The Jeep® Brand's 4x4 leadership continues in the 70's with the introduction of the first full-time 4x4 system. The sporty two-door full-size Cherokee (SJ) sweeps the 4x4 of the Year awards. Six models help elevate sales to all-time highs.
THE AMC YEARS
In 1969, Kaiser Jeep started a “Jeep® Great Escape” advertising campaign showing the variety of recreational uses of Jeep vehicles. Kaiser Jeep sold the company to American Motors (AMC) in 1970 for approximately $75 million. Four-wheel-drive vehicles were becoming very popular – by 1978, AMC was producing 600 vehicles a day. In 1972, the Quadra-Trac® 4x4 System was introduced, the first automatic full-time four-wheel-drive system. In 1976, the Jeep Brand introduced the CJ-7.
DARING ADVENTURES BEGIN HERE
1970-1984 DISPATCHER JEEP® (DJ)
WALK-IN DELIVERY VAN
The Dispatcher Jeep® (DJ) was a two-wheel version of the popular CJ series. The vehicle resembled the CJ, but was different in many ways; it was completely enclosed, rear wheel drive only, included sliding doors, and included a swinging rear door.
1974-1987 JEEP® J-10 PICKUP
HONCHO MEANS “BOSS”
In 1971, the Jeep® Trucks dropped the Gladiator name. Later offerings were called J-10 (119-inch) or J-20 (131-inch). Improvements included front disc brakes, a new front axle, six-stud wheels and heavier frame cross members. 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. The 10-4 trim package was produced from 1974-1983. The1978 package consisting mostly of color choices and detailing, the 10-4 package also offered an optional, factory-installed CB radio.
In 1976, the popular Honcho model appeared and added $699 over a standard custom level J-10 shortbed. It was the truck equivalent of the wide-track Cherokee Chief and included two versions: the step-bed Sportside and the Townside.
The Honcho included gold striping on the bedside, fenders and tailgate, wide 8x15-inch spoker wheels and off-road tires, Levi’s denim interior, and sport steering wheel. The Laredo package replaced the Honcho in 1983. Produced in 1977-1983, the 1977 Golden Eagle package included a grille guard, driving lamps, pick-up bed roll bar, eight-inch wheels, Levi’s seats, accent stripes and an eagle hood decal–all for a $749 premium.
1974-1987 JEEP® J-20 PICKUP
NEW AND IMPROVED JEEP® BRAND PICKUP TRUCK
In 1974, 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.
J-20/J-30 pickups- the J-30 were the higher GVW (gross vehicle weight) rated trucks in the lineup, ranging in capacity from “heavy” half-ton to over one-ton capacity and even dual rear wheel configuration.
1955-1983 JEEP® CJ-5 UNIVERSAL
NEW AND IMPROVED JEEP® PICKUP TRUCK
Beginning in 1973, all Jeep CJs came equipped with AMC-built 304- or 360-cubic-inch V8 engines. Renegade models typically featured a 304 cubic inch (5L) V8 engine, stouter drivetrain, alloy wheels, and a Trac-Lok® limited slip rear differential.
Many special editions were offered, including the 1964-1967 “luxury” Tuxedo Park, the 1969 Camper, the 1969 “462”, the 1970 Renegade I, the 1971 Renegade II, the 1972-1983 Golden Eagle, and 1973 and 1976 Super Jeep®. A two-wheel drive version DJ-5 was offered through 1974.
A popular and enduring legend, the CJ-5 has probably logged more trail miles than any other Jeep® Brand vehicle. Spanning thirty years, the CJ-5 had the longest production run of any Jeep vehicle.
The CJ-5 / camper was marketed as a new camping concept. It featured a unique industry-first detaching system that made removal of the camper a simple operation.
1972-1983 JEEP® CJ-5 RENEGADE
SPECIAL EDITION 4X4S
Renegade models typically featured a 304-cubic inch (5L) V8 engine, stouter drivetrain, alloy wheels, and a Trac-Lok® limited slip rear differential. For 1976 AMC reintroduced the Super Jeep® (also offered in 1973). This unique CJ-5 featured special striping on the hood and seats, chrome front bumper, roll bar, 258 OHV inline six, black rubber lip extensions on the fenders, and oversize Polyglas white-walled tires.
