Where have all the old Cherokees gone? If it doesn’t have Di-Noc wood paneling, these old bricks don’t exactly seem to get a lot of love. The two door Cherokee Chief probably has a cult following, but a plain Jane Cherokee four-door wagon? Not so much. Especially when it’s a ’79, which has to have the homeliest version of the ever-changing face on these. A rather pig-like snout, actually.
Was this front end designed in Iran or Kazakhstan? Somehow, I don’t think Brooks Stevens was brought back for the annual grille re-do on these cars. Yes, I must run out and buy a new 1979 Cherokee, because my 1978 suddenly looks so old-fashioned!
The money would have been better spent indoors, where the Cherokee is a mish-mash of left-overs from the Kaiser and AMC warehouses. Not exactly very appealing, unless you’re a rancher or such.
Or maybe a Bavarian or Swiss (Update: Austrian, actually) looking for a rugged American 4×4 to take your Freülein on a picnic? This shot is from the 1980 Jeep export brochure, and finds the Cherokee in all sorts of exotic European locales. Too bad they didn’t make it in a diesel version back then; might have actually sold a few.
The first one looks pretty real, but this one begs the question: photochop?
Speaking of chops, the driver of this Cherokee makes his meat preferences quite clear.
That is a handsome steering wheel, eh? We can speculate as to whether this Cherokee has the 258 cubic inch six or the 360 V8, but it does have an automatic. And maybe the “I Love Bacon” sticker is a tip-off for the V8? I once ran across a Cherokee wagon in Colorado with the six and four speed stick, and suddenly had a surge of love for it.
I’ve always had a soft spot for the Wagoneer, but you know me by now: big thirsty V8s churning through an automatic are a bit of a turn-off for me; except in my camper, perhaps. The original Tornado OHC six was very appealing in principle, but turned out to be a lemon. Then it was all V8s, until the big 258 AMC six arrived. Perfect match; it really made the the Wagoneer/Cherokee into a domestic version of the Toyota Land Cruiser, but how many were sold with the six and stick? I only remember seeing the one.
Sadly, the Navajo blanket trim decal has faded over the decades. But those emblems went on to have a long life on the XJ Cherokees.
So my thoughts on this Cherokee are mostly abstract. But if you want to read a gripping first-hand account, here’s Michael Freeman’s adventure with his 1979 Cherokee. Nothing abstract about that.
Carmine needs to add a caption to the last pic. I want some of those bumperstickers.
I dunno about that one, but the red Cherokee Chief in front of the Arch de Triumph makes me laugh.
“Ted Nugent never really assimilated to living in Europe”
Mike and Larry were worlds apart in their choices of get-a-way cars.
The pictures with the Prius are pretty interesting not that big of a difference in size.
I certainly wouldn’t recommend a 258 to power one of these they are just too heavy. When put in a IH they don’t give significantly better MPG than a 345 with the same axle ratios and you can get by with a lot less gear on the 345 so you can actually get better MPG with the V8.
About 4100 lbs for a six; that’s not all that heavy. I’d still say that the six with a stick shift (not auto) would get better mileage than the 360/automatic. But I can see where this is headed. Either way, an economical vehicle this ain’t.
I had a 1977 Cherokee 4-door, 360, Turbo 400, Quadratrac I. Road mileage was ~17. I sold it to as friend who pharted around with carbs & ended up with some Quadrajet; mileage with that was ~12.
The original Motorcrap had all sorts of flat spots, especially when cold, but did get better mileage.
It does get around fifteen which isn’t terrible. I had something with that combination but can’t remember what! The featured Jeep is also Qudratrac which kills mileage even more and makes it most likely a V8.
Great Stuff! The European brochure lake picture appears to be St. Wolfgang, Austria on the Wolfgangsee outside of Salzburg. Kind of makes you want to pay a visit.
Ha! I purposely avoided saying Austria because I didn’t want to be seen as being chauvinistic.
You do realise we (OK, I) don’t think of you as Austrian at all? The `Sage of Eugene’ would be good, but that title’s already taken… 🙂
Look how the camera angle on that photo is precisely correct to minimize the grille’s “pig nose” effect.
What grille? Her nose seems perfect to me, despite the profile shot.
