A championship winning 1988 Jeep Comanche Race Truck

This is the 1988 Jeep Comanche Race Truck driven by Tommy Archer in all 11 rounds of the 1988 SCCA RaceTruck Challenge – won four races and earned the Driver’s Championship with 156 points in total.

Pickup racing is a form of motorsport that may seem a bit odd to non-Americans, with the exception of Australians who have competed for decades. Pickup racing has a nationwide cult following in the United States and is still popular today.

Quick Facts – 1988 Jeep Comanche Race Truck

  • The Jeep Comanche was released in 1985 as a new pickup version of the popular Jeep Cherokee 4 × 4 SUV.
  • A significant number of changes were made to the Cherokee to create the Comanche, the rear was changed from unibody to body-on-frame, the rear suspension was redesigned to carry heavier loads, and of course the rear was changed to a pickup bed.
  • The Comanche proved to be popular thanks in part to its low sticker price of $ 7,049 – that’s only $ 17,760 in 2021 dollars. Chrysler bought out the AMC in 1987 specifically to get hold of the lucrative line of jeeps.
  • The 1988 Jeep Comanche you see here is a race car built by Tommy and Bobby Archer with the Jeep Motorsports team for the SCCA RaceTruck series. It is powered by a 2.5-liter inline-four along with a 5-speed manual transmission.

SCCA RaceTruck Challenge

The SCCA RaceTruck Challenge was a relatively short-lived racing series that ran from 1987 to 1991. The series featured race-modified production trucks that competed on road tracks throughout the United States.

Image descriptionAt the end of the 1988 SCCA RaceTruck Challenge season, the Comanche you see here had taken four victories and the championship thanks to Tommy Archer’s driving.

The designers who lined up trucks in the series were Nissan, Jeep, Ford, Dodge, Mitsubishi, Isuzu, Toyota, Chevrolet and Mazda.

The championship would be won by the Nissan D21 twice, in 1987 and 1989, the Jeep Comanche (shown in this article) in 1988, the Mazda B2000 in 1990 and the Ford Ranger in 1991.

The first major breakthrough came for the series when it was selected as a support event for the Trans-Am Series and CART, this gained exposure to a significantly larger audience of competition fans and helped its popularity.

After the SCCA RaceTruck Challenge ended in 1991, the NASCAR SuperTruck Series followed four years later in 1995. The SuperTruck Series is one of three national divisions of NASCAR that also include the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the NASCAR Cup Series.

Video above: This is the original TV coverage of the 1987 SCCA RaceTruck series, the resolution is low but it is enough to give you a good sense of what racing looked like. The sound is cut in and out a bit but it’s mostly there.

Pickup racing is still popular in the United States, but it is still a niche form of motorsport with a smaller audience than the more traditional NASCAR events.

Jeep Comanche Race Truck shown here

As mentioned in the introduction, this is not just any racing truck. It’s the modified Jeep Comanche from 1988 that was steered by the American racing driver Tommy Archer in the 1988 SCCA RaceTruck Challenge.

He drove this truck in all 11 races, won four of them and placed well enough in the others to win the driver’s championship – with 156 points in total ahead of second place Jeff Krosnoff in his Nissan D21.

Before any competition took place, the truck was modified by Tommy and Bobby Archer in collaboration with the Jeep Motorsports team.

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Image descriptionWith the obvious exception of the wheelchair and the racing seats, the rest of the interior looks largely layered. However, there is a discreet small brake bias selector next to the gear lever.

The car now has alloy wheels and lowered suspension for racing with adjustable swingarms front and rear. This is the 2 × 4 rear-wheel drive variant of the Jeep Comanche, and you will notice the long rear leaf springs mounted under the live axle – the Cherokee had its springs mounted on top of the axle.

The truck has front disc brakes and rear drums, there is a centrally mounted fuel cell at the rear for safety, and the inside of the truck has a wheelchair, racing seats with five-point seat belts, a fire extinguisher and a driver. side window network.

The power is provided by a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder petrol engine along with a 5-speed manual transmission, it is not mentioned in the list of any performance changes of the engine, but in stock trim it gave 121 hp and 141 lb ft of torque.

If you want to read more about this truck or register to bid, you can visit the list here, it is currently offered for sale at a live auction at Bring A Trailer out of Rocky Hill, Connecticut.

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Image descriptionThe truck travels on lowered suspension with adjustable sway arches front and rear, it has a wheelchair, racing seats with a five-point harness and a rear-mounted fuel cell.

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Images courtesy of Bring A Trailer

Jeep Comanche Race Truck

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