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Low Mile 1985 Jeep Cherokee Chief 5-Speed!

This 1985 Jeep Cherokee Chief is a desirable two-door model with the preferred 5-speed manual gearbox. The Chief was mostly a cosmetic dress-up package, with unique upholstery, exterior decals, and an AM/FM radio. While it’s not necessarily exceedingly rare, the details here – like the graphics on the lower edges of the doors – make it a standout and a model that ties in nicely to the “rad” era of vehicles that’s gaining in popularity. The stripe kits, decals, and square body design make this Cherokee Chief the quintessential 1980s SUV. Find it here on eBay with a Buy-It-Now of $6,500 and the option to submit a best offer.

There’s a Cherokee Chief just like this sitting in a salvage yard near me. I’ve always wanted to save it, mainly because the Cherokee Chief logo on the bottom edges of both doors is in near-perfect condition. I realize that’s a silly reason to buy anything, especially a mass-produced SUV, but so few remain with details like that preserved to any meaningful extent. The bodywork looks fairly sound on this example, aside from a piece of bumper trim that got tweaked. The seller acknowledges there is one accident in its history file, but he can’t find any evidence of anything more significant than a light bumper bash.

The interior is in very nice shape, and the original three-spoke Jeep steering wheel looks sharp against the crack-free dash. The bucket seats present well with no tears or any other surface-level damage, and the same goes for the console and armrest. The seller notes he found the Cherokee locked in a garage after years of storage, where it hadn’t run since 2013. He was able to get it running again and made a drive on metro New York highways! The brakes are weak so he used the emergency brake to get home (kudos to you, sir – you’ve got a greater appetite for risk than I do.) The mileage, a tick below 40,000, is believed to be genuine.

While it’s not in mind-blowingly clean condition, it’s pretty decent overall and looks about right for a 40K mile vintage truck left in storage for seven years. The spare tire mount is a Cherokee staple, and it’s somewhat hilarious to see now, realizing how much storage space this arrangement chewed up. The trunk carpets are very clean, another possibly good sign that the Cherokee wasn’t abused and forced to haul all sorts of nastiness to the dump. Buy it for the decals; keep it because it’ll outlive you with the most basic of maintenance. If nothing else, a low-mileage, two-door Cherokee with a manual gearbox will always be in demand, and the Cherokee Chief kit makes it even more desirable – you can’t lose with one of these.


  1. Howard A Member

    Maybe a million, 40K. Now I’m certainly not blaming the writers, they have their job to do, but you can’t possibly believe this has 40K. This is one tired Cherokee. I like these, my brother put hundreds of thousands on one, very popular out here, and one of the 4×4’s I have considered if I go the 4×4 route, except, everyone I look at has no less than 200K, and most need everything, and I just got done with that with the GMC. Great trucks, but 40K? I don’t think so.

    Like 9
    • mike

      I never believe low mileage claims on vehicles with a 5 digit odometer in most cases, unless it’s a car your grandparents would drive to church and back. Like a full sized four door sedan for example.

      Like 4
      • David Taylor

        I have a Ford Transit Connect that is my primary vehicle and it has just over 33,ooo TRUE miles. Did I forget to mention I am in mid 80s and leave my farm only when necessary – local shopping, trips to VA, etc. Couple times a year trips to Houston to visit daughter. That’s about it. That jeep mileage could be similar.

        However, that side damage and out-of-shape rear bumper indicates – – –

        Let’s see – $6500 to BIN + $1000 FOR SHIPMENT TO HERE + $2000 to repair body damage + $a bunch to fix bumper, especially if it does indicate frame damage + $500 to repair brake system + $Texas Tax-Title-License registration. That makes a total of almost $11,000 IF nothing else needs fixing.

        don’t even drive to church every Sunday any more. That’

        Like 2
      • CJinSD


        Isn’t your Ford Transit Connect no more than a dozen years old? This car is about three times as old, so your lightly used small van has accumulated mileage about three times as fast as this Jeep.

        Like 1
  2. AnalogMan

    Totally agree with you Howard_A. Even though it has a 6-digit odometer, there’s no way I’d believe it was 40k actual miles (unless those were very hard, stored outside the whole time, tough miles). Speedometer heads can be replaced without much effort.

    Periodically you run into sellers that have something they think is in clean condition, maybe has its original paint, and they think they can pull off chopping 100k miles off of reality in a sale. It’s just another reminder of why it’s so important to see an old car *in person* before buying it, and the risks of buying something old sight unseen off the internet.

    Like 7
    • Sam

      I have owned two of these, both with bullet proof I 6 motors. This is a four cylinder truck. No where near powerful enough. NO! on this one…

      Like 0
  3. Jaydawg7 Jaydawg7

    Agree with you guys, it’s pretty hammered on the outside too. I didn’t see any mention of a 4.0? The only reason that I wouldn’t pass on this one.

    Like 1
    • That AMC guy

      I don’t think the 4.0 debuted until the 1987 model year. For 1985 a Cherokee would have either the AMC 2.5 liter four or the Chevy 2.8 V6. (The 4-banger is the preferable of those two engines by far and the eBay listing says that’s what this one has.)

      This one basically looks OK if it’s also rot-free underneath. (The photos provided don’t really show uniframe rails.) It’s still kind of beat though, and the seller’s “Holy Grail” description seems delusional. Probably worth about 1/2 the asking price.

      Like 6
    • Bart

      There’s the 2.5 badge on the rear hatch.

      Like 4
      • Jaydawg7 Jaydawg7

        Thx AMC guy, I’m not terribly knowledgeable on the Chryslers/AMC/Jeeps. Bart I totally missed the 2.5 but I didn’t know what to look for either lol. From what I’ve seen & heard that 4.0 is the one to have. Great engine

        Like 1
    • Ralphie`

      The video shows a 4 banger. At my guess, especially looking at the floor mat and drivers seat, is that it is liklely more like 139K miles, if not 239K

      Like 1
  4. ChasMan

    Private seller but the truck has a jeep dealer advertisement plate on the front and Pennsylvania plates on it in the ebay listing. If you look at the video, it has Jersey plates. My guess is, someone bought this from that dealer and is trying to unload it. Seems like seller is being straightforward (although kinda tough to hide no brakes) but it does look pretty beat.

    Like 0
  5. Paul

    I had a 85 Jeep Cherokee 2dr with the 5 speed and the 2.8 V-6. It couldn’t get out of its own way. It had numerous quality problems that included water leaks , electrical problems, and the 4wd working intermittently. One of the electrical problems was due to a trim screw going into a wiring harness. Traded it for a 87 Bronco.

    Like 0
  6. man ' war

    My 85 Jeep Wagoneer XJ 4×4 was so much cleaner than this. It had a 2.8, 5spd. I probably should have kept it longer. This 85 Jeep Cherokee Chief is worn out in many pictures. Not worth the asking price even for the claimed low miles.

    Like 0

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