Extended Wheelbase: 1981 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler

The Jeep Scrambler CJ-8 was a long-wheelbase version of the popular CJ-7 and was produced between 1981 and 1986. At 103 inches, the wheelbase of the CJ-8 was 10 inches longer than the CJ-7. This helped to create a small pickup-style box instead of using a separate pickup bed. The “Scrambler” was an appearance package that included tape graphics and special wheels. This first-year Scrambler is a two-owner vehicle that’s being sold by a dealer in Lincoln, Nebraska. Available here on eBay, the pass-go price is $17,777.77 although an offer may be entertained.

By the time the CJ-8 came along, Jeep had already been in the American Motors fold for a decade. So, it’s not surprising that when an inline-6 engine was specified, it would be AMC’s 258 cubic-inch version that was good for 150 hp. Some of these vehicles were contracted by the Alaska Postal Service to handle mail delivery in some difficult-to-reach places at different times of the year. Also, former President Ronald Reagan owned one for his use on their California ranch. So, these little vehicles got around, with production in 1981 coming in at 8,355 units.

This ’81 Scrambler has been well-used even though only two owners are claimed. While the odometer reads 49,000 miles, the seller believes it’s been around at least once. We’re told that it runs and drives, and stops and shifts, but the seller doesn’t describe how well these functions are performed. As you would expect, the vehicle comes with a four-wheel drive and a manual transmission.

For a dealer, the seller doesn’t do a great job of taking photos, so parts of the vehicle sit in the shadows and only snatches of the interior or engine compartment appear in the pics. The exterior color is Moonlight Blue and we’re told there are a few rust spots although the thing is said to be generally very solid. The interior looks to be in rough shape, specifically the high-back bucket seats. You could restore this vehicle to its Day 1 condition or just fix it up some and drive it mostly the way it is.


  1. AndyinMA

    The silly prices continue. This thing will resurface someday as a roided out monstrosity.

    Like 3
  2. DavidH

    $17,777.77!? 🤔 no!

    Like 7
  3. Mike

    I agree that’s an insane price for that.

    Like 4
  4. NHDave

    A minor clarification: Ronald Reagan’s ranch Jeep was a ‘62 CJ-6, a civilian version of the military’s M170.

    Like 1
    • JustPassinThru

      He may have had one of those, too…but I’ve seen a photo of Reagan, in the driver’s seat of his Scrambler.

      FWIW…a bit of trivia. The ’72-75 CJ6 (with the stretched engine bay, for the AMC six) used the same 103-inch wheelbase as the Scrambler. Basically the same frame, with the Scrambler having a bit of a tail extension.

      The TJ-based Wrangler Unlimited (fans called it the LJ; but Jeep never used that designation) also had a 103-inch wheelbase. The frame was extensively changed or upgraded, by this time, for the coil springs of the TJ; but the Unlimited, with the Wrangler door cuts, was the same WB and length as the CJ-6. Yet the CJ-6 was never popular, except with foreign armies and police forces, but the Gen1 Unlimited is evergreen.

      Like 3
      • NHDave

        Yes, you are correct. I had forgotten about the ‘83 Scrambler that Nancy Reagan purchased for him. I was thinking of the older CJ-6 he acquired shortly after he bought his California ranch in the mid-1970s. Good catch.

        Like 3
    • Jay McCarthy

      He also had a CJ8

      Like 1
  5. cccruisers

    The Scrambler is a surprisingly capable off-roading Jeep. But at this price, I agree with the preceding commenter that it will languish unrestored until wasted away into nothingness. What shame that greed will do it in.

    Like 3
    • Riffraff

      @tim961 that one has a fiberglass body and a V8. His description states price at $22,000.00. Nice looking keep though.

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

    An overpriced Jeep on BarnFinds and no commentary from Howard… can someone please check on him? :)

    Like 3
  7. chrlsful

    wellness ck for nother ol guy (like me)~

    The alaskan postal is a close copy of the ford nxt to this in the 26Noc’22 edition of BF. Most I C R also over priced as the next over (bronk) is, but man, I’d love ta have one even tho only 230 or so were made. Some to Venezuela, most to the name sake (also called World Class’n others), some to Oz? Even gota site ta sell em:
    U can get every piece of a bronk (just like it’s 2 WD lill bro, the stang) but w/the cj8 U can get all that PLUS neat-o aftr mrkt goodies (strange 1/4’n 1/2 rag tops, different accessories, etc, etc). Jeep might B the vehicle w/the most of these products due to long history, continuous model (not many changes till goin 4dor) and off rd nature (more accessories). Good reason over my bronk for ownership.

    I’d still like a cj8 (bend upa world class top ona siding break from alu). Geta 1/2 rag and full rag top, toneau, tool boxes, 1/2 dors, snoop doors, rag doors, etc, etc . My barn would barely have room for the rig !

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