The Jeep Grand Wagoneer has such a cult forllowing you might expect ownership to require the ritual sacrifice of a virgin. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe '89 doesn't demand such lengths, but even with its Corvette motor, is its price too great to give up?
Grand Wagoneer owners are like the Scientologists of the SUV realm, their devotion to the marque bordering on the fanatical. Excellent examples of the long-serving Jeep are today widely sought for their robust mix of goanywhereability and a pastiche of the American can-do spirit.
Designed by the indomitable Brooks Stevens, and built under the auspices of three different owners over its 28-year model run, the Grand Wagoneer rivals Britain's Range Rover in its presentation of a luxury ride with serious off-road pretensions. Of course with the Range Rover wrapped its occupants in aluminium body work and fine leather and styling reflecting a European aesthetic, the Jeep is pure Americana - a Norman Rockwell painting on wheels that is a strong a representation of one's patriotism as a stars and stripes-clutching eagle tattooed on one's chest, or owning a bazooka.
The American expression of luxury has always been different from that of the rest of the world - based as it is in our wild-west traditions. When you've spent a month on the trail, eating nothing but prairie dogs and beans, and sleeping under the stars, a pile of buffalo chips your only pillow, then the lurid decor of a western town's bordello would seem the height of luxury. That's why, for the longest time, our cars and trucks, with their similarly garish velour upholstery, excessive chrome, and over-stuffed seating had been, until we learned better, the height of haute.
This white with woodgrain and maroon interior 1989 Jeep is a perfect example of both Wagoneer fetishists seek and that American gaudiness. But while appearing in mostly desirable shape - both its interior and exterior showing signs of light wear and tear - this particular Grand Wagoneer has an ace up its sleeve, or rather, a Vette under its hood.
From the factory, the '89 Grand Wagoneer came with
Chrysler'sAMC's 144-bhp 5.9 V8 and Chrysler 727 3-speed transmission. This one is no longer ‘factory' and those seeking matching numbers should roll their dice elsewhere. Instead of the expected 5.9, this Jeep has a 5.7 - an LT1 claimed to have been harvested from a 1994 Corvette. Behind that the seller says lives one of GM's 4-speed autos. He's not that builder, nor the consigner of the conversion, having bought the Jeep post-heart transplant. That could mean it has been handled properly, and in fact he does list a litany of updates that make it sound as such.
The Jeep has nearly 200k on the clock, which if your familiar with the brand will seem like it's just getting warmed up. The engine conversion is said to have about 50K on it, and neither the LT1 nor the 4L60E is known to be majorly problematic. Overall, the combo should make the Jeep a little more spritely and, as the seller claims, more parsimonious when it comes to the fuel.
As I noted, there's a patina of wear evident on this wagon - the seats showing some evidence of the many asses that have dropped into their pillowy confines. It's nothing that would warrant calling out the Hazmat team, but a good detailing might not hurt. On the outside, there's a couple of rust spots the seller says are already repaired, while everything else appears both in decent shape and as horsey as when it was first envisioned - back when Kennedy was president.
A quick trip to WagoneerWorld will give you an idea of what it's like to join the cult, and the prices noted in their Premier Jeep inventory section - or tithes as they should be called - are jaw-dropping to the unenlightened. This LT1-powered Grand Wagoneer comes with a Buy It Now of $16,500, which when compared to the values of other late eighties luxury 4X4s - I'm looking at you Range Rover - seems onerous. But when compared to other icons of the devotion might be seen as a miracle.
What do you think about this Grand Corvettoneer for $16,500, is that a price that could change your religion? Or, does this Jeep's seller going on faith alone?
H/T to rearended for the hookup!
Help me out with NPOCP. Click here to send a me a fixed price tip, and remember to include your commenter handle.