To do this week’s COAL (a green malaise Monaco, in case you missed it) I had to go back through the photo archives, to a point about five years ago. At that time I owned three vehicles: a pickup, a Buick, and a newly-acquired Cherokee. The Cherokee needed parts (as most of my acquisitions initially do), so I was on the prowl for any full-size junkyard Jeeps that I could find.
It was during my parts hunt that I found this late-seventies Jeep pickup-turned-flatbed. But it wasn’t just any J-truck.
No, this was a Golden Eagle – member of an exclusive club by virtue of its special sticker package. AMC offered this appearance option between 1977 and 1980, on both the J-series pickups and the traditional CJ Jeeps (the “Jeep jeeps”, as they’re known around here).
There were also Honchos, “10-4″s (which came with a CB radio, not surprisingly), and even the Levi’s Edition Jeeps with seats that resembled blue jeans. But this one had a few things extra going for it: it was here, for one thing; it was in the “incoming” section of a local junkyard, so parts weren’t yet being sold off it; and there was even a signed title in the glovebox.
I asked the yard owner how much he wanted for it. But alas, it was not for sale – seemed his son had already claimed it as a project. And it would have been a good one. The rust was minimal by Minnesota standards, and it was V8 equipped (a 360, if I recall).
The style of grille seen here was used through 1978, so we know it’s either that or a ’77. But beyond that, its details are a mystery since these are the only two shots I took of it.
Most Golden Eagles were brown – in fact, for 1977 it seems that was the only color available with said package (a hue known as “Oakleaf Brown”). A variety of other colors were offered in later years, but brown remained the most popular. So that doesn’t narrow it down any.
But wait! Look at that second picture. Are those buttons I see on the tops of the buckets?
If so, then it might well have had this – the tan Levi’s interior. It seems the denim-inspired designer seating wasn’t exclusive to Levi’s Edition Jeeps, and the tan version was supposedly common on Golden Eagles.
Regardless, this Jeep was quite the odd duck, and very much worthy of saving at the time. I hope it got the care it deserved – and that it’s not rotting away in some swamp right now, sunk in up to the door handles.