(first posted 7/17/2013. Updated 7/15/2019) This Cherokee presents a bit of a puzzle to me. It’s been de-badged of all its identifying emblems and graphics, which the SJ Cherokee had plenty of. Most obvious is where the round badge was peeled from the rear C-Pillar, on both sides. And the “Cherokee” badge on the front fender is gone too. Now with all of the movement to ban American Indian athletic mascots and names, I can’t help but suspect that this person did it for the same basic reason. But ironically, there’s a bow and arrows in the back of it. Is the owner a Native American?
I wasn’t really snooping, but just wanted a picture of the rear cargo area when I noticed the arrows and what looks like parts of a high-power bow. Big deal.
The Cherokee arrived in 1974 as a “sporty” variant to the Wagoneer (CC here). In the comments to that post, there was some discussion of the ultra-rare two-door Wagoneer, which was dropped after 1968 due to very low sales (I haven’t seen one in many decades). But so as to cash in on the growing SUV wave, which was dominated by the IH Scout, Ford Bronco and Chevy Blazer, all of which were two-doors, Jeep dusted off some of the two-door tooling, but added a steel panel where the two big original windows were, and popped in a partially-opening window.
Here’s what it looked like: way too urbane and clean for the mustachioed and sideburned seventies.
Update: Actually what Jeep did was to just cut in a rear side window of their Panel Delivery, which was so rare that I had forgotten about it when I first wrote this post. Of course the Panel Delivery was based on the two-door wagon, but had a large steel panel back there.
I can’t say whether I ever saw one of these, but if I did, I long forgot the encounter.
What’s unique about the Panel Delivery is that it had barn doors at the rear, something that might have been preferred as an option by some Wagoneer buyers, juts like some Suburban buyers chose them.
And here’s how that Cherokee badge looked, although this one is from a Cherokee S, the step up from the base model, but well below the Chief .
Since I shot this a few years back, I might as well show the whole thing too. Very seventies. Very John Denver Rocky Mountain High.
Back to our featured un-Cherokee; the question(s) remains: Is this a 1979? Did the badges come off in respect for American Indians? Does this have the 360 V8 or 258 six? Are you impressed that it still has its original wheel covers? Are you loving that brown? Anything else?
Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm well let me speak from the Southwestern perspective… I have many friends who are members of the Navajo tribe and various Pueblo groups in the area. Many of them like to co-opt Native American symbols from the culture and wear or use them. It is a bit of an “in joke” for many that I know.
Example. I see many here in NM wearing the Cleveland Indians hats that feature just the image of “Chief Wahoo” with no lettering to actually indicate the team. I’m not foolish enough to think they’re all fans who happen to live 2000 miles from their favorite team.
Oh, and in respect to your other questions I’m impressed with the overall condition period. It does look like it is currently someone’s hunting rig.
I live in Oklahoma, so also another one of the places with a large Native American population. I don’t have a problem with any of the automotive or athletic names that are just tribes (Cherokee, Seminoles, Utes, etc), but one of our state schools recently changed their name from “Redmen”, which I think is a good thing. We regularly go to Tahlequah, the capital of the Cherokee nation, and have several Cherokee friends, and I can say all that I’ve heard mention it LOVE the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee name. I had a buddy in HS consider nothing but an old Cherokee for his first car so he could put his Cherokee Nation license plates (yes, tribal members have their own license plates in OK) on a Cherokee.
I’m part Cherokee and I’m certainly not offended by the “Indian decor” of these things. I always thought it was kind of cool, especially the Comanche pickup truck which came later.
It might be slow preparation for a paint job. Or…it might be that the owner who is NOT Native American/Indian, feels guilty about parading these symbols in an area with a high Native-descended population.
The few Native/Indian people I’ve known are not bothered by the term “Indian” nor by the Cleveland Indians, the Redskins, the Chiefs…or the Jeep Cherokee.
Two things, Paul. If you look up photos of the J-100 panel truck from the Kaiser Jeep era, you’ll know EXACTLY where it was the tooling and design came from. The panel truck was of course derived from the two-door Wagoneer; but all AMC had to do was find the tooling and design a window to fit in that slot. I’m actually amazed that Jeep didn’t do a Cherokee Cruisin’ Wagon to answer the Pinto’s version.
