The ad for today’s Nice Price or No Dice Jeep says the truck needs some work but that it’s all “relatively easy fixes for someone who knows what they’re doing” Let’s find out if this Cherokee’s price will make you feel like you know what you’re doing, should you choose to buy it.
Of the surviving Detroit automakers, none has had a more convoluted history than the one we used to know as Chrysler Corporation. Over the years it has been through numerous adoptive parent and child brands, with each new family reimagining the company product line in one way or the other. One notably successful example of those many shuffles was Chrysler’s 1987 purchase of American Motors, the parent of Jeep.
Back in the day, however, Chrysler was just Chrysler and the company shepherded such solid brands as Plymouth and Dodge, with little differentiation separating them.
Yesterday we looked at a survivor from the era of Chrysler being Chrysler — a 1972 Dodge Dart Swinger. It came with a presentation as solid as its pedigree, however, and an $8,000 price tag as well. That price was enough to call into question the whole Swinger lifestyle. In the end, the question was answered in a 60 percent No Dice loss.
Hey, I have another question for you. Are you David Tracy? Check your wallet for an ID — driver’s license, AutoZone discount card, anything will do. OK, you’ve checked and you’re not David, right? That’s not a problem, I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t preaching to the choir by presenting this 1990 Jeep Cherokee two-door with a five-speed manual transmission. You see, this is the kind of truck David likes. Maybe a few of you will like it, too.
There is, in fact, a lot to like here. That starts with the wonderfully eclectic purple-and-gold paint scheme. I’m not sure if that’s from the factory or it’s a respray, but it sure is funky. Beneath that is a two-door body, which has always been less common than the four-door. It’s also less practical, owing to restricted rear-seat access and fixed back windows. Call me Sherlock, but that’s probably why it’s less common.
The mechanicals are fairly uncommon as well. The engine is the expected 4-liter 177 horsepower inline-six, but it’s backed up not by an automatic, but by a five-speed manual sourced from Peugeot. Command-Trac part-time 4WD takes it from there.
The whole shebang comes with both a clean title and a mere 130,000 miles on the clock. Now, you’re all thinking, this seems way too nice for something Tracy would park in his yard to vex the city, what’s the catch?
Here’s the catch:
The paint is really nice, except one spot over the passenger side door. It will need floor pans replaced. Front brake rotors are scored, and brake booster leaks pressure at idle. The front left wheel clicks (sounds like a U-joint) and it also has an exhaust leak.
Despite those seemingly daunting demands detailed in the ad, the seller claims that they are all “relatively easy fixes for someone who knows what they’re doing.” The ad further asserts that the truck “Will make a great low-mileage, reliable daily driver to the right person willing to fix the issues it has.”
Who is that right person? Well, obviously someone with access to things like a plasma cutter and TIG welder. Also, someone who is not afraid to get a little grease under their nails.
Fun fact: Getting those dark moon crescents under my fingernails is the one thing I freaking hate about wrenching on cars. It’s the singular bane of my hobbyist existence. Yes, I have adopted wearing latex gloves, but that has traded the nail annoyance for full-hand skin wrinkling from sweaty palms, which is almost as bad. Alas, I digress.
Unlike Monday’s Pathfinder, this Jeep rides on a unibody structure so those holey floor panels will be kind of important in keeping it all together. On the plus side, at least the rest of the truck around all the issues still looks pretty nice.
That includes the interior, which seems to have held up well and features front seats the Cherokee shared with the Renault Alliance/Encore. Yes, it’s all in need of a sweep and maybe some Simple Green, but it’s totally workable.
The drivetrain is claimed to be in working order as well, at least separate from the issues detailed. There’s also the point of all the stickers and rear-view mirror hangings to consider. From those, it’s apparent that the seller has an appreciation of cool cars. In the ad’s pictures, we do get to see an old MGB GT, a Mercury Sable (yes, those are cool), and something under a cover that could very well be the object of all the Datsun stickers. Wouldn’t you like to at least go visit this seller to chat them up?
If you’re going to do that, you may as well also consider taking on the Cherokee. To do that, you’re going to need to bring along $2,500 to get the conversation started. That’s the asking price, and while it’s at the high end of the Tracy Jeep spectrum, it’s actually way low for a working and running Cherokee, especially one kitted in this Jeep’s fashion.
Does that work, though? What do you think, could this needy Cherokee really work out to being worth that $2,500 asking? Or, does it just need too much?
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