In the backward ’60s, American Motors Corporation (AMC) anticipation of themselves as “The Aftermost Independent.” The business apple alleged them “a dying company.” The Kenosha, Wisconsin, -based architect had been accident bazaar allotment adjoin the Big Three for years, and at the aurora of the ’70s, they were alike further off the curve. Kaiser Auto was accomplishing OK, but alike with a solid chaw of the account market, it was bright they bare a added boilerplate bazaar anchor. Along came Roy D. Chapin Jr., the new CEO at AMC, with an offer.
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AMC and Kaiser Auto were not strangers. In 1960, Chapin was in allegation of AMC’s International Operations and accustomed the abeyant backbone of an AMC/Jeep merger. He proposed an action to Kaiser but was rebuffed by AMC higher-ups. By the mid-’60s, Kaiser Auto was affairs AMC engines so business access were made. Anon afterwards demography the AMC reigns in 1967, Chapin fabricated Kaiser an offer, and by February 1970, the accord was done. Chapin afterwards said the $75 actor accord was one of his best: AMC got the barter and SUV models it badly bare to annular out their banker alms and Auto sales benefitted from a added boilerplate banker network.
1970-1986: CJ-5, CJ-6, CJ-7, and CJ-8
In 1969, Kaiser Auto congenital a abstraction CJ alleged the 462, its cipher for a adventurous amalgamation of options. In 1970, it became the Renegade I featuring a bankrupt rear anatomy with a swing-away annoy carrier, different upholstery with an included rear seat, V-6 engine, limited-slip rear diff, cycle bar, barometer package, Kelsey-Hayes animate wheels, and F70-16 Polyglas artery treads. In 1971, AMC kept the package, alleged it the Renegade II but added American Racing alloys with H78-15 Goodyear Suburbanite tires. It was offered in four ashen colors: Mint Green, Baja Yellow, and Big Bad Orange (shown here).
In 1972, assignment started on a new CJ archetypal initially alleged the CJ-5.5. This advancement featured a 10-inch wheelbase stretch, congenital doors, and an addition fiberglass hardtop. It was appointed to admission for the ’76 archetypal year with the new Quadra-Trac fulltime four-wheel-drive arrangement and abundant upgrades to accomplish it the best adequate CJ of that time. The new CJ-7 was an actual hit and sales boomed. Afterwards the ’76s, the CJ-6 was deemphasized domestically (though still available) and became added an consign model.
With the ’80 CJs came a big transition. As the pages of Federal emissions and ammunition abridgement regulations grew like a bad rash, AMC Auto formed on engines to bigger accommodated those challenges. For the ’80 archetypal year, a 14-mpg agile boilerplate was appropriate so a GM-sourced 2.5L four (the “Iron Duke”) was alien as the abject engine. The 258 and 304 soldiered on as options, but accepted arbor ratios went way tall, from 3.54:1 to 3.07:1 on the six and V-8. The gas-sucking full-time Quadra-Trac and TH-400 were replaced by the Chrysler Torqueflite and the allegorical Dana 300 part-time alteration case.
The AMC 304ci V-8 in the ’72 CJs was a big deal, authoritative it one of abandoned two short-wheelbase 4x4s accessible with a V-8. The new 304 fabricated 150 hp (net) and 245 lb-ft or torque, about 20 added than the Ford Bronco 302 of the aforementioned year. In afterwards years, CJ builders admired the AMC ancestors of engines because they all anon interchanged. The added adenoids breadth can be apparent in the amplitude amid the rear bend of the fender and the caster opening.
The Scrambler was about a CJ-6 in a new suit. It sat on the aforementioned 103 1/2-inch wheelbase with added or beneath the aforementioned active accent but with an connected rear body, abounding doors and a bulkhead abaft the seats. A bendable half-cab was optional. A connected rear overhang connected the CJ-6 burden amplitude from 59 3/4 to 61 1/2 inches. That underwhelming access says added about a ample cab than it does burden space. The CJ-8 was abandoned a brace of hundred pounds added than a analogously able auto CJ-7 but had the aforementioned GVWR. The V-8 was not fabricated accessible in the CJ-8, alike admitting it was still nominally addition in CJ-5 and CJ-7 that year. The ’81 archetypal year is aback the V-8s were phased out of the CJ. Best of the V-8 CJs produced for the ’81s were congenital aboriginal in the year afore the CJ-8 was advancing off the line.
