Junkyard Find: 1983 Jeep Cherokee

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1983 jeep cherokee
Because we still see them all over the roads today, the still-in-production ( in China) XJ Cherokee is the best-known Jeep Cherokee. However, AMC made a two-door version of the original SJ Wagoneer, called it the Cherokee, and built it for the 1974 through 1983 model years (just to confuse things, a four-door SJ Cherokee was added to the mix a few years into production).We saw an XJ Cherokee Junkyard Find a couple of weeks ago, and here’s a final-year-of-production SJ from the same Denver self-service yard.
You wouldn’t be wise to drive this big ol’ four-wheel-drive truck, with its primitive early-1960s suspension and 170-horse engine, at speeds exceeding 85 mph, but these Malaise Era 85 mph speedometers still irritate me when I see them. 154,887 miles on this truck, with its unusual-for-the-era six-digit odometer.
This truck has some nice custom fighting (or kissing) eagles etched on the side glass.
If you like an interior with every possible shade of brown, this is your truck.
There’s no serious body rot, but this CB antenna mount didn’t do the finish any favors.
Let’s try to imagine this truck when it was shiny and new… and about to be replaced by a much smaller and more modern successor.
The claim of 20 highway mpg in the ’80 Cherokee seems, well, optimistic. Still the “We wrote the book on four-wheel-drive” line is a winner.
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  • Chets Jalopy Chets Jalopy on Dec 14, 2015

    It looks so pathetic in the top picture. It's like someone knocked its friggin glasses loose.

  • Honda_lawn_art Honda_lawn_art on Dec 29, 2015

    I had one of these as my first car. A 1978 in 1998, it was still shiny. Made me very popular around school but that's also where someone hit it and it was totaled. After that I got a Dodge Shadow and was never cool again. With "texas" tires it was worthless in the snow or mud. It had no low range but did have a center locker of sorts. They were cobbled together; AMC engine, Ford carb, GM TH350, Dana axles, and so on. It'd do 75, more probably, but at those speeds you could actually watch the fuel gauge drop down. If you put at least 12 kids in one the inside front wheel will chirp during turns.

  • Scott ?Wonder what Toyota will be using when they enter the market?
  • Fred The bigger issue is what happens to the other systems as demand dwindles? Will thet convert or will they just just shut down?
  • Roger hopkins Why do they all have to be 4 door??? Why not a "cab & a half" and a bit longer box. This is just another station wagon of the 21st century. Maybe they should put fake woodgrain on the side lol...
  • Greg Add me to the list: 2017 Sorento EX AWD w/2.0 Turbo GDI 68K miles. Changed oil religiously with only synthetic. Checked oil level before a rare long road trip and Ievel was at least 2 quarts down. That was less than 6 months after the last oil change. I'm now adding a quart of oil every 1000 miles and checking every 500 miles because I read reports that the oil usage gets worse. Too bad, really like the 2023 Tuscon. But I have not seen Hyundai/Kia doing anything new in terms of engine development. Therefore, I have to suspect that I will ony become a victim of a fatally flawed engine development program if I were to a purchase another Kia/Hyundai.
  • Craiger 1970s Battlestar Galactica Cylon face.