CC Capsule: 1983-85 Jeep Grand Wagoneer – Chet Ripley Would Approve

On a recent Saturday, the family wanted to go see a local Civil War reenactment.  While walking across the grounds going to see the “battle”, I spotted this Grand Wagoneer sandwiched between two red Tauruses (Taurii?).

Something about finding this Grand Wagoneer seemed appropriate.

Only a brief century prior to the 1963 introduction of the Wagoneer, the United States was in the midst of its Civil War.  Talking to several of the reenactment participants, many avoided modern items in favor of the simpler lifestyles found in the 19th Century (excluding 1861 to 1865).

This Jeep was parked in the participants area.  What better vehicle in which to travel the country and live a simpler lifestyle?

The original Wagoneer was available with such options as an overhead cam V6 engine and automatic transmission, items rarely seen on a 4×4 in those days. These vehicles proved wildly popular and lucrative for Kaiser Jeep, AMC and later on, Chrysler.

The platform upon which the Wagoneer is based is the longest running Jeep platform as it was used from 1963 to 1991.  In light duty vehicles, only the Dodge Ram Van lasted longer, from 1971 to 2003.

As these Jeeps lasted for years with only minimal changes, it is hard to determine the exact model year.  However, one source I found stated a rear window wiper became standard for the 1989 model year.  As this vehicle doesn’t have one, it would have to be a 1988 or older model. [ED: The top trim woody version was the Wagoneer Limited from 1978-82, as this one is a Grand Wagoneer, it must be a 1983-85 model; ’86’s got a new grille.]

Despite the body shell being mostly unchanged for 20 years, this was still an attractive 4×4 in the ’80s. It was as close to an American Range Rover as you could get. You’ve got to give Brooks Stevens (who also penned the beautiful 1962-64 Gran Turismo Hawk) his due; this was a timeless design. And who could forget that great scene in The Great Outdoors, when John Candy has a little bear trouble with his maroon Grand Wagoneer?