Cleanest Example? 1978 Jeep Cherokee Chief

Given the time period in which I grew up, I face the frequent reality that my life has been spent in the back of various blasé SUV’s- Lexus, Toyota, Honda, etc. However, my parents’ generation spent their time in the back of a real “sport utility vehicle”. This 1978 Jeep Cherokee Chief, found here on eBay, is a pristine example of such early SUV’s, where utility was still the number one priority.

The exterior of this Chief seems to match the claimed 37,000 original-mile claim, however, the interior seems far too clean for the supposed Southern-California heritage. The seat covers look comfortable regardless, and I would still have no qualms about driving such a truck.

Being a 1978 model year, this Cherokee maintains the older lights derived from the late 60’s and early 70’s Jeepster Commandos. The stripes seem to be in excellent shape, and present (and support) the theory that this truck may have been lovingly garaged its whole life, unlike many other examples. If you look closely, you will also spot what appears to be a period dealer license plate surround- a nice piece for an incredibly solid truck.

When discussing SUV’s, the question of storage space frequently comes up. This Cherokee, however, is not lacking in that department. A truck style tailgate retains the utilitarian origins of early Jeeps but carpeting makes the area far more civilized. Would you be willing to empty your retirement account to fund a museum-quality SUV?


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  1. Rube Goldberg Member

    California is about the only place you’ll find a truck that looks like this. Like all 4×4’s north of the 35th parallel, they were terrible rusters. IDK, seems like a lot of work for something with only 36K miles. As usual, I don’t buy it. Still, nice Jeep tho.

    • Rube Goldberg Member

      also,,,8-10 mpg. Pulling something, gallons per mile. :0

  2. Steve R

    Some of those new parts hint that it might have spent a fair amount of time sitting, possibly in the sun. It would have been nice to see the color of the license plates.

    It does look nice, someone spent a lot of time detailing it.

    Steve R

  3. XMA0891

    To my eye anyway, forty one years later, this design continues to hold it own against anything on the road in 2018. All hindsight is 20/20, but it still makes one wonder why AMC couldn’t keep going.
    The curse of rotting away aside, these trucks just rule in my book. Optioned out the way the customer wanted: Full-size, V8, manual transmission, two door, vinyl floors, crank windows, A/C. What a world it was that we once lived in…
    She’s a beauty – Great find!

    • James Keller Member

      I absolutely agree. The original Cherokees’ design is fantastic.

    • Snidly

      AMC just didn’t have the sales and couldn’t keep up with the big three. Although they were, in many ways, a superior truck, Jeep just didn’t have the money to advance their product. The affiliation with Renault was supposed to bring them a new car line, but instead was the death knell of the company, with cars that disintegrated compared to US cars of the same era, which ran forever but never well. The baby Cherokee of 1984 used some pretty terrible GM engines, but the 258 would no longer pass emissions (revamped as soon as they got Chrysler’s money into the 4.0 and stuffed into everything). AMC, just like the great but failing companies that which were joined together, but were never able to gain the clout and compete. It was a truly sad day when AMC/Jeep ceased to exist.

      • That AMC Guy

        Actually the 258 was used for several more years in the Eagle and Wrangler (Eagle through 1988 model year, Wrangler through 1990), so it was not emissions that kept the 258 out of the Cherokee. I’ve read that the lead designer, François Castaing, disliked the 258 (possibly wanting a more European type design) and deliberately made sure the new Cherokee would only accept more compact engines. So the early models were only offered with the then-new AMC 2.5 4-cylinder or a GM 2.8 V6, aside from a handful of Renault diesels. Later the Cherokee engine bay was redesigned to accept the 4.0, which could be considered the ultimate expression of the Rambler Six.

        Despite the problems with the Alliance, AMC was starting to turn a profit and was poised for a possible comeback when Renault president Georges Besse was assassinated in November of 1986 by militants, at least in part for laying off workers in France while the company was pumping funds into AMC. This may well have been a factor in Renault’s accepting Chrysler’s buyout offer in 1987. (And you thought the UAW was tough!)

    • AMXBrian

      You can blame Renault, Chrysler, and the death of Georges Besse.

  4. Paul

    For all the time detailing it you would think they would air up the left front tire. Looks almost flat.

    • Dusty Stalz

      I have similar boots on my Jeep. Even at 42 psi they still look like that. Took a while to get used to.

      • Nrg8

        Blow that picture up on a big screen those tires are dry rotted and cracked. They are unsafe

  5. Alan

    I do have 2013 Grand Cherokee SRT8 I bought new its Not my daily driver has only 5400 miles!! This original Survivor 78 Cherokee is in my favourite list of must buy classics!

  6. Will

    This vehicle is a FRAUD and is far from all original. Several indications including a talk with the seller conclude that the odometer has had to have rolled over. The decals are wrong for the year, they dont line up like they should, its been completely repainted, the interior isnt original and there are a lot of missing photos that should be shown such as the engine and the chassis. The price reflects an original Cherokee Chief and this is far from it being portrayed as an all original Jeep

    Like 2
    • BOP Guy Member

      I had a 78 just like this one, a Golden Eagle, with the 360, only tan/gold with the black decals. I bought it in 1990 to move to San Diego to college for $1200. Loved that truck!
      I was thinking the same thing Will. Decals seem off, and so do the front seats. Would want some documentation for the current price of $26k+ !