Second…ersatz Willys or Kaiser Wagoneers are a growing trend. Not that they’re trying to pass of as anything but what they are…but I’ve seen two mid-1980s SJ Wagoneers done up as Kaisers. Accurate exterior-wise with everything but the taillights and tailgate….the grille is a bolt-on; round headlight buckets replace the rectangular ones easy; and it used to be that bumpers were easy to find. Still might be. Put the old chrome lettering on the side, pry off some chrome…and to the unschooled, you have the original.
It may be he was planning on something like that. Or maybe he just made $200 selling the badges on Ebay.
Eventually if things continue down this path, were going to be afraid to leave our homes or even look at anyone for fear of offending anyone about anything with any thing we say or do or with any action….
To put it mildly. The easily-offended and the professionally-offended are rapidly taking over this country.
And if you’re wondering why we’re getting all those gobble-dy-gook car model names (MKS, MKZ, MKWHATTHEHELL) it’s probably because as long as the model name doesn’t make any sense, there’s a change (just a chance, mind you) that nobody will get offended and sue.
Oh come on!
Do you really think these teams got their names because the owners respect/respected Native Americans?
Of course not.
I find the image of “Chief Wahoo” to be cartoonish and I’m a Native American myself.
Also, if we’re going to have teams with Native stereotypes, why not have a team like the Fighting Wops or Highfalutin’ Kikes? You know, for equality?
If you look around, you will find that there are stereotypes and caricatures everywhere, just some people seem to cry about it and some don’t, I don’t recall Italians or Jews up in arms about Mario Brothers, Mama Celeste or Einstein Bros Bagels?
Mahatma Rice? Chiquita Bananas? I can keep going and going…..
Again, people need to grow thicker skin and not get so easily offended.
It’s a controversial issue, and Native Americans have mixed feelings on the subject, which they have a right to. The examples you give are pretty mild, and these ethnic groups didn’t exactly go through what American Indians went through in this country. Don’t forget that many of these ethnic groups had to fight to be given proper respect too, for how their names and symbols were used.
Anyway, let’s just leave it at that, and not get all preachy.
But if I had to guess, I’d say the owner of this one removed the badging deliberately.
Did the badges come off in respect for American Indians? Does this have the 360 V8 or 258 six? Are you impressed that it still has its original wheel covers? Are you loving that brown? Anything else?
Tune in next week and find out! Aloha!
I always liked these, hell, I like ALL full size 2door SUV’s. My friends mom had an orange one of these with the same slotted mags like the yellow one.
Yes, I like this, including the brown. I am finding myself re-warming to 1970s browns on cars. Never thought it would happen, and yet . . . The de-badging is interesting, could be for any number of reasons. My guess is so that its Native American owner can maintain the stealth factor on his way to the bow and arrow competition. Hell, if you drive up and your vehicle tells everyone that you are a Cherokee, you have lost your element of surprise.
I’m liking vintage browns a lot more too these days. I think that’s one reason the Cutlass Supreme from yesterday stuck everyone’s fancy. Greens too. Readers seemed to like the green big bumper Pinto wagon a lot more than the blue small bumper one.
I always liked the big 2-door Cherokee. One of my high-school teachers (early ’80’s) had a jacked-up blue one with big mudder tires. Not my favorite color for one of these, but a great truck nonetheless. I also like the Wagoneer – their styling aged very well over the decades they were in production, and the 2-door looks sharp – better than a 2-door Suburban of the time.
Nice on ALL counts. I love the color brown – in the right shades, of course!
I’m surprised this thing looks that nice all these years later, and I hope the owner is doing prep work with the intention of a nice repaint and restoration, hence all emblems and color accent removal.
It’s got my vote, for sure.
I like the brown too—it looks good with the thick pinstripe down the side.
A lot of these came in “earthy” colors—and I don’t mean the shades of taupe that rule suburban homes. More like brown, pale blue, orange, yellow, etc. For me, those colors evoke images of southwestern desert sunsets and beautiful mountain-top views. Those colors don’t work nearly as well on beater Mustang IIs and rattletrap Gran Torinos, but boy do they look good on proto-SUVs and pickup trucks.
A bit of chrome really sets them off nicely.
I find myself strangely attracted to the white one,I’ve never worked up much enthusiasm for SUV/4WD vehicles before,I neither like nor dislike them but there’s something I like about the white one and I can’t say what it is.
That original wagon is as close to a Landrover Station wagon as Jeep got but without the rugged utility of the Landie shame really they had the right idea and then blinged it into oblivion.
