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!

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