Before the Range Rover, before the Cadillac Escalade, there was the Jeep Wagoneer: the Socially Acceptable Off-Roader, becoming ever more elegant and upmarket ever since its debut in 1963 until it was federalized out of existence and replaced by a Grand Cherokee with wood paneling and special leather. Today, people appreciate the ruggedness and–dare I say it–classic elegance of the original Wagoneer, to the point where seeing them go for over $40,000 is not an uncommon occurrence. But if you don’t want a point-by-point perfect model, might I suggest a more economical alternative?
The first time I saw the price tag I thought it was a typo; surely they meant $36,500. That wouldn’t surprise me. Heck, I’d have even said it was a pretty good deal. It goes to show how expensive to buy Wagoneers are nowadays. It’s not like this one has been driven into the ground, as it has an indicated (but either fake or unbelievably taxing) 91,950 miles. All the badges are still there, and so are the corner lights. It even comes with a very tasteful set of fog lights that complement the look beautifully. Neither has the wood paneling faded into oblivion.
The interior is also completely present and accounted for. Apart from some visible wear and tear on the driver’s seat that could be fixed with an afternoon of elbow grease, and the confederate flag that decorates the dash (which will no doubt be a complete pain in the neck to remove), it is really well kept indeed. It may actually make me rescind my comment about the mileage, as it really looks like it has only traveled an average of 3,658 miles a year.
Up front, the venerable, carbureted AMC 360 could perhaps be the weakest point on the whole truck–not because of reliability issues, but because it’s literally weak. One hundred-sixty HP from 5.9 liters is not a particularly good HP/L ratio; in fact, it could be described as pretty terrible. Here’s something for the next time you’re playing pub trivia: the Jeep Wagoneer with the 360 is the last American vehicle to be fitted with a carbureted engine.
Sadly, we’ll have to move to the reason why this car being sold at such a low price: rust. The proverbial tin worm has done a fair number on this one. In the seller’s words,“But it has some minor rust issues on quarter panels mostly and some surface rust on doors and by the gas cap (visible on the pictures ). Frame has surface rust but its not rusted through (it needs to be cleaned up and undercoated).” I’m not so sure of the “minor” bit, since this is really a very rusty car. Of course, I could be very wrong and overplaying it because cars rarely rust around here. Still, you’re looking at a hefty bill for soldering, undercoating, rustproofing and paint. Nonetheless, it’ll probably still be less than what these go for on the market.
Would you buy and save it? Run it as-is? The listing’s here, and this seems like it could be a future COAL for its lucky owner.