V.I.S.I.T: When is a Geep not a Jeep? Always.

Jago1

In the 70s and 80s the legendary Jeep CJ was in short supply on my claustrophobic little group of islands. Those who wanted one couldn’t afford to buy or run one and probably couldn’t find one either, and those could afford one bought something else instead.

But those who couldn’t afford one, or were determined to make the process of acquiring their new car as drawn out as they could, had another choice. They could buy a box of bits from which to build something that looked a bit like a Jeep CJ.

And that’s what we have here. The Jago Geep.

The Geep by Geoff Jago Custom Automotive first appeared in 1971 and went on, under various identities, until 1997. It used a box-section chassis of none-to-complicated design slung underneath a fibreglass tub, onto which were attached the body panels you see before you. Yes, we’re talking kit-car.

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After acquiring the kit our master craftsman, Sunday tinkerer or over-ambitious spanner-wielding lunatic would venture to his local scrapyard and procure a rusty but mechanically passable MkI or MkII Ford Escort; nurse it home before it disintegrated altogether, and then set about transferring the major units from one hopeless pile of garbage to the next. Eventually he would, depending on skill level, end up with either a slightly myopic interpretation of the original Jeep CJ; a crudely-assembled death trap or an incomplete project gathering moss and awaiting a gullible purchaser, drawn in by the promise of a “99% finished” Jago.

This one was evidently finished and successfully registered on the traditional Q-plate which denotes a car that started out life as something completely different. It’s clearly seen better days and hasn’t had stupid amounts of money lavished on it like certain other examples of the breed; which have often sprouted expensive wheels and tyres, wheelarch extensions and huge banks of spotlights. There is, though, a gently rusting front bumper and a spare wheel that looks like it’s stored in the sea overnight.

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The Escort oily bits underneath means that off-road ability isn’t strong, with rear-wheel drive only. It also usually means a 1300cc or 1600cc Kent crossflow, or a 1600 or 2000cc Pinto from a Cortina or Sierra. There were no rules, though; if it fitted, it went in. There were probably several of these built that were grossly overpowered for their prosaic underpinnings. Sounds fun. You may also be able to make out the top section of a MkII Escort dashboard through the window, too. Actually, you probably can’t as it’s a terrible photo.

 I must admit, the prospect of one of these holds a certain amount of intrigue; with a simple mechanical package that could probably respond well to certain popular upgrades combined with a rust-free bodyshell, there’s a lot of potential fun to be had here. The main issue has to be that, if you buy one of these second-hand, you have absolutely no idea what cretin nailed it together. Due to MkI and MkII Escorts being worth stratospheric values these days, I doubt any more will ever be built and the last time I saw one of these at a show it went under the name Sandero (yes, like the Dacia) and had Land-Rover runnng gear, which is probably quite fun, too.

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About RoadworkUK

RoadworkUK is the online persona of Gianni Hirsch, a tall, awkward gentleman with a home office full of gently decomposing paper and a garage full of worthless scrap metal. He lives in the village of Moistly, which is a safe distance from London and is surrounded by enough water and scenery to be interesting. In another life, he has designed, sold, worked on and written about cars in exchange for small quantities of money.

11 Comments

  1. Ah! Over here we call those "Jeep DJ Dispatcher". Same build quality, but made by, um… everybody's retarded brother's automobile manufacturing facility.

  2. My young cousin in Norn Iron has one of these. We laughed and laughed when he had to get pulled out of a field by his bro-in-law's BMW X5 riding on street tires.

  3. "…transferring the major units from one hopeless pile of garbage to the next…"
    Now why does that seem so familiar to me?

    1. You read Mr. Harrell and Mr. Alff's comments? (Hey-oo! I only have one hopeless pile, and it just gets more parts added to it…)

  4. The pictures are just moderately soft-focus, like the portraits gang members have taken with their girlfriends.

  5. Landy running gear in a Jeep knock-off kit? Wow. That's some troll power. I mean, it would be fun, but it would be like swapping an LS and a G50 transmission into a Ferrari 308.

    1. Nobody should ever swap an LS into a 308! Northstar swaps however are perfectly acceptable…

  6. That looks like a tremendously horrible vehicle.
    Also, "Jago" sounds like it should be a racial slur; ironically, one uttered by the kind of guy that'd build such a vehicle.
    (yes, I know it rhymes with one)

  7. My first thought was a Mahindra but a kit car based on Ford bits is even more weird. Given the interchangeability of Ford bits, a Cologne or Essex V6 powered Geep would be easy, although probably scary.

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