Sunday, July 20, 2014

A New Era, The YJ

This is going to be the first time that I’ve written or presented anything related to the YJ at For a long time I simply didn’t like the looks of them- the new sorta funky and modern looking dash that was a long ways from the simple flat dash that generations of jeeps had succeeded in just being awesome machines with, the padding everywhere, the just plain... modernity of the YJ that truly set it apart from any of its predecessors. But worst of all were the square headlights that replaced the familiar and comfortable face of every jeep since 1940. But in reality, those were some of the things that have allowed the jeep to continue until today. It succeeded by adapting as we all must evolve. Nowadays, a couple of years back I had the realization that I sort of liked the YJ, it was finally become ‘classic’ looking in the intervening years! And so today, we have the last of the brochures from the car enthusiast website, a “web magazine/blog” Lov2xlr8.
On May 13, 1986 the newly named moniker of ‘Wrangler’ made its debut. Aside from the newly designed front end sheet metal that carried the square headlights there were many other details that were subtly new. The rear gate was new as was the swing away tire carrier. The hood was now beveled with rounded edges that was supported by the new front grill. Little touches like flexible fender flares and built in splash shields that wrapped back from the front fenders were added. The soft top was entirely new making it a truly better design that incorporated half doors and soft uppers. As well now you could remove the side and rear windows for a bikini top.
The AMC 258-6 was still doing the power chores as an option for the YJ with the 4 cylinder 2.5 liter as the standard. Also, the Sahara edition showed up as a special edition with leather wrapped wheel and heavier carpeting and other khaki trim. It all went for a base price of $8795. As far as it was from the original CJ2-A that debuted in 1945 with two color choices, the 1987 YJ Laredo also had a mere two color choices available- Olympic white and Classic black (though other additional colors were available as extra cost add-ons...)
The YJ went on with small changes here and there, but the biggest to come was the introduction of the new 4.0, the newly designed high output 180 horsepower fuel injected straight six that replaced the AMC design, the 4.2 liter/ 258 cu. inch six. The YJ went on along with the begrudging respect from Jeep fans eventually gaining standard stuff today like OBD II systems and anti-lock brakes, a newly designed cage and third eye brake light. It continued until 1997 when it was replaced the all new TJ, which is a whole other story! One little detail that I didn’t know until I was doing the research for this article was the fact that there was no actual 1996 YJ. It continued instead an ‘old’ tradition of retitling the previous year’s 1995 built jeeps as a 1996.
Well, this wraps up the 1980’s and other than a few miscellaneous ads, the end of material from Lv2xlr8. I’m not sure right now what I’ll present next week, but I’ll figure out something. Or drop me an email or at our Facebook page with a suggestion. Tell a friend about us too and Like us. We’re nearly at 1,000 likes! Have a great summer weekend and come back for more of the best of the jeep since 1940!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Jeep In 1985

The 1980’s were a tumultuous time for the world and for Jeep. In 1985 the CJ was nearly ready to end production. At this time the CJ-5 was no more and the CJ-7 was the lone survivor in the CJ camp. But it went on proudly through its final year in 1986 after the decision was announced by Joseph Cappy, the executive VP of operations in November of 1985. Another old veteran, the Gladiator was scheduled to be phased out in 1987. In ’85 their lineup was pretty slim with the J-10 not being manufactured (but for some reason it made its triumphant swan song return in its final year, 1987...). The J-20 with a 131” wheelbase was the only offering in its base level or the Pioneer package that for an additional $475 gave you floor carpeting, fabric door panel inserts, a wood grain instrument cluster overlay, decals, wheel covers and an Extra Quiet Insulation Package that included a custom headliner and dash insulation along with other sound deadening materials for that rumble of the 258 inline 6 or AMC’s 360 V-8.
But as the 1980’s were about the fear of nuclear mutual assured destruction they were also about hope for the future and this was embodied in the Cherokee and the Commanche pickup. The Cherokee had been remodeled the year before in 1984 and it was a hit. The Cherokee had been named 4 Wheel & Off Road magazine’s “4 X 4 of the Year.” It was an exciting new step in the right direction and as the brochure illustrates the “Innovation and Technology Only In A Jeep.” The new Commanche expanded Jeep’s marketplace footstep into a new area, that of the burgeoning market for the smaller and more affordable import pickup truck. It debuted officially as a 1986 model and if you look carefully, you’ll realize that its basic design was taken from the Cherokee sans enclosed rear. It never quite developed a following in the day and by 1992 after some 164,000 units made it ended its run.
But like any jeep that had seen better days, a new star was on the horizon, about to shine and where we end up next week will be the first glimpse of that star.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

