Produced with few dramatic changes for three decades, the original “SJ” Jeep Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer successfully cemented its place as one of the most iconic vehicles of all time. There comes a time, however, when an archaic vehicle simply cannot be overhauled any further to remain competitive with comfort, convenience, and technological amenities, let alone comply with ever-increasing safety standards. The advanced “ZJ” Grand Cherokee was worthy successor, yet Jeep still had a trick up its sleeve to appease “woodie” Grand Wagoneer lovers.
Enter the 1993 Jeep Grand Wagoneer. Little more than a top-line Grand Cherokee with nearly all the option boxes ticked off, the Grand Wagoneer eschewed the Grand Cherokee Limited’s gold-accent lower-body trim and pinstripes in favor of the traditional Di-Noc vinyl woodgrain trim.
Inside, the Grand Wagoneer featured almost Brougham-like overstuffed, quilted seats upholstered in glove-soft leather, loads of more fake wood trim, plus luxuries including automatic climate control, premium sound system, vehicle information screen, and overhead console with compass and outside temperature readings.
Grand Wagoneers were powered by a class-exclusive 5.2-liter V8 making 220 horsepower and 285 lb-ft torque, as well as standard four-wheel drive.
The ZJ Grand Wagoneer, however, proved just a single-year affair. Failing to recapture the specialness of the original SJ Grand Wagoneer, the Grand Cherokee-based Grand Wagoneer ended up looking more like a Chrysler minivan than an exclusive luxury off-roader for the very well-heeled to take to their weekend homes in Hyannis Port or Aspen.
Buyers apparently had moved on from their love affair with fake wood siding, and the ZJ Grand Wagoneer was discontinued with little fanfare after a few thousand units had been produced for the 1993 model year. For nearly a decade now, there has been talk of Jeep reviving the Grand Wagoneer name, but I won’t believe it until I see a production model.
Currently listed on Bring A Trailer auctions, the seller has included this particular Jeep’s history, plus plenty more pictures of this rare final year Jeep Grand Wagoneer.
Always wanted one as a winter beater but I can never justify leaving my Volvos for another Jeep product. I once had a ’97 GC Laredo that was an unmitigated disaster of a vehicle.
I haven’t seen one of these on the roads here in New England in probably 15 years… alright 18 years. My photographic memory is coming into play here and I do vividly remember the last one I saw was in the fall of 2001. It was a forest green one my family passed on our way up to New Hampshire one weekend 🙂
I have been sitting on pictures of a ratty one of these, and I’m not sure I have seen another. I had forgotten all about these when I saw that one.
It is cool to see a nice one.
Totally forgot this ever existed. I’m not sure I’m happy about finding out otherwise.
It looks like Chrysler decided to use an aftermarket trim package on the production line.
Although it looks better than this Element….
A well equipped Grand Cherokee is still just that. Never had the presence of the SJ.
This one is in great condition, both inside and out. The fake woody Di-Noc is hard to keep up over 25+ years in particular. The owner has taken great care of it.
I haven’t seen one of these in about a decade. Interesting find, but I always found the wood paneling weird-looking on the ZJ.
Forget the Grand Wagoneer bit (I can’t swallow the fake wood, especially on a modern Grand Cherokee design), this just reminds me how nice these new generation Jeep SUVs were, and shows why they captured the imagination of American buyers. The long-serving Grand Wagoneer may have been iconic, but the XJ Cherokee and ZJ Grand Cherokee really transformed the Jeep brand and took it mainstream.
My neighbor in Tompkins County had one of these about 11 years ago and what a heap it was. They were glad to be gone with after a year or less and I think the autodimming mirror was one of the issues. She and her husband kept transferring the same license plates from beater to beater every twelve months or so and I think that Jeep was the fourth or so vehicle to wear those plates.
I might have seen one of these in the Pacific Northwest, but not sure.
Still waiting to see what FCA’s new take on the Grand Wagoneer will look like. It keeps getting pushed back, now it is due in 2021 I think?
