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1964 “Thriftside” Gladiator Santa Barbara, CA $13,500

• CATEGORIES: Other 4x4s

It sounds like a unique vehicle; I don’t know much about the history of these.


“This is one rare and special 4×4. This early production Gladiator is still tagged as a “Willys” not “Kaiser”. It also is equipped with the coveted “Thriftside” bed and small rear window. It is titled as a ’64 but believed to be a ’63 model.

The truck was part of the California AAA Auto Club fleet. It was not used as a tow truck, but as a service vehicle when someone needed some gas, a jump start, or a push. I was told that these AAA Jeeps were used to pull the Rose Parade floats.

It spent its life in the high desert of California and the body is easily the most solid you will ever find. Its really dry as a bone and very straight (even in the vulnerable cab corners and rockers). Has surface rust only. If you’re tired of working on rusty Jeeps, you should consider all the time and money that buying a solid California truck will save you.

This would either be a very straightforward restoration project or you could keep the beautifully aged patina and enjoy it as it is. My original plan was to restore it mechanically but leave the paint.

Features the 230 CI OHV straight 6, automatic transmission and four wheel drive, large front push bumper and heavy duty rear bumper & hitch. It has California Black plates and matching California title.

More photos available by email. This is truly a one-of-a-kind truck.”


5 Comments on “1964 “Thriftside” Gladiator Santa Barbara, CA $13,500

  1. Mike

    The “Thriftside” models were a rare sight, only remember seeing one of them back in Paterson, NJ, owned by C.J. Vanderbeck & Sons, a industrial boiler repair Co. Scheuer Motors, Jeep Dealership had it sitting on the lot for months, couldn’t sell it because of the old style box very much out of date in 1965. Years later, Orlovski Brothers Gulf Service bought it and used it only for snow plowing. As of 2 years ago, still sitting in back of the service station. Another Jeep Tales from the past.

  2. Dan B.

    That’s an awesome truck. Certainly looks like a AAA service truck, with that huge front bumper, etc. I recall a claim that the Thriftside bed was the same as on the 1946-1964 Willys trucks. It certainly looks similar, but the FSJ looks so much bigger.

  3. Dave from Mn

    I picked up a 64 thriftside this summer. Was on a road I hadn’t been on for 10 or more years only 7 miles from my house. He had picked it up a couple of years ago and parked it with his other projects. Always wanted a rhino grill truck. Even better one with a thriftside. Inspired by the movie Tremors.

  4. Blaine

    Back in October when I was in Biggs Junction, Oregon I came across a guy that was hauling one of these Thriftsides. He had just inherited from his Dad/Uncle (I don’t remember that detail now) and was on his way home from picking it up in Idaho. I took a couple pictures of it.

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