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In my search for Comanche parts I somehow stumbled on a Dodge Dakota step side…which got me thinking about building the Comanche Sportside that never existed.

 

Li’l Red Express Dakota trucks (also sold under the “Warrior” and “Warlock” names direct from the bed manufacturer) were produced by LER Industries of Edwardsburg from 1987-1992. They also sold as a dealer option for 1990-1992. The Li’l Red dealership option only seem to have been made available in MI, IN, OH, and PA – and is along the same lines at the Street Comanche, as gold dash plaques were in place numerically labeling them annually. Only the Express trucks had the stacks atop the step bed, not the Warrior or Warlock. It's estimated that there were only a few hundred made. LER Industries apparently started life in 1975 in the conversion van craze of the 70’s then moved onto RVs after that. The company doesn’t seem to be with us any longer...

 

My aim is to buy one of these and make a Comanche Sportside (similar to the J-series truck). The Dakota and MJ share similar dimensions so adapting this bed to a Comanche shouldn’t be too challenging. I can see a CJ adapted tailgate for the Jeep stamping, squared off bedside openings with either an XJ or MJ rear flare, J-series taillights, and a factory MJ step bumper to finish things off. I may go wild and do a Honcho edition, complete with adapted graphics.

 

Now the fun part begins… locating one. I know I’ve never seen one of these. This will be several years before it gets kicked off, so I though it best to post in “MJ Tech”.

 

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After looking closely, those beds looked familiar... Pretty sure those are Chevy stepside beds (77-ish) with Dakota wheel arches grafted on the Chevy fenders. Good news is, I'm pretty sure you can get a brand new stepside bed from LMC Truck. Personnally, the way I would do it is start with a Ford Ranger Splash bed. I've got a '98 as my main vehicle. the inside bed is narrower than a standard bed, and the sides are bolted-on fiberglass fenders, that I would remove. Then find used Comanche bed sides for cheap, like some with rusted out wheel openings. For the stepside fenders, I'd go with '81-ish Ford F-150 flareside fenders, which are more angular than the Chevy's and may go better with the Comanche's lines, then modifiy the wheel arches to go with Comanche rear flares. So, all easy parts to find except for the Comanche ones. First pic is an '81 F-150 Flareside, and the second is a Ranger Splash with its bedside unbolted to give you an idea...

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Lol edwardsburg is about 15 miles from where I live. Let me ask a friend of my dad. He is a engineer that worked in the van conversion and rv industry from the early 80’s to the 2010’s in Elkhart and surrounding area (Elkhart and edwardsburg is probably 5 or so miles apart). If anyone knows anything about LER industry’s it would be him. Never know someone might have one stashed away.

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Thanks for the pics, I've seen the Ranger stepside and that doesn't look quite right to me. I do think the gold MJ bed above is from a Chevy Luv...and still different. I agree the squarebox Chevy doesn't look quite right, nor does the early Ford F-series, but it's closer. I'm considering the FSJ box and or MJ correct dually flares that are floating out there. If anyone has these, ping me as I'm looking to buy. Thanks all.

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3 hours ago, Gjeep said:

MJ correct dually flares that are floating out there. If anyone has these, ping me as I'm looking to buy. Thanks all.

This is what I’d use. 

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