At $7,500, Is This 1977 Jeep Wagoneer ‘Barn Find’ A Barn-Burner Of A Deal?

Nice Price or No Dice: 1977 Jeep Wagoneer
Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or No DiceIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

The ad for today’s Nice Price or No Dice Jeep Wagoneer cites “Minimal Rust” as a top selling point. That’s usually code for lots of rust, but as the photos don’t show any obvious Swiss cheese maybe it really is worth mentioning. Let’s see if that also makes it worth its asking price.

Let us take a moment to appreciate a job well done. In the case of the 1994 Mercedes Benz E320 Estate we considered yesterday, we have to offer those kudos twice over — once for the seller’s well-presented ad and a second for the well preserved and maintained car offered in that ad.

The presentation of car and ad went a long way in making our job a little easier. That, of course, was determining if the seller had done yet another great job while setting the car’s asking price. At $5,500, that seemed to be the case, as the Benz earned a heady 78 percent Nice Price win.

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Photo: Craigslist

Not every car or truck can be as clean and tidy as yesterday’s Mercedes. Sometimes, that’s not a big deal. With certain vehicles, you might even appreciate a bit of age-related patina. Just as with a pair of favorite old blue jeans, that can impart a sense of comfort and contentment.

Today’s 1977 Jeep Wagoneer has just such a patina. Based on the description, that shabby-chic overcoating was gained through both use and disuse. The seller says the Jeep is a “BARN FIND” that is “FULL OF FACTORY OPTIONS.” The ad additionally asks that we “PLEASE REVIEW PHOTOS AND VIDEOS.” Now, I’ve looked a couple of times and I can’t find those promised videos, so I guess we’ll have to let the seller down on the second half of that request.

The pictures do tell a story though. The truck looks to be solid despite the seller’s multiple pronouncements that it has “*MINIMAL RUST.” They even use an asterisk there as though the descriptor demands a footnote.

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Photo: Craigslist

The undercarriage appears solid with no evidence presented of pop-through or frame decay. That’s not to say that there isn’t some sort of creeping crud lurking. It could be hiding under the incredibly nasty looking floor covering that’s been laid throughout the cabin. It’s difficult to tell if that is actual house carpeting, the sort of jute underlayment you sometimes find under that carpet, or just some hippie’s bedraggled hair woven into a filthy mat. Whatever it is, it should most likely be treated as one would the floor of a college dorm shower.

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Photo: Craigslist

Even if pulling that floor covering out reveals some of this “minimal rust” the seller describes, that shouldn’t be too big a deal. These are pretty easy to patch as long as the ladder frame beneath remains uncompromised.

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The bodywork looks reasonably straight and complete with just a wonky front bumper to mar the overall look. The paint is not original, a fact made obvious by opening any door. The original beige pokes through the Earl of Scheib black, but overall the truck just looks well-worn, not beat up.

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Photo: Craigslist
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As noted in the ad, the Jeep has been sitting for some time. The seller says that a shop was able to get the 360 V8 to crank but not to start. From the look of that engine, some of the work included a new distributor cap and plug wires. It’s hard to tell if anyone has monkeyed with the carb, but it’s a safe bet that any non-start issue could be traced to skunky gas or clogged jets.

That’s a big issue though, isn’t it? If the engine doesn’t run then it’s impossible to tell if the three-speed automatic and Quadra-Trac AWD system work as they should. Those can cost serious bank if something major has gone wrong.

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It should be noted, by the way, that this Jeep has an aftermarket disconnect for that Quadra-Trac AWD system, activated via a knob in the glovebox. That’s a neat feature, but again, something else to test to ensure functionality.

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Photo: Craigslist
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On the plus side, the Wagoneer is said to have a clean title. Hopefully, it’s been on non-operation status since it has been parked. The registration tag on the back license plate is blue, which is the color California uses for years ending in 4 or 9. That means it could have been tagged as recently as 2019. Considering the ad’s description, that tag is more likely from 2014 or 2009.

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Photo: Craigslist
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Mileage is listed as 36,202 but there’s no verification that the odometer hasn’t rocked around the clock at least once.

The asking price for this mystery machine is $7,500, which is way off what you might expect to pay for a classic Wagoneer were it in pristine driving shape. What do you think, could that price prove to be a great deal with just a little sweat equity thrown in to get the truck up and running? Or, do the unknowns — especially that elusive minimal rust — outweigh this Jeep’s appeal?

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You decide!

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Los Angeles, California, Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to FauxShizzle for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOND. Hit me up at rob@jalopnik.com and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.

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DISCUSSION

I get the appeal for these, and the price doesn’t seem too bad..... BUT....

If it's in this good a shape I'd figure I could pay a shop another $500 to get the engine running. And cleaning it up a bit would go a long way. That little bit would net me thousands in sale price. The fact that these steps haven't been taken makes me wonder what is being covered up and/or ignored....