1982 CJ, Scrambler, Wagoneer And Select-Trac Brochures

Welcome back and this weekend brings us to the end of the 1982 Jeep brochures. I hope that everyone had a good Fourth of July holiday weekend. The early 1980’s were a pivotal time in the history of the jeep. The last days of AMC ownership saw the jeep evolve once again firmly into a role that saw it as a recreational as well as practical vehicle. Gone were the days of just three decades ago under Kaiser ownership that stressed the role of work horse. The jeep was still a work horse, but increasingly the focus was on play, efficiency and reliability as AMC saw the market getting more and more crowded from domestic and foreign competition.
One of the innovations that came about in this decade was the era of the CJ-8, the Scrambler. Debuting in 1981, it was a stretched wheelbase CJ that saw its best sales in that very same first year. In the days of the larger modern stretched four door jeeps, this seems prescient, but 33 years ago this was daring. Approved as a model in 1979 the first CJ-8 rolled off the assembly lines in January 1981 and began sales in March. It was America’s only roadster pickup truck in soft top form and equipped with a five foot pickup truck bed, the wheelbase went from 83” in the CJ-5 to 93” in the CJ-7 and 103” in the CJ-8 (even longer than the CJ-6’ 101”!).
In 1985 the last Scrambler rolled off the lines in Toledo. They weren’t as accepted as AMC had hoped for (despite Ronald Reagan famously owning one on his ranch in California...) making them one of the rarer finds nowadays. They were also AMC’s next to last new model before the Commanche thundered out in 1986 as a challenger to imported pickups that picked up steam in the late 1980’s.
Come back next week, we’re winding down the 1980’s and things are changing! Click here to be taken to the full album of brochures from 1982 and click here to view a supplemental brochure on the Select-Trac.
I also wanted to take the time to promote our friendly, helpful forum over at If you’re looking for a new jeep forum to post on, show off your ride, ask questions, advice, etc... or just plain look at our projects this may be the one for you. Check us out!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

1982 Jeep Pickup And Cherokee Brochures

With the large weight saving gains in 1981, the jeep lineup for the following year was largely unchanged. There were a few details here and there including the addition of a tilt steering option for the Wagoneer and Cherokee, but they mainly soldiered on. Big changes were to come later in the decade as we all know with the demise of the CJ and new owners by the end of the 1980’s. There really isn’t a whole lot to say about them, but perhaps as we should have back in the day, let’s just appreciate these classics while we had them. Enjoy the brochures (click here to be taken to the full album...) and come back next week when I’ll finish out 1982. In the meantime, enjoy your summer!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Jeep, The Legend Lives On, 1981

Its 1981 and as the caption on the brochure states, “The Legend Lives On...” In a time that gas prices were reaching near record highs, the jeep, that forty year old soldier was still moving along and selling. The sales figures were down from the prior year by nearly 15,000 units, their market share went up by 21% as they became the go to brand for a four wheel drive SUV whether you were in the market for a spartan CJ or a top of the line Wagoneer Limited that sold for the kingly sum of $15,164! It included among other appointments bucket seats with leather trip, extra thick carpeting, leather wrapped steering wheel, wood grain trim inside and out, Quadra-Trac, AC, power windows and locks and even power seats! Pretty plush for a jeep but AMC had taken the jeep line far beyond anything that anyone could have imagined back in the Willys Overland days and as well helped push the jeep along its evolutionary line.
Helping out sales was the newly redesigned straight six 258 that in 1981 was 90 pounds lighter thanks in part to the substantial use of aluminum. It became the standard engine choice in the CJ, trucks and Wagoneer and Cherokee lineup. The engine block itself was made 30 pounds lighter by miscellaneous reductions in wall thickness and flange reductions. A new cam also found its way into the 258 giving it a lower idle speed and increased low speed torque. The 1980 six weighed in at 535 pounds and the new 258 was just 445 pounds. Thats quite a bit. And it was important as gas topped around $1.35 a gallon that year. Adjusting to today’s prices that was around $3 per gallon- something that we are all too sadly used to by now.
No one, of course, knew it at the time, but the CJ was nearing its long run. But in the meantime it was still a spartan ride. As standard equipment the CJ was equipped with free wheeling hubs, a 42 amp alternator, ashtray and cigarette lighter, steering damper, glovebox, gauges for oil pressure, temp, amp and fuel level, single note horn, rearview mirror, exterior mirrors, dual sun visors and a swing away spare tire carrier that was available only on the CJ-7 as opposed to the CJ-5s fixed rear carrier. There’s more, but its fun reading what considered a bit of luxury just 30 years ago.
There’s lots more from 1982 up next week and probably continuing into the following week so come back for the best of the jeep since 1940! In the meanwhile click on any of the thumbnails above to be taken to the full albums of images. And I included a couple of spare ads from 1980 as well. I absolutely love the red Gladiator ad!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

