisions within each. The J-10s were in the half-ton line, with a 6,200 lbs. GVW and two wheelbase choices; 118.7 inches (Model 25) and 130.7 inches (Model 45). The J-20 was the three-quarter ton line that came only on the 131 inch wheelbase (Model 46) but had three GVW options, 6,800, 7,600 and 8,400 pounds. Yep, the J-Series truck lines had shrunk since the Kaiser and early AMC days, when they were available with 23 configuration choices, including duallies.

As for trim levels, buyers had a great number of options. The two main ones were Base and Custom. Custom got you bright trim and a chrome front bumper along with extra sound deadening material, engine-turned look instrument cluster trim, the Deluxe “Soft Feel” vinyl seats and padded door panels with bright trim. Custom didn’t include carpet, which you could order separately or came standard in some of the other packages.

The base Lexington vinyl bench seat had Western themed striping that came in three colors, tan, blue or black, with a few restrictions according to exterior color. The Soft-Feel Vinyl was also a bench seat but with pleats and a lot more padding. Optional (included in some packages) was the Wellington Vinyl bucket seats with an optional center armrest. The legendary Jeep Levis Interior was still a pretty new thing in ’78 and was an option for the trucks in two colors, blue or beige (again with some restrictions due to exterior color) and in bench or bucket configuration. The Levis fabric was an option in anything with Custom trim or above.

Some sporty packages were available for the short-wheelbase (Model 25) half-tons, including the 10-4, Honcho, and the Golden Eagle packages. The 10-4 Package included the “big” 10-15 Goodyear Tracker A-T tires on red-pinstriped 15×8 white spoke wheels, “10-4” graphics, roll bar, rear step bumper and in 10 of the available 14 colors.

The Honcho had debuted in 1976 as the pickup companion to the broad-shouldered Cherokee Chief SUV. It included most of the Custom trim level items but mounted the 10-15 tire and wheel package. On the outside, it had the lurid Honcho side appliqué, chrome front bumper and a standard painted rear step bumper. The 1978 Honcho Package could be ordered in eleven of the fourteen available Jeep colors. On the inside, the Levis bench seat interior was standard with Levis buckets or optional Wellington bucket seats. The Honcho also came with the carpet option and a sport steering wheel. Power steering was a required option due to the wide tires.

The Golden Eagle was the most lurid package for the Jeep truck. It had extensive graphics that included a giant eagle across the hood and gold accent colors on the body. It had the big Goodyears on 15×8 wheels but they were gold with black accents. It had the basic Custom trim level stuff and painted rear step bumper, but included a light bar, with two driving lights mounted on top, and a front grille guard. On the inside, you could get either the beige Levis or Wellington bucket seats. Tan carpets were included as was the Sport steering wheel. The Golden Eagle Package was restricted to seven colors, Alpine White, Classic Black, Loden Green, Oakleaf Brown, Sand Tan, Mocha Brown Metallic or Golden Ginger Metallic.

Ala carte options for all the J-series trucks included the light bar and brush guard, rear step bumper, outside passenger mirror, or dual low profile mirrors. The chrome front bumper was an option along with nifty bumper guards. Besides the Tracker A-T, white spoke wheel package (J-10 only), a set of chrome plated 7-inch spokers was an option for the standard size tires (again J-10 only). A sliding rear window was optional and Jeep offered an aluminum Cargo Cap for trucks with the 8-foot bed only.

When it comes to comfort and convenience, cruise control was optional, as well as tilt steering, tinted glass, air conditioning, power steering and five sound system choices. The bottom level was a standard AM radio, but next up was an AM radio with a built-in 40 channel CB. An AM/FM stereo radio was a very commonly ordered option. An AM/FM stereo with an 8-track, speaker controls and door mounted speaker was the audiophile’s choice. New for ’78 was an AM/FM with a 40 channel CB and door mounted speakers.

Functionality options including locking hubs (automatic or manual) for the part-time trucks, a fuel tank skid plate, a Trac-Lok rear limited slip (not available with Quadra-Trac), heavy duty alternator and battery (63 amp alternator with 70 amp/hour battery), Extra Duty Cooling (bigger radiator, fan shroud, coolant recovery system and a larger fan with some engines) and heavy duty springs and shocks. A Snow-Boss snowplow package was a dealer installed item (requiring HD springs) ,but the Cold Climate Group was factory installed and included a block heater in addition to the big alternator and battery.