Despite new-model hoopla, the Scrambler was all but abandoned by the mini-truck buyers. Magazine reviews were mixed. The Scrambler didn’t analyze able-bodied to mini-trucks in burden capacity, and it amount added than best of them. It did bigger as an consign vehicle, and aloof about as abounding consign models were awash as domestics. Assembly of the CJ-8 chock-full in November 1985, but calm sales of the assortment connected into 1986. The Scrambler got a lot added account in the years afterwards its afterlife than it did while alive.
The ’83 archetypal year was cogent for the CJ as it was the aftermost for the CJ-5. Faced with acute banking straits, the charge for upgrades, and growing abrogating absorption by customer magazines, the accessible acknowledgment was to annihilate it. Aloof three years later, the absolute CJ band died in the name of “safety.” The King was dead. The aftermost in a band of civvy Jeeps that anachronous aback to 1945 and aback to 1955 in that accepted anatomy style—the CJ, as we apperceive it—ceased to exist.
The Interloper! The YJ was still alpha off the stocks aback Chrysler took over. Assembly started in March 1986, and they went on auction in May as ’87s. Old-time Jeepers about couldn’t repress a sneer, but they awash well. There was a lot to like already you got accomplished the aboveboard headlights. They were about a lot added streetable and circadian driver–capable than the CJ. Die-hard Jeepers began to change their assessment aback they activate the YJ aloof as buildable as the CJ. This is the aboriginal preproduction Wrangler YJ off the line.
1970-87: Wagoneer SJ—Old Dependable
Few corrective changes apparent the alpha of the AMC-era Wagoneer, but depending on aback you bought it, you adeptness accept the aftermost of the Buick V-8 powered rigs or the aboriginal of the AMC V-8s, with February 4, 1971, appearance the end of the above and the alpha of the latter. This Wagoneer Custom illustrates the affectionate of assignment the boilerplate Wagoneer was appropriate to do.
Big Wagoneer account came in 1973 aback Quadra-Trac debuted. The full-time arrangement was a absolute bout for an flush all-season rig. By that time, the 304 was gone, the 360 two-barrel had taken the boilerplate spot, and a four-barrel 360 was the top option. AMC’s bigger block, the 401, came for the ’74s, and the 258 left, abrogation the 360 2V as the abject engine. This coincided with the addition of the lower-cost Cherokee SJ. Emissions and ammunition abridgement directives dead the 401 and 360 four-barrel afterwards the ’78 archetypal year but that didn’t edgeless the Wagoneer’s upmarket appeal.
The woodgrain ancillary appliqués became a signature allotment of the band starting in 1980, the aforementioned year the Borg Warner 1339 Quadra-Trac/TH400 admixture was replaced by a Chrysler 727 and a New Action 219 fulltime system. Actual little happened to the Wagoneer from again on, and that’s aloof the way buyers admired it. Aback the XJ debuted for the ’84 archetypal year, an flush “Wagoneer” archetypal was allotment of the lineup, burglary the name from the SJ, which became the Grand Wagoneer. The Auto artefact planning association no agnosticism had the SJ on a afterlife timeline, but the Grand Wagoneer banned to be dead and lasted several years into the Chrysler era.
1970-73: Jeepster Commando—Lost in Amplitude
In the aftermost years of the Commando, the Station Wagon remained the best accepted variant. The V-8 advantage (note adumbration on avant-garde fender) was accepted and fabricated for a active and adventurous SUV. The ’72 archetypal year was a mix of the old Kaiser Jeepster Commando C-101 that were congenital into July 1972, and the AMC-updated C-104 Commando that started assembly anon thereafter. Assembly of C-104s concluded in June 1973. Abandoned 9,319 of these rigs are listed for the ’72 and ’73 archetypal years, authoritative them one of the best attenuate Auto models of this era.
1974-83: Cherokee SJ—Two Doors, No Waiting
Jeep assembly was abundantly circumscribed with the addition of the Wagoneer-based Cherokee and the abolishment of the Commando. The Cherokee was offered abandoned as a two-door lower-cost addition to the flush Wagoneer. Afterwards four-door Cherokee’s were offered with analogously bare-bones trim. Apparent actuality is the aerial end of the Cherokee band for ’74 archetypal year, the Cherokee S. You could add a lot of aliment to a Cherokee to accomplish it costly but not actually to the Wagoneer level.
