California 4×4: 1975 Jeep Cherokee

Like most vintage SUVs, the Jeep Cherokee SJ has become a symbol of classic styling and has increased in popularity dramatically over the past several years. While the Jeep Wagoneer had similar features, the Cherokee SJ was built from 1974 to 1983 and designed to be a more “sporty” 2-door version of its Wagoneer cousin. This one is a nice example from 1975. It can be found here on eBay with a current bid of over $8,000. Located in Franktown, Colorado, the ad says it is originally from California. While it has a few bumps and bruises, it is a nice example of an original paint survivor. Let’s take a closer look at this vintage 4×4.

If you were a kid in the mid-seventies, this might be your view as your family set off on an adventure. I can imagine this wagon full of camping and fishing equipment with a canoe tied on the roof and a dog poking its head out of the back window. The interior looks fairly clean. The ad doesn’t have too many details on what is original and what has been refurbished, but the gauges look original. The back seat will need to be recovered, but overall, the interior is suitable for daily driving.

There were several engine options available in the Cherokee SJ including an inline-six and three V8’s. For better or worse, the original engine in this Jeep is gone, and in its place lies a 350 Chevy. The mouse motor is backed by a Turbo 400 transmission. While some Jeep purists will balk at the fact that the engine has been swapped, a 350 is a decent choice for convenience’s sake.

I’m guessing the suspension has been recently upgraded along with new wheels and tires. You can see from a photo of the suspension that the springs and other components look brand new. Overall, this is a really cool-looking Jeep that would be a fun off-road rig. What do you think?


  1. Mike Miller

    Looks like a nice example. It appears to be a Cherokee S model, narrow track like the Wagoneer as it doesn’t have fender flares- the easiest way to differentiate from the Chief models. These NT models are rarer than the wide track Chiefs.

    Like 5
  2. Stan

    Very cool rig. No complaints for the powertrain. I think jeeps like this may have used the gm 400turbo trans as oem ?
    Id like to see a more stock transmission shifter.

    Like 5
    • Mike Miller

      Yes, many of them had the TH400 3 speed- my 77 has this tranny. The manual trannys had a big long stick shift, the knob was way up by the stereo, trucker style!

      Like 2
  3. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    Was the chrome lug nut on the end of the column shifter a standard option or special order?!? Either way I’d make this a daily commuter in a minute-the attitude deficient/anal retentive drivers in those metric buzzbombs and overpriced station wagons (I.e., SUV’s) would think twice before tangling with this beast in heavy commuter traffic, especially when equipped with a sizable trailer ball hitch, nerf bars and a serious brush guard! 😆

    Like 3
  4. Steve Clinton

    2 door Cherokees are very hard to come by, so this one is worth the money, dents, and all.
    Watch the value of these Jeeps skyrocket any time soon!

    Like 1
  5. Lothar... of the Hill People

    So that’s where my old living room carpet ended up…
    Sharp rig. Bet it’s fun to drive.

    Like 2
  6. Howard A Member

    My personal experiences aside on these, there aren’t as many out here as you might think. Literally a slew of XJ’s, but not many of these. Why? Oh, wait, personal experiences aside,,right. This sure is a nice one, I wonder what accessories don’t work on it, if all the windows go up and down, the wipers, the seat adjust, heater fan switch, blinkers, gauges,,oops, ,sorry, , there I go again,and don’t be surprised if you get the 1 finger salute from Native-Americans. A while back, a group of Native-Americans got together out here, to protest the using of the name “Cherokee” plastered on the side of a truck. I say it’s an honor, they don’t think so. I believe Jeep told them to go pound sand,,,,,

    Like 5
  7. G Lo

    I love the fact that the interior dome light cover is the same one in my ’98 Wrangler Sahara’s hardtop.

  8. FordFixer Member

    Had one of these bought new in 78, non Chief, NT, with a 360 and 3 speed. Pretty basic with roll up rear windows and doors. ( no AC!) But great for family, dogs, and traveling over Red mountain and Lizard head passes. Finally had to trade for a Waggoner with air. Tough rigs, and usually trouble free. I carried an extra ignition box or two with these guys.

    Like 1
  9. Rw

    People call these Razor grills, because grill looks like old skool electric razor.

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