No Reserve Renegade: 1981 Jeep CJ-5

This 1981 Jeep CJ-5 is described as a genuine barn find discovered in Georgia, where it’s lived all of its life. The Jeep remains in very restorable condition, with minimal rust and an Iron Duke four-cylinder engine that still spins freely. The Jeep comes with its original Renegade package body graphics and stripes, and a boatload of original paperwork and other documentation. Find it here on eBay with a suggested opening bid of $3,989.99 and no action yet.

The Jeep hasn’t moved far, still residing in Georgia but now located in Savannah. The odometer shows 36,910, but the listing doesn’t confirm whether that’s an accurate reading. Not that it necessarily matters, but the clarity of the gauge faces and the dash buttons remains quite sharp, which could mean the Jeep was taken off the road at an early age. The seller claims damage to the rear tailgate is what sidelined it in the first place, and it remains damaged to this day. Fortunately, the rest of the body and frame is said to be sound.

The fact that all of this paperwork and the factory brochures are still with the truck is another strong indication it’s spent many years off the road, and likely didn’t change hands too many times when it was near new. I find one of the surest ways to lose all this original documentation is to have the vehicle change hands multiple times. Just because it’s important to one owner doesn’t mean preserving those brochures will matter to the next. Even the first DMV receipt from its initial registration is there!

The damage doesn’t look too extensive, but with the spare tire mounted back here, you never know if it pushed in on the sheetmetal, depending on the severity of the hit. Fortunately, this doesn’t look like a major repair, and I’d want to try and save the original panel if it were my truck. The Jeep comes with a factory-mounted Ramsey winch and its original soft top, which the seller advises should be replaced. While the opening bid is slightly high, it’s downright reasonable if no one else bids on this Georgia barn find, which could be driven as-is once the engine is firing again reliably.


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  1. Poppapork

    Iron puke 4 cyl and no title :(

    Like 1
    • Steve R

      Georgia doesn’t issue titles.

      Steve R

      • KenH

        Georgia does issue titles for pre 1985 vehicles.. They are not required, but if you buy a vehicle with a valid title, they will issue one.. I would not buy a vehicle without a title if it has not been registered by the owner, or at the least, has a completed T-22B inspection form..

        Like 1
  2. LastCJ

    Odometer has definitely been rolled based on seat and other wear. Also, that is not the original paint or graphics. The windshield bumpers on the hood are black from the factory but have been painted yellow in the re-paint. The 2-rib windshield is also a replacement. The graphics style is correct but they are off from the factory graphics, just not quite right. The seller also says he has the original top but shows a Bestop manual in his documentation so that likely means a replacement top. Whitco made all the factory soft tops.

    The seller is right that the Ramsey winch could be worth something to the right Jeep collector (Jamboree winch). The original wheels are also worth a premium because those are 1981-only 15×8 wheels with center caps. Pre-1981 they were not drilled for caps and Jeep went to 15×7 wheels when it moved to wider axles in 1982.

  3. 1Ronald

    AMC’s 6 cyl is a beast and will last forever if properly maintained. A no brainer compared to this 4 banger. Why not to have paid the extra and gotten one you can run the highways with? Very limited use on 4 cyl models.

    Like 2
    • David Ulrey

      I can’t argue with a thing you said but in defense of the 4 banger (to a degree anyway) maintained like any engine SHOULD be they have a long lifespan. Of course if whatever you intend to use the Jeep for truly requires more HP then by all mean go with 6cyl. As to the highway speeds factor, unless you live in a mountainous area and drive the highway a lot the 4 will still do fine. Speed demon? No. Let’s face it though, short wheelbase vehicles tend to start getting pretty squirrelly at 75 anyway. I had one with 6 and took a 2200 mile roundtrip. The engine was willing to go a lot faster than what was safe to drive it at. Tried it once at 85mph on a nice level straightaway. Nice tight front end, I don’t scare easily but I swore never again.

      Like 2
    • Bob C.

      Hey, this was 1981, a time when a lot of good size vehicles had tiny engines. CAFE was still fairly new and manufacturers were desperate to meet their requirements. It took them a while to get it right.

      Like 2
  4. Comet

    Based on the visible rust on this Jeep, I’d take a close look at the frame before making an offer.

    Like 1

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