It is a well know made up fact that all true jeep lovers are frustrated beatniks and hippies who would all love nothing more than trade in their jeeps for a VW Kombi. Ideally with the split windscreen. Maybe a few flowers, hand painted of course.
In 1957 Jeep, aware of the risk of losing almost all its customers to the interloper from Wolfsburg, commissioned legendary designer Brook Stevens to help them out.
Brook Stevens was no newcomer to automotive design, being responsible for such classics as the jeep Wagoneer and the 1949 Harley-Davidson Hydra Glyde, a bike so iconic that its design still influences modern Harleys.
Slightly less iconic is the kombi competitor he designed in 1957. The 'Commuter' never made it beyond the prototype stage, but despite that it was still an interesting vehicle, if a little challenged in the looks Department.
The Commuter was designed to have six doors and be capable of carrying up to 11 passengers depending on fit out. It was, of course, equipped with four wheel drive and the first prototypes were built on a FIt chassis, with later models switching to the longer Willys Station wagon underpinnings, with an F Head four banger powering it along.
The combo competitor wasn't to be, and the idea was abandoned, although parts of the design were later used in forward control Jeeps produced for military purpose.
Word by: Charles Kooij