I think there was plenty of ruggedness there, my uncle owned a 1983 Cherokee (Australian badging, known as Wagoneer in the US) with the 360 V8 & auto. They took it literally all around Australia, towing a 2.5t+ van, crossing the Simpson desert, up Cape York etc. After a decade of that treatment about the biggest problem was the elec rear window made a horrible noise going up & down, possibly something scraping on the glass. It was very good offroad too, would go anywhere a L/cruiser or Patrol would go plus some most of them wouldn’t, the Big Red dune in the Simpson was one that stopped all but one other vehicle out of 15 in their group.
I think the badges just came off due to age and heat. AMC looked to cut corners in everything in the late 1970’s to save money. They ether used cheap glue or used glue sparingly and after 30+ years of motoring they fell off or started coming loose. The heat probably helped. Look at the faded hood, that was a vehicle that lived all of its life in the hot sun. My grand parents had a Cherokee Chief and the graphics were starting to come off after sitting out in front of the house in PA.
Paul, you mention that the specimen in your picture was higher then the base model but lower then the Chief. So what did the Chief have that the “lesser” Cherokees did not have? If I recall, my Grandparents Chief was pretty Spartan. No A/C (from the factory) AM radio, Auto Trans, power rear tailgate window and Cherokee Chief graphics. Other then that it had vinyl seats(ugly red), manual windows. In short a no frills vehicle.
Bolder graphics, mostly 🙂
The Chief had a wider track, with front (and I believe rear) axle taken from the J-10 pickup. To go with it, it also got fender flares (the same as the pickup) as well as the graphics. There might have been suspension upgrades…and there might not have been.
Towards the end, almost all the two-door SJ Cherokees got the flares. Frankly, without them, the rig looked naked on the side view. The four-door models, when they came out, never got them, as AMC didn’t have the money to redesign the rear-quarter with the door to allow for a wider rear track and special, two-piece cut flares.
The flares were sheet metal, at least in the first years.
That bottle of antifreeze on the front dozer plow, errr bumper says this may have engine issues.
“But so as to cash in on the growing SUV wave, which was dominated by the IH Scout, Ford Bronco and Chevy Blazer, all of which were two-doors…”
The main thing Jeep had in mind was probably the Blazer, which pioneered the concept of building a traditional 2-door SUV off of a full-size truck design. The result was a vehicle that was probably cheaper to build than its competitors, since it shared so much with Chevy’s other C/K-Series trucks; yet had a broader appeal, since it was a roomier, more substantial vehicle.
I don’t doubt that Jeep also had the Scout and Bronco in mind, as they had historically struggled to compete directly with those models, which were arguably a slightly different class of vehicle from the Jeep CJ. The Jeepster Commando hadn’t been an effective competitor. With the introduction of the Cherokee, Jeep chose to follow Chevy’s lead, deciding that the Blazer concept made the most sense for the “larger than a CJ, smaller than a Suburban” SUV segment. Others would join in as well. Dodge introduced the Ramcharger around the same time, and Ford would move the Bronco onto this type of design a few years later.
The 2-door Wagoneers of the ’60s hadn’t quite been the same type of vehicle. You might say that there were historically two different strains of SUVs, one of smaller vehicles with a 4X4/offroad image, typified by the Jeep CJ Series, and one of larger vehicles that were basically truck-based station wagons, typified by the Chevrolet Suburban. The difference between the two could sometimes be subtle (more a matter of image and marketing than anything else), and would become somewhat blurred during the 1980s and 1990s. But I’d say the ’60s/’70s Scout, Bronco, Blazer and Cherokee belonged to the first, and the Wagoneer (even in two-door form) to the second.
These weren’t a true “SUV” as defined at the time they were truck based station wagons like the Suburban. They were tired of all the sales the Scout and Bronco had “stolen” away from the more utilitarian CJ series which was why they tried the Comando unsuccessfully. So this was sort of a reboot of that effort the only way they could afford by dusting off the tooling for the failed 2dr wagon, giving it a new rear window treatment echoing the general set up of the Scout II and proceeded to market it to the “SUV” crowd instead of the truck wagon crowd.
The problem was, AMC never had the money to come up with a true Blazer-type vehicle.
What they got with Kaiser Jeep was the C101, the Jeepster…which wasn’t selling. Brook Stevens must have been having an off day when he did that; the lines are unattractive in many ways. And Teague’s horrific frontal re-do, made it such an obvious loser that even AMC only tried to run it for two years.
