As I am preparing to dive into another house rehab on Monday I took some time on Friday to head up to Laramie and attend to a few needs one of my rentals up there had. On my way back out of town, I came across this little slice of Jeep history that is being offered for sale and figured I’d share.
When Jeep introduced the new Gladiator this year, they repeatedly mentioned it was Jeep’s first pickup since the last one 26 years ago. I didn’t quite get the math since the Comanche ended in 1992 (27 years ago, no?) with a barely-there sales total of 952 for that year. This example is from the year prior to that, which wasn’t an outstanding sales year either with a production total of 5,188. The high-water mark was 1986 with just under 44,000 produced but any way you slice it, the Comanche was not a resounding success for Jeep
Even though this one is almost 30 years old, I was a little preplexed by the rust, since cars up here in Wyoming aren’t that susceptible to it. Until I got around to the back, whereupon I noticed it still had the dealer tag on it showing it was sold at Executive Motors in Evansville, Indiana at one time. Rust question solved. Executive Motors appears to be “permanently closed” according to Google, so at least this truck outlasted its dealer from a time previous in its life.
So anyway, while this Comanche wears its Jeep letters proudly on its tailgate (punctuated with a rusty bullet point on the wrong side), this Jeep is a Pioneer trim level, one up from the Base and one down from the Laredo.
For 1991, this should be equipped with the “High Output” version of the 4.0 inline-6 that is fairly legendary among Jeepers for its high torque and excellent longevity. This one is backed by a 4-speed automatic and is also a 4×4 model with a manually shifted transfer case. I have no idea what that piece of plastic on the ground is and hope it isn’t from our candidate here.
That bed is seven feet of glory and while a six-foot bed was also available, curiously Jeep never saw fit to add a real extended cab option to the longer wheelbase with the shorter bed, which may have been one of the reasons for its relative lack of demand. Price shouldn’t have been the factor as this truck was in fact the lowest priced way to get into a Jeep which isn’t something the new Gladiator can boast.
But perhaps it was more pricey than its competition, although this was marketed as a “mid-size”, just like the Dodge Dakota but nobody else at the time. I’m a little concerned about what rust the bedliner may be hiding but judging by the small lake at the front, at least the liner seems watertight.
Inside we have a cab with the bare necessities, and a steering wheel that looks just like the one in my in-laws’ old 1991 Cherokee Laredo, and if so it’s in fact a very comfortable wheel to grasp and use. Other than that, it’s pretty much a sea of fairly durable plastics and not-so-stain-resistant seats.
I think the rear wheels stem from a Grand Cherokee at least a few years newer than this truck and the front wheels seem to be from a late 90’s Non-Grand Cherokee. At least it’s Jeep stuff I suppose.
The front is probably the best angle for this particular one as there isn’t any visible rust here, but that add-on tubular bumper, while protective, isn’t doing it any favors visually. Still, at this age and out here often it’s more a matter of what works and fits than what is “correct”. It’s most likely not going to be entering any car show contests anyway.
So if you are dying to join the Jeep club and the visible rust doesn’t scare you off, then this low mileage (142,000) example of Jeep’s last attempt at a pickup may be just the ticket. At $3,200 I’m torn as to whether it’s a decent value or not but guess there is at least some wiggle room in there. Trucks (and anything branded “Jeep” aren’t getting any cheaper, and a V6 with a good 4×4 pedigree as well as a decently sized bed might come in handy. As of Friday, this was available, it likely still is now.
Jeep. There’s Only One….for sale in this particular spot on this particular day. Hey, look, the tags are expired, make a low-ball offer!