1980-1989

TAKING 4x4 CAPABILITY TO NEW HEIGHTS

The All-New Jeep® Cherokee (XJ) helped revolutionize the 4x4 market. The mighty XJ introduced many industry firsts, including: the first compact four-door SUV, first uniframe construction and first full-time 4x4 system with shift-on-the-fly capability.

A NEW SPORT UTILITY VEHICLE (SUV)

A second energy crisis in 1979 spurred the development of a smaller 4x4 wagon – the All-New Jeep® Cherokee (XJ). It featured a unibody design, compact dimensions and a suspension system influenced by the chief engineer of the Renault Formula 1 racing team. AMC recorded record sales in the '80s and discontinued the CJ-Series and introduced an All-New Jeep® Wrangler (YJ) in 1986. A year later, in 1987, American Motors Corporation was sold to Chrysler Corporation and the Jeep® Brand became a part of Chrysler Corporation’s Jeep/Eagle Division.

1980-1986 JEEP® CJ-5 LAREDO

Jeep History 1980-1986 Jeep CJ-5 Laredo

1982 Jeep® CJ-5 Laredo.

ELEVATED STYLE WITH CHROME ACCENTS

The Laredo package was offered in the CJ line from 1980 to 1986 but because the CJ-5 was discontinued after 1983, it was pretty rare in that line. The typical package included a chrome grille, bumpers, wheels, hood emblem and trim.

Jeep History 1980-1986 Jeep CJ-5 Laredo Advertisement

1980 Jeep® Laredo Advertisement

Since then, the Laredo name has carried on in several Jeep® Brand models until the current day, and has come to represent an upper-middle trim package with stylish accents.

1982-1986 JEEP® CJ-7 LAREDO

Jeep History 1982-1986 Jeep CJ-7 Laredo

1986 Jeep® CJ-7 Laredo with hardtop.

UPPING STYLE ON THE CJ-7

The Laredo package was offered in the CJ-7 line from 1982 to 1986. The typical package included a chrome grille, bumpers, wheels, hood emblem and trim.

Jeep History 1982-1986 Jeep CJ-7 Laredo with Hardtop

1986 Jeep® CJ-7 Laredo with hardtop.

Since then, the Laredo name has carried on in several Jeep® Brand models until the current day, and has come to represent an upper-middle trim package with stylish accents.

1981-1985 JEEP® CJ-8 SCRAMBLER

Jeep History 1981-1985 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler

1982 Jeep® CJ-8 Scrambler.

A STRETCHED CJ-7

After the CJ-6 was phased out in 1975, Jeep® Brand vehicle owners again clamored for more room. AMC answered with the CJ-8 "Scrambler." This small pickup truck was similar to the CJ-7, but featured a longer 103-inch wheelbase and featured a long rear overhang for increased cargo space.

Jeep History 1982 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler

1982 Jeep® CJ-8 Scrambler.

Componentry largely paralleled the CJ-7’s, though a V8 was never offered in the CJ-8, and six-cylinder Scrambler models could get the AMC Model 904 automatic transmission.

Jeep History 1981-1985 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler Front View

1982 Jeep® CJ-8 Scrambler.

Known internationally as the CJ-8, the open cab pickup was available in either soft top or hardtop configurations. A steel hardtop version of the Scrambler was exported to Australia, and the U.S. Postal Service in Alaska employed insulated panel-delivery Scramblers with automatic transmissions. Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan was popularly seen driving his Blue Scrambler at “Rancho De Cielo” ranch.

Jeep History 1981-1985 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler Towing a Boat

1982 Jeep® CJ-8 Scrambler.

The Scrambler was replaced by the similarly sized Jeep® Commanche pickup truck. Not a hot seller in its day, today the Scrambler is extremely popular among collectors and off-road builders alike.

1970-1987 JEEP® J-10 TRUCK

Jeep History 1970-1987 Jeep J-10 Truck

1982 Jeep® J-10 Honcho side step pickup truck.

NEW AND IMPROVED JEEP® PICKUP TRUCK

In 1971, the Jeep® Trucks changed names to either the J-10 (119-inch) or J-20 (131-inch) models. Improvements included front disc brakes, a new front axle, six-stud wheels and heavier frame cross members.

Jeep History 1970-1987 Jeep J-10 Truck Advertisement

1980 Jeep® Honcho truck advertisement.

The J-10 J-Series pickup truck line included the Honcho, Golden Eagle and 10-4 trim packages. All trucks shared the same body design as the Jeep® Wagoneer and Cherokee from the cab forward, and were offered with traditional slab-sided or step-side bodies.

1984-1991 JEEP® GRAND WAGONEER (SJ)

Jeep History 1984-1991 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

1984 Jeep® Grand Wagoneer.

A FULL-SIZE LUXURY SUV

In 1984, AMC transferred the Wagoneer and Cherokee names to the small unibody XJs. The full-size SJ Wagoneer was preserved until 1991, however, under the “Grand Wagoneer” name.

Jeep History 1991 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Final Edition Model

1991 Grand Wagoneer “Final Edition” model.

Marketed as a more luxurious SUV, it was also one of the last vehicles sold in North America with a carburetor. The 1991 model was available with a “Final Edition” badge on the dashboard. Considered “the gold standard of the SUV market”

1984-2001 JEEP® CHEROKEE (XJ)

Jeep History 1984-2001 Jeep Cherokee

1984 Jeep® Cherokee (XJ).

A TRUCK FOR THE MODERN FARMER

After its own market research convinced AMC that the future lay in compact SUVs, the automaker pumped $250 million into the design and production of the new compact XJ Cherokee and Wagoneer sports wagons.