1980 Jeep Lineup Brochure

Ah, the 1980’s... they seemed to be a continuation of previous decades in many ways, but in reality they were a wolf in sheep’s clothing, changing the landscape and subtly altering everything that went before them. Ronald Reagan, the end of the oil crisis, the Iran hostages, the Cold War, a time when everything seemed to be teetering on the brink. Jeep was slowly but surely evolving into the forms that we associate with the modern day jeep. Maybe it has to do with me being a teenager in the 1980’s, but the jeeps of the 1980’s seem to be the modern jeeps with everything before them a sort of older ‘vintage’ jeep. Maybe I consider the technology to be the apex of the jeep, maybe to me these were the vehicles that adults drove when I was becoming a young adult. 
In any case the 80’s were a time of technological changes for many of the jeep models. The 4 cylinder “Iron Duke” was offered for the first time after the concerns of oil shortages. The CJ became the first conventional four wheel drive to break the 20 mpg barrier with an estimated 21 mpg/ 25 mpg highway. The emphasis on the pickups was also to make them more fuel efficient. Alot of it came in the form of weight savings along with the introduction of Chrysler’s new TorqueFlite automatic, the substantial use of aluminum in the components and for the first time the use of New Process (the wholly owned subsidiary of Chrysler...) gear boxes.
The Wagoneer and Cherokees received the same weight slimming treatment. The 3 and 4 speed Borg-Warner cast iron cases were replaced with a new syncromesh 4 speed T-176 with an aluminum case that were mated to the New Process 208 that replaced the Dana 20. The TorqueFlite was also available in the Waggy and Cherrys, but apparently not without some grumbling, but it was a lighter design.
This brochure is a gem of info as well as some beautiful photography. It seems to more than likely be a European sales model. Check out the Cherokee in front of the Arc de Triomphe! You can view the whole album here. Keep coming back for more. I have some things to share with you that will take us through the end of the 1980’s. Enjoy your summer and enjoy your jeep and don’t forget your dad today!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

1979 Jeep Wagoneer Brochure

The last of the 1970’s brochures is a brochure for the Wagoneer dating from 1979 and coming from Germany. Sorry, its all in German, obviously, but at least its visual enough to enjoy! And speaking of the visual, 1979 marked the year that brought a bit of a visual change for the front end of both the Wagoneer and the Cherokee in the form of a new single piece grille with horizontal bars and a swap to square headlights as well as a new more substantial aluminum bumper.
Couldn’t find a ton more of interest as regards this year so here’s a few option package prices. I always enjoy being reminded of how different they are from 35 years ago to what you could expect today.
The Cherokee S Package- $699
Cherokee Chief Package- $624
Cherokee Golden Eagle Package- $970
360 V-8 in the Cherokee- $274
A Turbo Hydramatic/ QuadraTrac for the Cherokee- between $396 and $549
Free Wheeling Front Hubs (Cherokee)- $105
Limited Slip Rear Diff (Cherokee)- $85
Bucket Seats With Armrests (Cherokee again)- $48
Convenience Group (Included remote control left exterior rearview mirror, electric clock, lights-on buzzer and intermittent windshield wipers...)- $83
Air Conditioning- $586 (!)
Power Steering- $226
Tinted Glass- $51
Roof Rack- $100
Tilt Steering Wheel- $76
Cruise Control- $105
AM/FM Stereo Radio- $241 (!!)
AM/FM/CB Stereo Radio with Tape Player- $367 (Wow! No 8 track?)
Enjoy and come back next week when we’ll get into the 1980’s with a more substantial offering! Check out the full brochure in the old jeep dealer items album here. Keep checking back for new t-shirt designs coming soon to the online store.