QOTD: Missed Opportunities, Thy Name Is Grand Wagoneer?

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
qotd missed opportunities thy name is grand wagoneer

Today’s Question of the Day was generated by some comments on yesterday’s post regarding the new Jeep Grand Wagoneer. There, it was clear that two divergent camps of opinion were present regarding the model’s long hiatus.

Let’s explore this a little further.

In case you missed it, some spy shots have surfaced of the new Grand Wagoneer model in prototype form, as Jeep prepares to make its way back into the full-size, truck-based SUV market. Time for a history lesson.

Introduced back in 1963 when Kaiser Jeep was still an entity, the Wagoneer model debuted as a station wagon. Shortly afterward, four-wheel drive was added and the SUV began to take shape. Throughout the next couple of decades, increasing levels of equipment and power resulted in the birth of the Grand Wagoneer in 1984. The Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer birthed the American luxury SUV at a time when refinement was not the concern of truck and utility vehicle manufacturers.

In the days before the Range Rover, the Grand Wagoneer was family vehicle of choice for the well-heeled. Other full-size SUVs sprang up across the market from America, Japan, and England, as the Grand Wagoneer aged in place. 1991 was the final year of the old SJ model; Jeep decided not to offer a replacement for its full-size customers. Instead, in 1993 the Grand Wagoneer name was applied to a ZJ Grand Cherokee to create a top-line, wood-clad trim. Available for a single year, Jeep promptly gave up on the Wagoneer.

In the years following, the full-size SUV became the go-to vehicle for much of America when an uncool minivan just wouldn’t do. Names like Tahoe, Suburban, Expedition, and Navigator were joined later by Sequoia and Armada. And still Jeep did not field a competitor. Hundreds of thousands of luxury SUV sales later, and Jeep’s just now getting back into the game. We’ve worked our way back to today’s question.

Was the lack of Grand Wagoneer for all those years careful product planning and name preservation on the part of Chrysler, or was it an instance where a product ball was continually dropped? Vintage Wagoneers have big-time value to many people, in original or (especially) restored condition. Was that heritage and product segment worth ignoring for nearly three decades? Off to you.

[Images: Jeep]

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4 of 52 comments
  • Whynotaztec Whynotaztec on Nov 27, 2019

    FCA not introducing a GW while Jeep has been on a tear seems like a mistake, right up there with Hummer not being around for the whole Jeep/SUV explosion

  • Dal20402 Dal20402 on Nov 27, 2019

    In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the expensive private schools I then attended had a contingent of expensive parents who, unlike most of their expensive peers, chose to drive loaded Suburban Silverados. The old Grand Wagoneer was then seen as too out-of-date even for them, but I think a new one could have swung them from the Burbs. The issue is that neither AMC nor early 1990s Chrysler had a prayer of funding the development of an all-new SUV, and neither one had an existing platform that was suitable either. The best they could have done would have been a light facelift of the existing car with a modernized engine, which wouldn't have cut the mustard. Even today, the only reason we are getting a new Grand Wagoneer is because the pickup market has evolved sufficiently that it made sense to design a new Ram 1500 that could also serve as the basis for the Grand Wagoneer. That ... would not have worked with the '90s Ram.

    • See 1 previous
    • DweezilSFV DweezilSFV on Dec 01, 2019

      @JimZ Hmmm. Sounds like the Journey platform would make a great Grand Wagoneer, Jim Z !! They could get another 20 years out of it since it's only 11 right now.

  • ToolGuy 404 error on the product link. Which probably isn't terrific marketing on TTAC's part. https://thinkwarestore.com/product/f200-pro-ca
  • ToolGuy Second picture: Do you like pegboard storage? (I don't.)
  • ToolGuy "WHAT???"(old 'I was in the artillery' joke)
  • ToolGuy Oh and this.
  • ToolGuy "The boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Hillingdon, and Harrow have likewise announced plans to take legal action to force a possible judicial review..."But: "In Hartford, Hereford, and Hampshire... Hurricanes hardly happen."