With roots that culminated in Kaiser’s and AMC’s engineering skills, the last 1987-1991 Jeep Grand Wagoneers made its name in history as one of the first luxury SUVs. In an era dominated by the American station wagon, the Jeep Grand Wagoneer shook the car scene like a full-size vehicle with a truck-like capacity, with all the comforts of a passenger car, preferring brands like the Land Rover to take over in the 1990s.
1987-1991 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Overview
AMC introduced the Grand Wagoneer for the 1984 model on the existing SJ platform, which had been in production since 1963. The SJ platform, which also supports Jeep trucks and previous Wagoneer iterations, consists of a robust step-type frame with solid axles at the front and behind. On top of it was the more traditional carriage-style body known to American families. As the company’s flagship, the Grand Wagoneer came loaded with large amounts of standard features. Electric seats, electric window lifts, electric door locks, leather interiors, sound systems with six speakers, air conditioning and digital clock were all just some of the features included in the Grand Wagoneer’s base price.
With a platform called an unusual choice to support the most expensive offering and in fact the only luxury vehicle on the market that contained such a suspension set, the Grand Wagoneer had immediate sales success after launch. The already profitable Jeep brand was an integral part in 1987 when Chrysler acquired the newly started AMC. Chrysler continued production of the Grand Wagoneer until 1991, further updating the vehicle with features such as a trip computer, sunroof and even infrared remote locks.
1987-1991 Jeep Grand Wagoneer driveline and performance
A 5.9-liter AMC ‘360’ V8 was the only engine offered in the Grand Wagoneer. The engine, introduced in 1970, provided the Grand Wagoneer with only 144 horsepower. However, the engine was explicitly set for low torque and provided the Grand Wagoneer with 280 lb-ft of torque, which meant that the 4,100-pound SUV reached 60 mph in just over 14 seconds. Chrysler continued production of the powertrain unchanged after the AMC acquisition, including retaining the use of a two-pipe carburetor instead of adding fuel injection. The Grand Wagoneer became one of the last gasified vehicles sold in the United States.
Chrysler also retained Grand Wagoneer’s four-wheel drive “Selec-Trac”. Unlike full-size competitors that still required a solid hand to maneuver the gearbox via a lever manually, the Grand Wagoneer took a more dignified approach in line with the rest of the vehicle’s luxury aspect. Drivers could easily switch between two- and four-wheel drive while driving with an easy-to-operate vacuum switch placed on the dashboard. Consumers did not even have to switch to neutral either, which allowed drivers to turn on a switch if driving conditions became difficult.
As one of the first SUVs, a significant selling point for the Grand Wagoneer was that it could do the job as a half-ton truck and a family car. When equipped with the towing package (optional), the Grand Wagoneer is rated with a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds. The package included a transmission cooler to facilitate heavy towing and pre-cabling for a trailer brake system.
1987-1991 Grand Wagoneers unique features
Following the acquisition from AMC, Chrysler immediately added some additional features to the Grand Wagoneer, one of which was the overhead console. A digital screen served as a trip computer on the front of the console. It also has readings for outside temperature and the direction you are heading. Behind it is a built-in garage and door opener, as well as a sunglasses holder.
Among the other options added during the Chrysler era was a solar-powered glass roof. The sunroof has two-way capability, although buyers had to forgo overhead storage when it was optional. Buyers can also choose an infrared locking system with a remote control.
1987-1991 Grand Wagoneer pricing and production
The Jeep Grand Wagoneer was the first luxury SUV, and its original MSRP reflects its outstanding quality. With an initial base MSRP of $ 29,065 ($ 57,979 with inflation), Grand Wagoneer was targeting the rich. It managed to attract buyers with a production series of 49,243 units during the last four years of production. Many of these original buyers still cling to them today, as Grand Wagoneer has built a reputation for being mechanically bulletproof.
Among collectors, the last Grand Wagoneers have become famous recently, with perfect examples that brought in over $ 70,000 at auction, not only as a collector’s item but for the same reason that attracted buyers to it from the beginning. Today, buyers can find a Grand Wagoneer with “driver condition” for an average of $ 29,000 at auction. Consumers looking for a Grand Wagoneer should not wait, however, as values steadily increase by 6 to 9% per year, as pure examples become harder and harder to find.
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