      • BOP Guy Member

        Actually $23,800. I like it though. Wish they weren’t so expensive. Good luck Alan !

    • Dan in Texas

      If you read the ad, he does not claim originality, except for the white paint under the car. But it is worded very carefully to try and trick you.

  7. Jack M.

    Hey, is that Alan from Beirut?

  8. William Sanders

    Typical crooked ebay seller, pumping up the bids with fake accounts.

    Like 1
    • Alan

      I am Not typical ebay seller. I am a classic car collector in Beirut LEBANON. Stop Judging others and I am Not required to make you believe me. I Dont care about your Indifference

  9. joeinthousandoaks

    Nice Jeep and it’s bringing the money

  10. Snidly

    Alan, I am not saying you are intentially misrepresenting, but I genuinely believe you do not know what you are looking at. This Cherokee is not what you think it is, but it appears to be a very nice one. The stripes are from a ‘79-80, likely when this truck was restored 10-15 years ago, I know for a fact that you couldn’t buy the correct stripes from 1976-78. It’s been painted (hardware painted that shouldn’t have been, missing emblems, incorrect paint (not matt) up high, painted hood latch, and who knows what else. interior is nice but incorrect (front seats recovered, very close, but not quite right), wheels repainted and missing stripe, aftermarket audiovox stereo, Buyer beware. Although this is a very nice truck from 20’ and likely closer, I’d be worried about what hides underneath the pretty. Mileage could even be correct, but I am an FSJ expert, and can guarantee the vehicle it is not what it appears.

    Like 1
    • LastCJ

      Agree with Snidly. Definitely not all original. It’s a repaint with wrong graphics. Just go to Phoenix Graphix ( to see the right ones. 1975-78 stripe/lettering should be along the bottom not middle of the body.

      I can see why someone would pay up for this. It’s in great condition for a restoration and will be nice for years to come. It’s just not factory correct.

      Oh, and no engine pictures because you can definitely tell a 137k mile engine bay from a 37k mile engine bay.

      Like 1
  11. guggie

    I had one of these back in the 80s , loved it . Ex wife got it in the divorce !!
    Always wanted another one , never found one I liked !

  12. Buick Fan

    Everyone I’ve seen had cloth interior…did they offer vinyl in that generation?

    Like 1
  13. BOP Guy Member

    My Golden Eagle had like a denim-type upholstery. And the more I think about it, it wasn’t a 78, it was a 79. Wish I would’ve kept it!

    • Snidly

      BOP guy, want another? I have a ‘79 Sable Brown Golden eagle project truck.

      Like 1
      • BOP Guy Member

        Dang, I wish ! If I bought another project I’d get my ass kicked here at home. Thanks for the offer though!

        Like 1
  14. chad

    compare to FJ60 or whatever the 4 dor Toy was at that time. B a toss up today, no?

  15. Nrg8

    Wow up to 30k, someone is gonna be disappointed when they get down there. Well lets start at the top, all that gloss black is supposed to matte. There is a wear mark on the roof where the top glass meets on the right side roof. California car, rear window defrost? All the latches have have been painted. Wrong stripe kit, passenger side is crooked. Wheel flares are supposed to be matte black outer 2 inches. Alloy wheels? hmm wearing original correct Bf Goodrich tires, if you have a monitor large enough they are all sidewall cracked and unsafe, and basically your first stop is the tires shop. Audiovox wasn’t factory. That list of of work and parts wow! transfer case chain and seals redone with only 37k, but never off road. Door lock gromets and the rest of the seals, yet says “Clearly this truck has lived its whole life in a garage”, but yet new seals everywhere. Stainless is dinged up on the winshield. That blinding white hides so much till you are there, probably full of runs. No engine shots? front and rear main means pan has been off, oil pump? I really feel bad when somebody gets double fisted, no a 30k truck IMO. I hope the high bid has actually done a personal inspection, laid eyes, or had a unbiased 3rd party give it a once over. Cause for that money, coming to your house by transport, or flying in to drive it home I would be just sick about it. Interior is nice, no floor pan shots. Paint IMO is 50 footer. Good luck its just my opinion.

    Like 2
    • Snidly

      Yeah, this truck is definitely a double fister. Nice, but not worth more than 10-15 at the VERY top. God knows what hides under the paint. I’m pretty sure it’s a 137k mile truck. The seller never answered me here, wouldn’t answer me on eBay either. Also, reported it to eBay as fraudulent to keep someone from a $30k screwup, but nothing worked. I feel really bad for someone. This truck has everything wrong on the listing.

      Like 1
  16. Uber Alice

    Front tire still needs air.

  17. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    To much for me! Ended: Jan 27, 2018 , 4:00PM
    Winning bid:US $32,000.00
    [ 43 bids ]

  18. Ryan Hilkemann

    I had one once, it reminded me of the flintstone mobile you could see right through the floor it was so rusty! I got rid of it and bought a cherokee s instead that I still have today.

    Like 1

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