The Omix-ADA J-10 is a 1978 Model 45 long-wheelbase truck purchased by a New Hampshire farmer from Grappone Jeep in Concord. It was delivered on January 23, 1978, for the princely sum of $8,673. Base price for the Model 45 was $5,517. Options included the 360ci V8 4-barrel ($300), automatic with Quadtra-Trac and low range ($511), the Custom trim package ($95), power steering ($212), heavy-duty springs ($90), heavy-duty shocks ($25), front stabilizer bar ($29), fuel tank skidplate ($48), rear step bumper ($70), roll bar ($105), brush guard ($69), sliding rear window ($79), air conditioning ($557), tinted glass ($32), light group ($27), convenience group ($83), AM/FM stereo ($229), front bumper guards ($32) and HR-78-15 steel belted radial tires ($205). The only hint of snazziness was the Levis interior with buckets and the center armrest ($75).

The original owner drove the truck very little and only between May and October. From the time of his purchase to the day he sold it in 2011, the truck acquired only 2,216 miles, mainly hauling trash and making occasional trips into town. The truck was purchased in November of 2014 for the Omix-ADA Jeep Collection with 2,437 original miles. The Pewter Grey Metallic paint (Code J-1) is mostly original, a few minor paint repairs having been made over the years. The interior is totally original. It also has the original equipment 6 x15” steel wheels and H78-15 Suburbanite Polyglas tires.

This ’78 J-10 represents the last of the “glory years” of the Jeep pickups. In the years after this one was built, they became less and less a priority when upgrade budgets were allotted. It could be said that the Jeep trucks were left to wither on the vine as the big money went to develop the new XJ Cherokee and MJ compact pickup derivative. The J-Series Jeep trucks were last built in late ’87 as ‘88 models, just after the Chrysler buyout of AMC and before the discontinuance of the J-trucks. The Jeep trucks were redundant at that point, considering Chrysler’s line of full-sized Dodge trucks. Just a few hundred ‘88 models were built.

A total of 4,916 Model 45 J-10 trucks were built in 1978, versus 9,167 J-10 Model 25 and 3,169 Model 46 J-20s. Sales of the J-trucks would gradually peak a little higher in ’79, but begin to seriously fall off through the ‘80s until the last were built in ’87. So ended an iconic Jeep.

The resemblance to the original ’63-70 era Gladiator is still very strong in this 1978 J-10. The “toothy” grill had debuted with the ’65.5 Wagoneer and debuted for the trucks in the 1970 model year when the Wagoneers moved on to another design.

The J-Trucks are instantly recognizable! The brush guard is a factory accessory but usually installed by the dealer.

The 8-foot bed offered 76.6 cubic feet of storage space. The smooth sided “Townside” bed had once been an option over the standard “Thriftside” step bed. The Thriftside bed disappeared after 1975, (’73 for long wheelbase) but a version of it reappeared as the Sportside in 1980. The bed mounted light bar was a $105 option and had brackets to mount driving lights. The step bumper was an option to having no rear bumper at all or an aftermarket one. You could tow up to a 3,500 lbs trailer from it.

The Levis interior was one of Jeep's most enduring and popular options. Not only was the Levis-like material very durable, it was quite stylish to boot. Especially in the denim-obsessed ‘70s and early ‘80s! The practical farmer that ordered this truck originally did not order the optional carpeting. With the Quadra-Trac, there are no levers on the floor, just a vacuum operated differential lock in the glove box and an in obtrusive low-range lever just under the seat near the center.

The Honcho for ’78 was available only on the short wheelbase Model 25. Any powertrain combo was possible with the package

The burly fella in the Jeep lineup for 1978 was the J-20 (Model 46). With a maximum GVW of 8,400 lbs, it was rated to tow up to 10,000 lbs with 3.3 axle ratios and the 401 V8. The J-20 used a full-float Dana 60.

10-4 good buddy! This was another of the J-10, Model 25 packages. It wasn't much more than a Custom with the 10-15 wheel and tire package, "10-4" decal, orange and black side accents, light bar, and rear step bumper. This one is also seen with optional bumper guards and driving lights on the light bar. The 10-4 specials are almost never seen today, leading to the belief that few were built.

The AMC V8s were a great match with the big Jeep line. The basic design had debuted in 1966, debuting in a 290 ci displacement. A 343 ci followed in '67 and a 390 in '68. From '70 they had been upgraded and were offered in 304, 360 and 401 cubic inch displacements. They came to the Big Jeep line in 1971. The 401 always came as a 4-barrel (except in certain International Harvester trucks) but the 360 was offered with either a 2 or a 4-barrel carb. The 304 was always a 2-barrel, but that engine wasn't offered in the trucks, except for the '71 and '72 model years. The engines were all very similar internally and many of the parts interchanged. A 360 crankshaft could be installed in a 304, for example, and a 401 crankshaft fit into a 360.Their external dimensions were all they same, so they are one of the most swappable engines ever made. In the '60s and '70s, AMC poured the coal to these engines, offering high performance versions in muscle cars and dispelling the "Old Man in a Rambler" stereotype.

  • Client: 1978 Jeep J-10 Pickup
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