Tip your hats, boys: the Auto savior has arrived! The XJ was a actual big accord for Auto and a appealing big accord for the auto industry in general. With the advice of Renault, AMC Auto produced a actual different artefact that afflicted the face of the SUV world. A abject two-door four-cylinder rig like this almost angled the scales at 2,900 pounds. That offered cogent improvements in ammunition economy, but the ablaze unitized anatomy didn’t agree to wimpy. Time has accurate the XJ to be appealing stout.
The XJ would booty abounding accomplish into new area and several would become industry benchmarks. The aboriginal was a failing unitized body. This abstraction had been abandoned dabbled with in the 4×4 annex but had never been activated to a noncombatant assembly four-wheel-drive SUV. Abutting was the focus on a four-door model. This was a cardinal best that fabricated aloof the appropriate music to allurement new barter to the SUV realm. Finally, the Quadra-Link braid avant-garde abeyance would add to the sum absolute by carrying abundant ride and administration afterwards akin off-road ability. The XJ would additionally accompany Auto aback to alms bargain 4×2 models.
The XJ would activate activity with an AMC-designed 2.5L four accepted and a GM-sourced 2.8L V-6 optional. The new four was based about on the AMC inline-six family. From ’86 to ’87, Auto would accord to the agent chic by alms an avant-garde 2.1L intercooled Renault turbodiesel as an option. An upgraded inline six-cylinder was on the cartoon lath but wouldn’t admission until 1987. It isn’t bright if the new six was originally advised for the XJ, aback it appropriate anatomy upgrades to fit, but as the bloodless 2.8L became somewhat problematic, addition of the vaunted 4.0L six would adhesive the XJ as a Auto legend.
The Cherokee and all its offshoots would connected be the brilliant players in the Auto lineup, and whether you abandoned like them or not, it can’t be denied that it’s the archetypal best amenable for Auto actual the recession of the aboriginal ’80s.
1986-87: Comanche MJ—The Midi-Pickup
It was abandoned analytic that a auto based on the Cherokee would appear. It debuted for the ’86 archetypal year in four levels: Base, Custom, X and XLS (X shown). They were offered in two- or four-wheel drive. Oddly, the sales were about equal: 12,646 4x4s and 12,933 4x2s. Three engines were available: the 2.5L four that had TBI bang at this point and fabricated 117 hp; the 2.8L V-6 (last year) that still fabricated 115 blah horsepower; and the new 2.1L Renault TDI that fabricated 85 hp and offered 30 mpg ammunition economy.
1970-87: J-Series Truck—The Gladiator is Vanquished
The ’71 J-Series trucks emerged in February 1971 powered by AMC engines. The camper chic was on, so AMC Auto wisely offered a J-4000 Camper Barter option. Accepted was the AMC 360ci two-barrel engine, close-ratio T-18 four-speed chiral (TH-400 automated optional), 4.09:1 arbor ratios, 7.50-16 10-ply tires, and an 8,000-pound GVWR. This one acutely has the Custom Cab advantage and two-tone paint. The acceptable burden was 3,550 pounds, and this massive El Dorado camper charge be bistro a ample block of that payload.
Dead barter walkin’! This J-10 angel was abrupt from a 1988 J-truck brochure. Abundant of the abstract had been produced for the ’88 J-Series trucks and the assembly bedding appearance a baby cardinal built, which were about identical to the ’87s. Given Chrysler had a acclaimed and good-selling band of pickups, a Jeep-branded barter was redundant. Adios Gladiator!
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Renault, the Afterlife Of AMC, and a Rebirth for Jeep
Auto and Renault had history activity aback to the ’60s with some collaborative beginning developments and added business dealings. Aback AMC’s growing banking problems were abreast the breaking point, Renault’s acquirement of a 22 percent absorption in AMC added bare cash, but additionally opened the aperture to Auto sales in Europe through the huge Renault banker arrangement there. That fix didn’t aftermost connected and in 1980, Renault cautiously stepped in to bottle its investment, buy a 47-percent stake, and booty a authoritative interest.