I will agree that this grille treatments was not one of the best out of AMC. However, after the 74 Matador sedans, these didn’t look so bad.
That last picture is funny. If you were a Cherokee trying to romance a Prius, I don’t think I would start with “I love bacon” as my opening pickup line.
Ha! I like to think the owners of the Wagoneer and the Prius are married and meeting up for lunch in town. I know of stranger marriages…
I never noticed til now that the universal 70’s AMC schnoz made it to the full size SUV’s. My friends mom in elementary school had a mega bright 70’s orange 2 door Chief, they were odd folks, their other car was a fwd Subaru hatch.
Yes a friend had a Cherokee of this vintage complete with 258 6 and automatic.
He thought the 6 would give him half way decent fuel economy ,but it didn’t take long for that Cherokee to prove him wrong.
i don’t know why but i decided a while back that if my wife ever walks out on me, the first thing i’m going to do is dump our volvo and buy a cherokee chief with a stick shift.
I just Googled “79 Cherokee” and was stunned to find this incredible construction, the Beechcraft Car: a 1979 Jeep Cherokee chassis with the complete 14-passenger cabin of a Beechcraft 18. More photos and info at various sites, including this one.
Reminds me of a ’50 Studebaker.
America, what a country!
Is there anyone on board that knows how to drive an airplane?
Ha! Roger, Roger. What’s our vector, Victor?
And don’t call me Shirley.
…And that, as much as anything else, is what led to my drinking problem.
Honestly, I tried avoiding a pointless Airplane! quote, but… Dang…
I know everyone loves the 6, but after owning (2) 4.2L sixes in CJs, I would much rather have a well tuned small block…better mileage, smoother, and a much better sound.
I had an 81 Chief with the 4.2/auto that wasn’t all bad. I swapped on a MC 2150 for the BBD, a Ford large dizzy cap and high output coil and it livened up nicely.
Back in 1979, the Jeep seven-slot grill was not copyrighted as trade dress; and AMC was trying to move AWAY from that tradition. The 1974 Wagoneer had an egg-crate grill, not slots; and the 1973 Commando had…a birth defect. Obviously the Teague styling department didn’t have much appreciation for the classic Jeep themes.
This cathedral grille was one more step along the way…to make it less like the New For ’62 Kaiser and more like the 1974 Matador wagon that just never had a chance. Maybe the square headlights will do it, this time.
In any event, back in those years…even though the Jeep was trodding the luxury path, it still was seen as immune to the annual model-change incentive. The 1974 grille was worn through 1978 on the Wagoneer…and what did the new 1974 Cherokee get, right out the door? A very-slightly modified Wagoneer grille that first appeared in 1966. The Jeep former-Gladiator pickup, wore the un-modified Wagoneer grille from 1971 to 1978 – after which all the SJ vehicles got this Matador snoot.
I don’t really fault AMC for anything except unfathomable density. In those days they were fighting for their lives; the French reinforcements were not yet in place, and Teague was getting old and tired and frustrated. He never wanted to design trucks, anyway…he was a Pacer-Gremlin kinda guy.
But you’d have thunk that they’d try to understand the appeal of the vehicle that was paying the light bill for them; that they didn’t design but which was selling to subsidize all the bloopers and blunders they were coming out with…
> But you’d have thunk that they’d try to understand the appeal of the vehicle that was
> paying the light bill for them; that they didn’t design but which was selling to
> subsidize all the bloopers and blunders they were coming out with…
Willys-Jeep in its last years
AMC-Jeep in its last years
Jeep-Chrysler in its last years.
I’d hate to think the Jeep brand suffers from a curse that kills its parent without sullying the brand itself, but that seems very likely. And I have a source for the curse in mind too—Bantam.
As to where these are going…is it possible they’re being used as parts cars for Grand Wagoneer restorations? There’s at least one company in that business.
I had an ’87 GW for a few years. It was a great go-anywhere truck, but returned 11.5 MPG uphill, downhill and on the level. When I first started shopping for Wags, an owner told me it was “more of a hobby than a car.” He was right.
This rig was a lot of fun. AMC 360 w/ the t400 tranny on Dana 44’s. I’m the previous owner, and I’m glad to see it’s still on the road.