As handsome as the ZJ Grand Cherokee and how well its aged from an aesthetic point of view, the tacky faux wood trim does not do it any favors. I kind of, sort of, maybe, understand what they were going for. They were clearly pushing the Grand Cherokee as a replacement for the Grand Wagoneer, it’s a fruitless endeavor considering how different they are in every conceivable way, but obviously they’re trying they’re best to get people into buying these. So the idea of trying to convert loyal Grand Wagoneer owners to the Grand Cherokee makes sense, but this is completely the wrong way to do it. Just slapping faux wood trim to a design that just won’t work in any way with it feels patronizing, almost as if Chrysler is saying, “What, our new car isn’t good enough?! Here, have your precious wood trim! Is it good enough now!?”
Add to that the fact that in it’s own right, the ZJ Grand Cherokee was a class-leading vehicle at the time of its introduction, capable of major success without the Grand Wagoneer connection and fake wood.
A somewhat fierce-looking gold-accented Grand Cherokee Limited looked far more at home in a 1990s garage parked next to a BMW, Mercedes, Acura, Lexus, or Infiniti than an archaic woodie Grand Wagoneer.
I don’t know exactly when he was ousted from Chrysler, but the ’93 Grand Wagoneer sure has Iacocca-brougham written all over it. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that it was one of his final acts since it seems like he’d have still been around when it was being planned.
And, if correct, since he’d no longer have been there to champion its continued production, a big reason why it didn’t last long.
Great article Brendan, and thank you for the high resolution images. They are excellent.
I must say, the wood treatment is well done. An attractive warm medium tone and a beautiful wood grain. The print looks like a photo reproduction blown up at high resolution, and touched up with a photo editing program like Photoshop. The effect is very attractive faux wood. Retaining the same woodgrain in the faux wood trim surround looks great as well.
The interior is nice, but I’m not a huge fan of the Chrysler corporate steering wheel from the early 90s. Nearly the exact same design was available on the Dodge Shadow America, for example. Without the thick leather wrap of course.
As far as opulent seats in a Chrysler woodie wagon, I think I’d choose the leather seats available in the late 70s Chrysler LeBaron Town and Country wagons and the Dodge Diplomat Medallion version. There is a fullness and detail to their design and shape, I find much more luxurious looking. And they look robust and burly enough to look at home in a high end SUV. And the detailing in the seat sides is much more attractive.
Corinthian leather for the win! Chrysler should really revive this still-famous trademark.
Disagree about the 2 spoke wheel though. I drove several Mopars with this wheel and loved the appearance, the feel, and the positioning of the spokes. The non-leather rim, whatever it was, had a perfect grip level and was slightly squeezable, much better than the hard plastic wheels in modern low-end cars. My only complaint was that the airbag cover didn’t double as the horn.
I love those jeeps only saw one in person when that were new.
It sure is in great condition, but like others here, I don’t think the wood “works” on the modern GC shape.
To my eyes it works even less on a silver over gray vehicle. Of all the colors available, silver has to be the one that looks worst when combined with “woodgrain”. Black, green, dark red, white, blue, gold, brown, even charcoal, but not bright silver.
I think you nailed it right there with the “shape” of the ZJ not doing the woodgrain any favors.
I’ve always thought white or black were the way to go with the fauxwood. It already has a color or two. And red is the worst – the wood color already has a lot of red in it.
Maybe the best one ever, although you could argue about other Country Squire years.
Being a big fan of, and having owned several ‘woodies’, this one didn’t do it for me. Too little too late?
Woodies are kind of like Fedoras. Frank Sinatra made them work for him. Justin Bieber? Uhmmm, not so much.
Regarding the fedora, a case of class vs. crass perhaps?
The SJ Wagoneer, it seems, were meant to have DiNoc woodgrain and it looks right on them. The Wagonmaster in Kerrville, Texas claims the vinyl was added so ranchers didn’t scratch the paint on the fenders and doors of their GW’s when going out to inspect the herd. “Wood-grain” on the Grand Cherokees (what is a ‘grand’ Cherokee anyway?) didn’t look right but I have seen a few XJ Wagoneers whose slab sides looked great dressed in 3M’s finest.
Although the Grand Wagoneer name and the woodie trim were dropped, the GW’s new Brougham-esque interior survived almost intact in the ’94 Grand Cherokee Limited. The only change I noticed was the color-keyed steering wheel being replaced by a black one.
This is still one of the best looking and most functional SUVs ever.
Hi…is this jeep for sale..thanx, Ron