What to do…what to do. They had only two vehicles left: the former J-Series (rechristened SJ at some point) trucks, Wagoneer and pickup. And the CJ, sold as the Universal under Kaiser.
The C101 was a CJ-6 variant. It was as antiquated underneath as it was ungainly topside..
So…they did the only thing they could hope for. Obviously Dick Teague’s heart wasn’t in styling Jeeps, not in his twilight years…and his one try was a strike out. So: Just haul out the two-door variant, PAINT it like it has a Blazer-type removable top, give it a new name, trim, pose pretty girls in it…and hope for a miracle in the future.
The miracle happened; the angel was named Renault; and ten years after it was needed, and long after it could have helped the company survive, the modern AMC-designed Jeep was ready. Along with a superb four-cylinder, ready just too late to power any of the AMC cars that desperately needed it.
Both the C101 and later C104 were designed by Jim Anger of Kaiser Jeep; Stevens and Teague did not do these (Teague’s group probably did the rearranged seating and interior materials on the 72/73).
Teague did do a full Jeep design for AMC and far from a strike out. The XJ Cherokee ran from 84-01, practically launching the compact SUV craze of the ‘80s.
Your other post mentions the “brain fart” Scrambler as the next Jeep design to follow the 74 Cherokee. You’re forgetting the CJ-7 which added AT, full time 4WD, improved ride and dramatically expanded the market for the smallest Jeeps.
Yes I’m surprised that no one pulled off those hub caps and stuck on some wagon wheels in the late 70’s/early 80’s,or “modular” wheels in the late 80’s or early 90’s. Some one certainly kept this in good condition and has actually put on some decent traction tires, at least on the front. I wouldn’t mind it, if it had a V8, though of course I still would rather have my Scouts or an early Bronco.
Yeah, I don’t think those are the original wheels/tires. They are definitely Cherokee issue, but would have been found on non-Chief models without the wheel opening flares. Base Cherokees had the slab sides like a Wagoneer; my father had a ’75 without the flares and this wheel/tire/hubcap setup (except his were whitewalls).
All Chiefs had the flares, and big enough wheels and tires to fill them. So this, I believe, is a Chief with a wheel/tire downgrade.
The de-badging might just have been the result of some brat wanting to expand his badge collection: “Hey, a Cherokee, I don’t have that one yet!”
Like around 20 years ago, when the M-B three-pointed-star hood ornaments weren’t safe from being plucked from parked cars and worn as jewelry.
That might possibly apply to the rear ones, but the very common ones on the front fenders, that look like all Cherokee badges for decades?
Maybe they started to prep for paint and decided to wait?
I remeber some badges used to come off cars so easily, as more delinquent child I had a small collection of late 70’s early 80’s VW badges from several I had just peeled right off the car like a sticker.
Does this rig look like it’s about to be painted? Not.
Well, removing the badges would be one of the first steps in the painting process…its a slow restoration.
For some reason, that classy white 2-door Wagoneer makes me think it could’ve been a Packard SUV.
Maybe that’s why I like it,glad to see I’m not the only one
Why ban native emblems on cars our Maori culture is displayed on cars trucks and busses all over the country and its becoming recognized world wide now, the Koru is plastered on our National airline planes and now they are being painted bogan black with silver ferns on them our national colours, Do you guys not like your native population.
No it is the native population that is causing the up roar over the use of such names. Just a couple of weeks ago there was a story on the local news about a school board having a vote to change the high school mascot from Redskins since many consider it a racist term. Members of local tribes were those speaking at the meeting against keeping the name. In the end the board voted to pick a new mascot and logo.
Well, it kind of starts with the history. About 90% of the native population (or 95%, depending on who is writing the history) died of European diseases brought over by Columbus and his followers before we white folks even got very far on to the N. American continent. Then we either shot, stabbed, etc. or herded most of those who survived onto the leftover land we didn’t really want anyway and told them to adapt. So, yeah, it is kind of a sensitive issue. Having been adopted into the Creek tribe, who are related to the Seminole nation, I can also point out that they kind of like to be asked before their icons and traditions get used and profited from by others. The Seminole tribe is fine with Florida State University’s use of their iconography, but they were also asked for their opinion/approval when an issue was made of it and said, sure-we think Traveller is a fine looking horse, and you got the rest of the outfit right, too. Not sure they are making any money off of that deal, but they are doing OK with their casino down in the Everglades, might not need it. It would help if the Noles would win a few more games, though. Glad to hear the Cherokee like their “namesake” vehicle as it is a fine specimen of American automotive design.
