Junkyard Find: 1981 Jeep Wagoneer

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1981 jeep wagoneer

The Jeep Wagoneer was made for about 180 years (OK, actually just 28 years), going through three corporate owners during that period. This is only our second Wagoneer Junkyard Find (after this late-in-the-game ’89), though I walk past many more every time I hit my favorite Denver wrecking yard. This ’81 grabbed my attention with its super- Malaise-y purple paint, so here we go!

Gas prices doubled again? Emission-control regulations got your big-displacement V8 making 130 horses? Add more tape stripes!

I’m not even going to look up the power figures for this AMC 360 V8, because they would just get us all depressed.

This could be a genuine Wagoneer Brougham, but the distinguishing Broughamic features are no longer present.

Under Chrysler, these trucks were built into the 1990s, stretching from JFK’s presidency to the dawn of the World Wide Web.

Shielded by THE PROTECTOR!

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5 of 19 comments
  • NoGoYo NoGoYo on Jun 27, 2013

    Would a modern Mopar Hemi fit into that engine bay? If I ever find a Jeep J truck that's not rotted into oblivion, I plan to give it a new Hemi heart.

    • See 2 previous
    • Hutch1200 Hutch1200 on Jul 09, 2013

      NoYoGo, congrats on having 1 of 5 non mineral deposit J trucks! http://www.fourwheeler.com/techarticles/engine/129_1004_engine_swap_kit_buyers_guide/http://www.fourwheeler.com/techarticles/engine/129_1004_engine_swap_kit_buyers_guide/ Check this out and look up American Expedition Vehicles. They put hemis in Wranglers, so they might be able to hook you up w/a simplified harness & mounts. Good luck!

  • Jhefner Jhefner on Jun 28, 2013

    I don't recall seeing any of these in person. I do remember the Tonka Wagoneer toys; saw several of them over the years.

  • ToolGuy 38:25 to 45:40 -- Let's all wait around for the stupid ugly helicopter. 😉The wheels and tires are cool, as in a) carbon fiber is a structural element not decoration and b) they have some sidewall.Also like the automatic fuel adjustment (gasoline vs. ethanol).(Anyone know why it's more powerful on E85? Huh? Huh?)
  • Ja-GTI So, seems like you have to own a house before you can own a BEV.
  • Kwik_Shift Good thing for fossil fuels to keep the EVs going.
  • Carlson Fan Meh, never cared for this car because I was never a big fan of the Gen 1 Camaro. The Gen 1 Firebird looked better inside and out and you could get it with the 400.The Gen 2 for my eyes was peak Camaro as far as styling w/those sexy split bumpers! They should have modeled the 6th Gen after that.
  • ToolGuy From the listing: "Oil changes every April & October (full-synth), during which I also swap out A/S (not the stock summer MPS3s) and Blizzak winter tires on steelies, rotating front/back."• While ToolGuy applauds the use of full synthetic motor oil,• ToolGuy absolutely abhors the waste inherent in changing out a perfectly good motor oil every 6 months.The Mobil 1 Extended Performance High Mileage I run in our family fleet has a change interval of 20,000 miles. (Do I go 20,000 miles before changing it? No.) But this 2014 Focus has presumably had something like 16 oil changes in 36K miles, which works out to a 2,250 mile average change interval. Complete waste of time, money and perfectly good natural gas which could have gone to a higher and better use.Mobil 1 also says their oil miraculously expires at 1 year, and ToolGuy has questions. Is that one year in the bottle? One year in the vehicle? (Have I gone longer than a year in some of our vehicles? Yes, I have. Did I also add Lucas Oil 10131 Pure Synthetic Oil Stabilizer during that time, in case you are concerned about the additive package losing efficacy? Yes, I might have -- as far as you know.)TL;DR: I aim for annual oil changes and sometimes miss that 'deadline' by a few months; 12,000 miles between oil changes bothers me not at all, if you are using a quality synthetic which you should be anyway.