The all-new Jeep® Cherokee (XJ) introduced helped revolutionize the 4x4 market. The mighty XJ introduced many industry firsts, including: the first compact 4-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 uni-body design, compact dimensions and 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.

Taking 4x4 Capability to New Heights



















1980-1986 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.

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

1982-1986 JEEP® CJ-7 LAREDO

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.

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

1981-1985 JEEP® CJ-8 SCRAMBLER

A Stretched CJ-7

After the CJ-6 was phased out in 1975, Jeep® 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.

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

Known internationally as the CJ-8, the open cab pickup was available in either Soft Top or hardtop configurations. A steel hard-top 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.

The Scrambler was replaced by the similarly-sized Jeep Commanche Pick-up Truck. Not a hot seller in its day, today Scrambler’s are extremely popular among collectors and off-road builders alike.

1970-1987 JEEP® J-10 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.

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.


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.

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)

A Smaller Cherokee

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.

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.

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 unibody instead of a traditional chassis-and-frame.

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.

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 V-6, the venerable 4.0L inline-six engine debuted in 1987.

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)

A Small XJ-Based Pickup Truck

The Jeep® Comanche (also called the MJ) was a pickup version of the XJ Cherokee. 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.

The Comanche was a unibody 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 pickup line that began in 1947.

1987-1996 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.

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 vehicle.

Wrangler trim levels included: Base (“S” or “SE”), Laredo, Islander, Sport, Sahara, Renegade, and Rio Grande.

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.


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.

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.

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.