Jeep History 1984 Jeep Cherokee Rear View

1984 Jeep® Cherokee.

XJ designs date back to 1978, when a team of AMC and Renault engineers drew sketches and made clay models from the existing SJ Cherokee, but the all-new XJ Series finally made its well-received debut in 1984, when it scored an unprecedented sweep of the 4x4 of the Year awards by three primary off-road magazines.

Jeep History 1987 Jeep Cherokee Chief

1987 Jeep® Cherokee Chief.

The 1984 Jeep® Cherokee was a revolutionary vehicle: 21 inches shorter, 6 inches narrower, 4 inches lower and 1,000 pounds lighter than the full-size Wagoneer (SJ). It was built with a revolutionary uniframe instead of a traditional chassis-and-frame.

Jeep History 1985 Jeep Cherokee with Snow Plow

1985 Jeep® Cherokee Chief.

The XJ was the first vehicle with two available 4x4 systems: Command-Trac® Part-Time and Selec-Trac® Full-Time 4x4. XJs have proven enduringly popular with 4x4 enthusiasts for their off-highway abilities and wide availability of aftermarket modifications.

Jeep History 1986 Jeep Cherokee

1986 Jeep® Cherokee Chief.

Until 1988, the Cherokee was the only compact SUV to offer both two- and four-door models. Originally fitted with the choice of a 2.5L four-cylinder engine or a 2.8L V6, the venerable 4.0L inline-six engine debuted in 1987.

Jeep History 1991 Jeep Cherokee Briarwood

1991 Jeep® Cherokee Briarwood.

There were 14 trim models throughout the years: Base, SE, Wagoneer Limited, Briarwood, Pioneer, Pioneer Olympic Edition, Chief, Sport, Country, Classic, Limited, Laredo, Freedom and 60th Anniversary Edition.

1986-1992 JEEP® COMANCHE (MJ)

Jeep History 1986-1992 Jeep Comanche

1986 Jeep® Comanche XLS pickup truck.

A SMALL XJ-BASED PICKUP TRUCK

The Jeep® Comanche (also called the MJ) was a pickup version of the XJ Cherokee. The Comanche pickup originally sported much identical running gear to the XJ, though you could get a 2.1L Renault I-4 diesel engine for the ’86 MJ model year.

Jeep History 1986-1992 Jeep Comanche Pickup Truck

1986 Jeep® Comanche XL pickup truck.

The Comanche was a uniframe vehicle, making it unique among pickups. It was available as the short-bed Comanche Sport Truck and the long-bed Comanche Chief. This marked the end of the Jeep® Brand pickup line that began in 1947.

1987-1996 JEEP® WRANGLER (YJ)

Jeep History 1987-1996 Jeep Wrangler

1987 Jeep® Wrangler (YJ).

A MODERNIZED WRANGLER

The Wrangler (YJ) replaced the long-lived CJ Series. It had a wider track, angled grille, rectangular headlamps and a modernized interior. All this made it a very “civilized” Jeep® Wrangler.

Jeep History 1987 Jeep Wrangler

1987 Jeep® Wrangler (YJ)

Although the Wrangler shared the familiar open-body profile of the CJ-7, it contained few common parts with its famous predecessor. Mechanically, the Wrangler had more in common with the Cherokee than the CJ-7. The Wrangler YJ had square headlights, which was a first (and last) for this type of Jeep® Brand vehicle. Wrangler trim levels included: Base (“S” or “SE”), Laredo, Islander, Sport, Sahara, Renegade and Rio Grande.

Jeep History 1994 Jeep Wrangler Sahara

1994 Jeep® Wrangler Sahara (YJ).

On Aug. 5, 1987, about a year after the introduction of the Wrangler, American Motors Corporation was sold to the Chrysler Corporation and the popular Jeep® Brand became a part of Chrysler's Jeep® / Eagle Division.

1984-1990 JEEP® WAGONEER LIMITED (XJ)

Jeep History 1984-1990 Jeep Wagoneer Limited

1985 Jeep® Wagoneer LTD.

AN UPSCALE CHEROKEE

The family-oriented Jeep® Wagoneer was a variation on the XJ Cherokee. It was sold in two trim levels: the Wagoneer and the Wagoneer Limited.

Jeep History 1984-1990 Jeep Wagoneer Limited Side View

1986 Jeep® Wagoneer.

Both Wagoneer models were distinguished from the Cherokee by their four headlamps, with vinyl wood side trim special to the Limited. The Base model had a higher level of trim than the Cherokee XJ models, but less than the top-of-the-line Limited.

Jeep History 1986 Jeep Wagoneer Limited

1986 Jeep® Wagoneer LTD.

The Jeep® Wagoneer was available with either the “part-time” Command-Trac® or a “full-time” Selec-Trac® 4x4 System. Command-Trac featured shift-on-the-fly capability allowing the driver to shift into or out of 4x4 while the vehicle is in motion. The sophisticated full-time Selec-Trac is engaged at all times and features a special viscious coupling that eliminates the binding, or “crow hopping,” that occurs when most 4x4s are operated on dry pavement.