A special run of 600 Jeep® Renegade II models with 200 each painted Baja Yellow, Mint Green, and Riverside Orange were produced in 1971. Also, 150 were finished in Big Bad Orange early in the run (not shown).
1975-1983 JEEP® CHEROKEE (SJ)
FULL-SIZE JEEP® BRAND 4x4
The new Cherokee was a sporty, two-door version of the Wagoneer and featured bucket seats, a sports steering wheel, and racy detailing designed to appeal to younger, more adventurous drivers.
In 1975, the Cherokee was offered in two body styles: the Cherokee wide-track with three-inch wider axles and fender flares, and the Cherokee with normal size axles and no fender flares. A four-door version of the Cherokee was available by 1977.
Besides the base Cherokee, options packages offered over its nine-year run included the Cherokee S, Cherokee Chief, Laredo, and Golden Eagle.
1975-1978 JEEP® CHEROKEE CHIEF (SJ)
AMC brought back the two-door Wagoneer as the youth-oriented Cherokee.
The new Jeep® Cherokee was a sporty, two-door version of the Wagoneer and featured bucket seats, a sports steering wheel, and racy detailing designed to appeal to younger, more adventurous drivers.
In January of 1975, the Cherokee Chief was introduced. The Wide-Track option was available with key upgraded interior and exterior features: exterior stripes, larger wheels, three-inch-wider axles, larger front and rear wheel cutouts, Dana 44 front and rear axles, and a nicer interior. The package retailed for $349 more than the “S” model.
Besides the base Cherokee, options packages offered over Cherokee’s nine-year run included the Cherokee S, Cherokee Chief, Laredo, and Golden Eagle.
1976-1986 JEEP® CJ-7
THE LEGEND CONTINUES
In 1976, AMC introduced the CJ-7, the seventh generation of the original vehicle and the first major change in Jeep® Brand design in 20 years.
The CJ-7 had a slightly longer wheelbase than the CJ-5 in order to allow space for an automatic transmission. The CJ-7 featured squared-off door openings vs. the CJ-5’s rounded door openings. A quick way to distinguish the two apart.
In 1978, Mark Smith, who is widely known as the father of modern four-wheeling, took a group of 13 modern explorers from Tierra del Fuego, Chile to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska in their Jeep® CJ-7 4x4s. The 21,000-mile trip took 122 days to complete and included a remarkable crossing through the Darien Gap, a stretch of hostile jungle that had only once before been crossed by the British military in 100 days with the loss of eight men. Smith and his men crossed the Darian Gap in 30 days and lost no one.
For the first time, the CJ-7 offered an optional molded plastic top and steel doors. Both the 93.5-inch wheelbase CJ-7 and 83.5-inch wheelbase CJ-5 models were built until 1983 when demand for the CJ-7 left AMC no choice but to discontinue the CJ-5, after a 30-year production run.
1970s JEEP® GOLDEN EAGLE PKG
TAKE FLIGHT IN A SPECIAL EDITION PACKAGE
The Golden Eagle option package was a $200 premium above the Renegade package. It originally included an eagle decal on the hood, larger tires, Levi’s Soft Top, rear-mounted spare, wheel lip extensions, spare tire lock, Convenience group, Décor group, tachometer carpeting and clock.
A 1980 Jeep CJ-7 Golden Eagle named “Dixie” was made famous by Daisy Duke on the popular show Dukes of Hazzard. The vehicle is now on display in the Dukes of Hazzard Museum in Nashville, TN. The CJ-5 Golden Eagle package was available from 1977-1983.
1963-1991 JEEP® WAGONEER (SJ)
CONTINUING THE TRADITION
American Motors Corporation acquired Kaiser Jeep Corporation in early 1970. The Jeep® Wagoneer continued to be refined and upgraded with many advances coming through the decade.
A new AMC360 cu in V8 and later 401 cu in V8 engine were introduced. The innovative Quadra-Trac® 4x4 system revolutionized the industry with full-time (no manual shifting) capability.
The Wagoneer Limited (1978-1979) was the spiritual successor to the Super Wagoneer and was later renamed the Grand Wagoneer. The Limited was the most luxurious 4x4 ever produced at that time. Road & Track magazine called it, “The Champagne of 4-wheel-drives.”