1973 Jeep CJ5 is a "four wheel drive billy goat"

In the words of host Bud Lindemann "In keeping with this recreational vehicle type show" Car and Track would occasionally take a vacation from the test track and head off road. That is exactly what we see in this week's 1973 Jeep CJ5 "off track" test.


If you are a regular Jalopnik weekend reader you have likely seen some of our vintage Car and Track test articles we have been running on the weekend. Usually host Bud Lindemann and his test crew are seen attempting to navigate a variety of late 1960s and early 1970s muscle and luxury cars around their test course. Many of the cars we've seen have been very well received by Car and Track, with fawning reviews to prove it. This week's Jeep CJ5 is seen flying through the air off road in the snow and ice. Maybe it's the cold weather or a sore back from too much airborne Jeeping, but Lindemann doesn't have a whole lot of nice things to say about the Jeep.

Car and Track's test Jeep was a redesigned model equipped with a 304 V8. Although the host points out the 304 is "essential to keep the Jeep competitive" with the other "four wheel drive billy goats vying for the top spot" the engine reduced fuel economy to 11 MPG. The gas guzzling V8 and the three speed manual transmission provided enough power to send the little Jeep flying through the air. Not only did Car and Track show the Jeep airborne, its ability to do so was a test consideration. According to Lindemann "Jumping seemed to be a whole lot easier on the Jeep than it was on the occupants." The host "felt that it could do this sort of thing all day long if this sort of travel turns you on." It didn't seem Lindemann wasn't among those turned on by that sort of travel.

Further reinforcing our theory that Lindemann was much more comfortable on the track than on a snowy hillside, where there are usually a few minor complaints about the test vehicle in question, Lindemann had a laundry list for the CJ5:

"There are many factors in the negative column; it starts by getting in and out, especially if there is a top on it. The vinyl top flaps and the metal cab rattles so bad you would think you are on the inside of a snare drum. Tire noise emanating through the steel floor panels is excessive, to say the least and those same floor panels get so hot that insulated boots become a necessity to avoid burning your feet. Passenger room is at a minimum plus engine noise is so loud it's guaranteed to drown out anything you might hope to pick up on the optional radio. And I won't even get into the riding characteristics. But all of these things are synonymous with Jeep and to many they spell charm."

Although the host feigns understanding of the vehicle when he points out that some are willing to "put up with all these inconveniences to enjoy your off road experiences to the fullest", there isn't a doubt in our mind that Bud Lindemann is not one of them.



Very few of the camper models are still around.