The truck in the movie Tremors is a Jeep J-series pickup. While we don’t have an exact model year for the truck, you can tell by looking at the grill that it is from the Gladiator series.
The Gladiator, produced between 1962 and 1971, is based on the Jeep Wagoneer platform. The J-series could be either a short or long wheelbase model. The short wheelbase designation was J200 or J2000, while the long wheelbase were designated as J300, J3000, or J4000. The Gladiator can be bought with either RWD or 4WD and could have a payload capacity of nearly two tons. Early on, the base engine was an overhead cam Jeep Tornado 230 cu.in. straight-six that offered 140 hp. The Gladiator features the industry’s first automatic transmission in a 4WD truck. Options include power brakes, power steering, and a PTO for snow plows, push plates, etc.
By 1965 the base engine was a 232 cu in inline six, but an optional 327 cu in V8 producing 250 hp and 340 lb-ft of torque at 2600 rpm was available. Starting in 1968, buyers could opt for a 350 cu in offering 230 hp, eventually that engine option was replaced by a 360 cu in and a 401 cu in. In 1971, Jeep redesigned the Gladiator, completely changing the front end (that’s how we know the truck in Tremors is a Gladiator not a Jeep Truck).
Apparently, Jeep’s parent company at the time wanted people to think reviving a truck was on their mind, so they created a Gladiator concept for the 2005 auto show circuit. The Gladiator concept is powered by a 2.8lL four-cylinder turbo diesel capable of producing 165 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Additional features included an expandable bed, a six-speed manual transmission, and a payload of 1,500 pounds.
The trucks used in the movie were ”as is”, meaning that they were not modified in any significant way. The biggest challenge the crew faced was finding multiple running trucks. By the time Tremors 2 was filmed, the Gladiator was so hard to find that the crew had to buy three non-functioning trucks: two for the film and a third to get enough parts to get the other two running.
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