By on September 10, 2015


One day, two blue Jeep Renegades. I wonder which will be worth more in ten years. To be fair, I’m trying to compare apples to refrigerators here. The modern Renegade is a commuter appliance with some off-road pretense. The vintage truck here could be used for commuting, but is at home on the trails.

I can’t claim to be a Jeep fan. I live in Midwestern suburbia, where the most difficult terrain I’ll encounter is frost-heaved interstate in April. My weekends are spent hauling kids to sporting events, or occasionally, my golf clubs to the nearest cheap course, rather than hauling a big-tired rig to the forest. I’ve driven a Jeep exactly once, for about an hour, and I came away unimpressed with the on-road manners.

This Jeep, however, is special. Very few survive even ten years without serious modification, let alone thirty seven years. The seller claims this barn-find Renegade Levi’s Edition has never been modified, and by the photos, I can’t dispute that. That little red badge on the fenders might hold the key to collector value someday, too.

The denim seats are a bit cheesy, especially for a vehicle that is quite likely to see rain in the cabin. But unlike other “designer” cars of the Seventies — like the Bill Blass Lincoln or Oleg Cassini Matador — I can see this rolling across a stage at a big auction. I could even see myself owning it. The full-time all-wheel drive and automatic transmission, while less than ideal for hardcore off-road work, would make it palatable for my wife.

The automotive world is full of recycled nameplates, most of which fail to live up to their legendary predecessors. The Jeep legacy comes from decades of dependable service both in the military and for off-road enthusiasts. Modern commuter Jeeps trade on that legacy, and generally fail to live up to it.

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21 Comments on “Digestible Collectible: 1978 Jeep Renegade Levi’s Edition...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Authentic, that’s what this vehicle is. And a remarkably clean example, too.

    It is not a better Jeep than today’s Renegade, but you’ll never curse its pretentious 9-speed automatic.

  • avatar

    Nice enough condition but I wouldn’t pay $9200+ for it.

    Wow, eBay really needs a spelling / grammar checker. You can make a great drinking game looking for the gaffes in this ad: what is a “barn fine” – is that where court is held inside a barn? And 15-foot wheels – tough to find tires that fit. Everything they say about American education is true.

    • 0 avatar

      And it even comes with a wench! I have always wanted a Jeep wench, she would really come in handy out on the trails!

      Cute little thing though. I had no idea they ever made these with full-time AWD.

      • 0 avatar

        I didn’t know there was an AWD option either. Archaic QuadraTrack FTW! Also, I had no idea they were -this- spartan on the inside, just painted metal everywhere. They make a Defender look well-equipped.

  • avatar

    I wonder if this bizarre Jeep mystique would have existed if we hadn’t won WWII but maybe tied or lost a little.

    Who knows, if we’d totally lost maybe today German & Japanese car guys would be American & British car snobs.

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      G Wagens, Land Cruisers, and Land Rovers are all well respected, and all have lines of light truck built on their legacy.

      • 0 avatar

        Well, Land Rovers come from one of the victor nations even if it did cost them a “Mate, where’s me empire?” decade or six.

        Land Cruisers are the result of the Japanese capturing their enemy’s Bantam MkII jeep in the Philippines and the G-Wagen wasn’t even designed until 1972.

        So however well regarded the losers’ duo are they represent no continuity of self-congratulation as I think Jeep does.

  • avatar

    The “denim” is actually spun nylon, so probably not that bad to expose it to the rain. I always loved the various AMC Levis editions when I was a kid.

    • 0 avatar

      My big sister’s boyfriend had a Levis Gremlin with that faux-denim interior. Pimped-up with blue fog lamps and a some bad mural-type graphics—on the windows, possibly? I was 9. It was cool.

      • 0 avatar

        I had a friend who had an AMC Gremlin in the GFX or whatever the “sport” model was. Yellow with Levi’s interior. This was about ten years ago but still remember that special funk that oozed from the interior when the car had been sitting in the sun with the windows closed up.

  • avatar

    With gas under 2 bucks a gallon, the lousy fuel econ is no longer an issue.
    But the lousy on-road vehicle dynamics persist.

  • avatar

    When i was kid, that Jeep was so hip, it made soul ache.

  • avatar

    My mom drove an AMC Gremlin with the Levi interior. Damn brass buttons got hot in the summer sun. Burned a kids legs.

    • 0 avatar

      Not practical, but still the Gremlin to own today – or the Gremlin X.

    • 0 avatar

      You’re not having fun in the 70’s or 80’s until you’re scalded by something hot. Could be a Gremlin seat rivet, could be a Lite Brite, or perhaps the bulb on your sister’s Easy Bake, or a rusty and unpadded piece of metal playground equipment.

      Somethin’s gonna get ya.

  • avatar

    The Quadra-Trac 4 wheel drive was very capable off road. It had the ability to lock the transfer case so it would be like a regular part time system, and there was a low range as well, although that could have been optional, I don’t remember for sure.

  • avatar

    Were these types of editions marketed to women, like the Camaro Berlinetta? Given the AWD and the automatic, and “fashion” name, it would seem more soft and woman-friendly.

  • avatar

    An older Jeep Wrangler is a great second car, especially if you want a convertible but don’t like little sports cars. Few cars are more fun on a nice day than a dropped top Jeep.

    As a daily driver, particularly in family duty, a Wrangler makes no sense; it was not designed as a family truckster or commuter vehicle and is a poor choice for that job. But few vehicles will give you more grins than an occasional drive in a topless Jeep.

  • avatar

    The grammar is so bad. My eyes. A “Barn Fine”. The FONT and center “un”-justify. I actually scrolled to the bottom first to see if this was a Nigerian scam. It may still be (“Jeep ordered in Nigeria by my uncle who may be related to you as possible millionaire inheritance please kindly provide bank information to verify…”).

    Still, I am filled to the brim with want.

    The only thing better would be the Spirit of ’76 edition. The object of my childhood Jeep dreams.

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