It also depends on how it’s done. Having the Washington D.C. NFL team be called “Redskins” probably isn’t exactly the most respectful way of honoring the indigenous peoples of North America.
On the OTHER hand…would you name YOUR TEAM, the team that (supposedly) represents YOU…to have as a mascot/team name something that’s insulting or ridiculous?
The Indians name and variations, were used – obviously – to signify with the legendary fierceness that Native Americans fought in battle. The names weren’t chosen to mock their team or who it’s named after. Can you imagine, the Philadelphia Pansies? The New York Bums?
Attitudes on many issues like this change, fortunately mostly for the better. It doesn’t matter what the thinking was 100 years ago when these names were chosen. They’re easy enough to change. We’ve changed a few other things in the last 100 years, right?
I’m not saying that these names and usages necessarily should all be changed, but I can see how the Redskins name might be offensive to some American Indians. 100 years ago, they wouldn’t have really been in the position to express their POV.
It’s nice to see it wearing its original wheelcovers.
Jeep chose the name to identify with the Western motif…something they were trying for from the day they closed on the Jeep purchase. Take, the Jeepster Commando…Kaiser tried to sell it with. “Holy Toledo, What a Car!” AMC fired that ad agency, immediately…and started pushing the Jeepster (it was still called that; this was before the re-do). I remember one of the first:
“It takes GUTS to roam the Badlands.”
Then a wordy explanation of why the V6 Jeepster had “guts:” and an action shot of it climbing out of a dry creek bed. Probably be illegal today.
But they did a series of those; and then, the first “new” Jeep they come out with, they name Cherokee. A long pause, then the brain-fart name Scrambler…and then, back to the Western motif, with Comanche.
Daimler, of course, wanted to go in a new direction; and with two changes of ownership, nobody at Jeep wants to resurrect the Western theme.
Found one of the ads.
Didn’t they just bring Cherokee back?
And they’ve used Grand Cherokee for years and years, nevermind the ‘Murica themed Patriot and Liberty.
The Jeep ad I remember from the ’70’s is “We wrote the book on four wheel drive”.
Why the badges were removed from this particular vehicle remains a question. But before launching the Cherokee, AMC officials received approval from tribal representatives regarding the use of the Cherokee name on the vehicle.
In Patrick Foster’s book on AMC history, there is a photo of AMC leaders and Cherokee tribal officials posing with the then-new Jeep Cherokee.
Sorry Chief, gimme a Ramcharger any day over this.
When these were actually out, I hated them. Now I would gladly take one. Weird what 35 years or so does to ones tastes.
I feel like we’re all ignoring the most obvious explanation for the lack of badges–de-badging, like “the kids” do to a lot of cars these days. Sure, it’s more typical for Hondas and Audis than Jeeps, but it’s a known trend, where buying a car with some theoretically offensive badge and removing it to be politically correct isn’t, as least that I’ve ever heard of.
Then again, tearing up historical things to satisfy modern politics is also a trend, so I suppose it could be either way.
In an unlikely CC Effect, I just saw this 1976 Cherokee Chief this morning. It too is missing the round C-pillar Indian head, though the other badges are intact, including the Quada-Trac badge on the tailgate.
As an honest-to-goodness Alabama Cherokee, I have owned three….I love the name, and am happy that the name is used for tough go-anywhere machine!
Maybe the owner is not a Cherokee. Tribalism?
The badges do get stolen, too. My 1976 lost 2. They’re really cool badges. I just hope no one is removing them for fear of being thought racist. As has been mentioned, Jeep asked for permission to use the name and it was granted.
I just purchased this truck yesterday. Wheels covers are now gone and no front bumper. It used to be green. Has the v8
I used to own an auto wreckers from 1974 to 1998 – we had over 10,000 late model wrecks at our peak. We had several insurance company contracts to take all of their write-offs. We would rebuild the wrecks that weren’t hit too hard and resell them, sometimes to the Frenchmen in Quebec, who had weaker laws about rebuilding. The Jeep Cherokee was (by far) one of the worst quality vehicles we ever dealt with. Absolute junk. Just ask someone who took cars apart and put them back together again, and also had mega-data on sales of used engines and trannys. Vehicles like the Cherokee kept us in business lol