Live Auctions

No Reserve: 1988 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

I’m unsure whether it is an age thing, but while I love early off-roaders like Land Rovers and Land Cruisers, the thought of bouncing along some rutted track behind the wheel of one looks less inviting. I begin wondering whether my aging skeleton can withstand such abuse or whether I should opt out of such activities entirely. However, to do so in the lap of luxury sounds far more appealing. That is the experience someone is set to have with this 1988 Jeep Grand Wagoneer. It possesses the capabilities to take its occupants deep into the wilderness, and they will do so in total comfort. Someone will soon have that chance because the seller has listed it here on eBay with No Reserve. The Jeep is located in Spokane, Washington, and spirited bidding has pushed the price to $13,000. There’s still time to stake your claim on this tidy survivor and enjoy all that nature offers in splendid isolation.

There are many factors to consider when assessing the viability of any classic, and one of the most crucial surrounds the presence of rust. That is but one of the aces up this Jeep’s sleeve. Until recently, it had called sunny California home. That has allowed the vehicle to remain 100% rust-free. Its Grenadine paint shines impressively, although the clear on the hood shows some deterioration that may be a by-product of UV exposure. It isn’t horrible, but a good paint shop should be able to address the issue without the buyer needing to outlay the cash for a complete repaint. The panels sport a few minor marks, which is expected from a vehicle of this age and type. It doesn’t impact its presentation, and the faux woodgrain has avoided any damage to appear in excellent condition. The chrome and glass sparkle nicely, and the alloy wheels show no evidence of pitting or other problems.

While the equipment levels may not seem that stunning compared to modern offerings, this interior came to its original owner about as fully loaded as a buyer might have expected in 1988. They received ice-cold air conditioning, power windows, power locks, power front seats, leather and cloth seat upholstery, cruise control, and a tilt wheel. There would originally have been a radio/cassette player, but the owner replaced this with a Kenwood CD player. Thankfully, they fitted aftermarket speakers within the original enclosures and grilles, so the visual impact is minimal. Vehicles of this type can begin to look tired and shabby with advancing years, but the overall condition suggests this Jeep has been a cherished family member. There is no wear on the upholstered surfaces, and no stains on the carpet, while the dash and pad are excellent. It has no apparent needs and would suit a meticulous buyer.

Jeep offered the 1988 Grand Wagoneer with a single drivetrain combination. Buyers received a 360ci V8 producing 144hp and 280 ft/lbs of torque. The power found its way to the road through two or four wheels via a three-speed automatic transmission and a dual-range transfer case. While straight-line performance wasn’t the Grand Wagoneer’s forte, an ability to cover the 19.9 seconds was considered respectable in 1988. Less impressive is the fuel consumption because you can expect this Jeep to struggle to beat 12mpg. That would make its potential as a daily driver questionable, but for the weekend outings, who cares how much it drinks? The seller states that the Grand Wagoneer’s V8 starts easily and that the vehicle drives well. They offer this YouTube video to support the claim. It allows us a decent walk-around and to hear the vehicle running and driving. I can’t spot any issues or problems.

With some classic models, we seem to experience a feast or a famine at Barn Finds. We’ve seen a few Grand Wagoneers recently, and this one is a gem. It is a one-owner rust-free survivor that would still turn heads today. A new Jeep might boast more luxury appointments, but it would also cost its buyer considerably more. The indications are this Jeep has been treated with respect, and if the buyer continues that trend, they could find they own an appreciating asset. Values have climbed by more than 20% in the past year alone, and that trend shows no signs of slowing. That opens the possibility for someone to buy this Grand Wagoneer now and enjoy it for the remaining summer months. If they then placed it in storage and offered it for sale at the start of next summer, there could be enough profit to at least partially (or even wholly) cover the cost of any holiday activities undertaken aboard this classic. Hmm, a free holiday. That sounds okay to me!


  1. Blue

    My wife had an 1985 twin that she put 200,000 + miles with no major repairs, and she went where and when she wanted, our teenage son at the time went deep into the woods, hauling his john boat on the luggage rack. I used it to tow a Kawasaki UTV Mule far off road hunting.

    It was a great rig, I think it listed for just over $20,000 and we paid $18,000. New 4 x 4’s have about twice the power and lots of safety features.

    Like 5
    • Big Schwag

      New ones will cost you four times the amount and will never last as long as these. Who needs all the extra safety features anyway, we lived till now without them. Other than more power (a good thing) I would rather have this.

      Like 4
  2. Gil Davis Tercenio

    I had an ’83 GW for a couple of years. Drove great, really short turning radius, did really well in the snow. However, 12 MPH was the norm and you HAD to run high test gas!

    Mine started having drive train problems, so down the road it went.

    Like 4
  3. Jay McCarthy

    I never understood the decision to suffocate this engine with the 2bbl, I think the 4bbl would have passed emissions easier and the fuel mileage might have hit 15-16

    Like 4
    • Ed Green

      It’d be a great candidate for a Holly sniper upgrade. Lose the emissions garbage…dual exhaust.

  4. Richard Martin Member

    Gil Davis Tercenio: I believe that should be 12 MPG, not 12 MPH. Am I correct?

  5. Pauld

    We had a 1984 GW. Everything on it broke over time. The wiring was assembled in Haiti so when it had an electrical we thought Voo doo. Yes, it rode great and was easy to drive. Gave it to the cleaning lady.

    Like 4
  6. David Goodlander

    I had a 1986 in the late 1990’s and loved it. Rust finally got to it here in the Chicago area. I’ve been driving various Jeep Grand Cherokees ever since.

    Like 4
  7. Blue

    I agree with all the comments, positive and negative, I did not own it long enough for many of the needed repairs mentioned to surface. Still 200,000 miles in 8 years is a test of something.

    I traded it for repainting most of the interior of our house, it’s nearly new tires were slashed by his angry girlfriend. The tires were most of the residual value, why I bought tires for a worn out SUV is another story of no interest. I have many.

  8. David Albright

    Do not ever, ever, ever drive it in northern winter salt!! It will disappear before your eyes. Been there, done that!

  9. Oregonman

    In 1987 we had a ‘75 Cherokee full size 2 door, leather, power everything, 360v-8, passed everything but the Exxon Valdez, powerful, safe, roomy and very comfortable. It registered 9mpg even sitting in the driveway…..miss it every day!

    Like 1
  10. Car Nut Tacoma

    Beautiful looking Jeep. Although I was too young at the time to drive a car, I was in Jr. High School at the time, I remember vehicles like this Grand Wagoneer. I find it way more attractive than what’s currently being offered by Jeep.

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