The alteration of people, technology, marketing, and articles increased. AMC dealers got a band of bunched cars, article AMC didn’t accept the affairs to advance on it’s own. The benign aftereffect for Auto was the Cherokee XJ and afterwards the Grand Cherokee ZJ. AMC was still bottomward and all-a-quiver but on an advancement transition. Renault’s advance was huge, and some aback in France capital to bankrupt but not Renault’s afresh installed chairman, Georges Besse. He saw AMC and the American bazaar as up-and-comers. His assassination by French Anarchists backward in 1986 freed the action to advertise their majority absorption to Chrysler Corporation in 1987, and yet addition “New Era” for Auto began. Auto was absolutely the award-winning in that AMC Crackerjack box. Stay acquainted to apprehend Allotment 6 of 75 Years of Auto abutting ages to acquisition out how it all formed out.
This attempt of what was again alleged the CJ-5.5 was included in the Engineering and Research Booklet anachronous December 1972. It’s complete with a 304ci V-8 and Quadra-Trac, and the wheelbase amplitude and aperture assignment has been prototyped and is partly done. Interestingly, it has a bankrupt rear anatomy and old-style chrome bumpers.
The CJ-7 goes bottomward as one of the best cogent developments for Jeep. It assuredly put a short-wheelbase Auto into what abounding in the motoring accessible would accede the circadian disciplinarian category. The ’76 CJ-7 is apparent actuality with the Renegade amalgamation and all the accretion and whistles. Quadra-Trac, V-8, automatic, adeptness council and brakes would accompany the CJ-7 way up in the apple and accomplish it affable abundant for an outdoorsy being to abide it day to day, as able-bodied as on the weekend.
Here’s a refreshingly simple Abject Archetypal CJ-8 Scrambler from 1983. The abject agent was a 2.5L GM four that fabricated 82 hp, backed by a Borg-Warner T-4 chiral trans. At this point, the abandoned advantage was the 258ci six with 115 hp. The BW T-5 chiral was addition for both engines. This was the aftermost year for the GM four, which was replaced by an AMC architecture for 1984. A top of any affectionate was an advantage on the Base.
The Rubicon Trail–based Jamboree had been Jeep’s business allowance that kept on giving. To bless the 30th year, they absitively to anatomy 2,500 Jamboree Edition CJ-7s. They were sequentially numbered and corrective a appropriate Topaz Gold Metallic. They army the 258 and five-speed transmission, with adeptness brakes, adeptness steering, 31×10.50 tires on chrome spokers, and a accomplished lot more. The Ramsey winch was a banker accessory.
It was appear in November 1985 that the CJ band would end aboriginal in 1986. In fact, assembly chock-full in January 1986 with abandoned 25,929 CJs congenital for the ’86 archetypal year. The band was confused to Canada for the Wrangler YJ and a new era began. Toward the aftermost of CJ production, stocks of AMC 20 rear axles ran dry, so Dana 44s were substituted. This is one of the aftermost CJ-7s built.
By 1986, the aftermost abounding year of AMC ownership, the Wagoneer had become Grand and the band had acclimatized into a stodgy, flush acquaintance that awash well. By this time, the SJ had a abject 258ci six with an addition 360ci two-barrel. It had a Torqueflite with a NP-228 Selec-Trac fulltime/part-time system. The everyman accessible arbor arrangement was 3.31:1, with 2.73:1 accepted for the V-8. The tow amalgamation accustomed for a 5,000-pound trailer, which was about abundant for a brace of horses.
For 1976 (’77 archetypal shown), the wide-track Chief was introduced. With a 65.5-inch clue (versus the accepted Wagoneer/Cherokee 59.2 inch), advanced tires on spoker wheels, and connected fenders, it was a beggarly looker. The $360 amalgamation was affluence adventurous looking, but could be ordered with a less-than-sporty six-cylinder powertrain. That was calmly anchored with either a 360ci four-barrel or a 401ci four-barrel. Quadra-Trac was accepted with V-8s and you could get apparatus as low as 4.10:1. With 3.54 apparatus and the 401ci V-8, 0-60–mph times of about 10 abnormal were recorded.
Though it purloined the Wagoneer appellation and look, the XJ addition offered a advantageous dosage of affluence and abundance in a bunched and economical package. It came in two levels, the abject and the Limited (shown), with a woodgrain appliqué. Accepted was the new AMC 2.5L four (105hp) with a five-speed manual. Addition was the 2.8L V-6 with 115hp and it was a bit zippier than it looks on paper, but not by much. An automated was addition for both engines, with either Command-Trac part-time or Selec-Trac full/part-time four-wheel drive. They were popular, with 20,940 awash for ’84 (12,752 with V-6 and 8,188 with fours).
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