Parked for Years: 1980 Jeep CJ5

This 1980 Jeep CJ5 looks to be in fine shape, especially for a truck that has been left standing for 10 years. Fortunately, it was parked long-term in Arizona, so its body has remained rust-free and free from any obvious signs of rot. While we can’t tell if this Jeep was discovered parked here or transported to its current location, the thick coating of storage dust tells the tale about how long it’s been stationary. The seller claims it is one family owned with 44,295 genuine miles on the clock, and it’s listed here on craigslist for $10,000 – perhaps a bit surprisingly, it’s been listed for almost a month.

Now, I don’t let the length of time a vehicle is for sale dissuade me from checking it out. There’s usually some good reasons for it, especially if the seller believes it is worth the asking price. It could be one of the best examples of a particular vehicle, but if the right buyer hasn’t come along, the listing may stay up for quite some time. In the case of this Jeep, the seller may have some flexibility on his price, but no buyers have appeared to make a reasonable offer. I will say, though, for the mileage to be as low as it is, it’s surprising to see non-factory seats installed, and rather unattractive ones at that.

Now. again, I wouldn’t let this derail my plans to check it out if I lived in “Rust Free, Arizona” (seller’s lingo, not mine), as the longtime family-owned vehicles aren’t always saved as a future collectible or auction target. They’re just used like any other vehicle, and if that means swapping in some generic bucket seats when the original vinyl surfaces lose their battle against the relentless Arizona sunshine, that’s what they’ll do. This Jeep may be just a seat swap away from looking absolutely mint. In fact, if I were the seller, I’d try and find some half-decent brown vinyl buckets to throw in so it presents better in photos.

The Jeep’s main appeal here is its rust-free condition and bone-stock condition. The seller notes it also is unmodified, meaning no lift kits or brush guards to be found. The CJ5 is equipped with a bikini top, tilt steering wheel, four speed manual transmission, but no mention as to whether the 258 ci six-cylinder mill still fires up or at least spins freely. It probably does, given how hard those engines are to kill, but being parked “for years” is rarely good for any drivetrain. That said, I’m curious what the hold-up is that’s prevented this desert-find Jeep from finding a new home – do you see any red flags?

Fast Finds


  1. Steve R

    By now, everyone knows there is no better proof of low mileage than a picture of the speedometer. I’d bet it’s a flipper, who thinks he earned his money when he purchased this Jeep and listed it for sale. I don’t care if someone buys a car just to turn a profit, but, put in the work. Vacuum and wash it, get it running and put it in your name. Don’t leave the next owner hanging, with no recourse, if there are issues with the title. I’ve seen that negatively effect several friends who unsuspectingly bought cars from sellers that were not the registered owner.

    Steve R

    Like 5
  2. Howard A Member

    Yeah, thanks Jeff for that turned knife in the gut,,,no, no, it’s okay, really. I’m fine,,, Last weekend, I found out just how “Mishuga” these sellers are, here’s the story.
    I looked at a 1965 Willys CJ5, this is how full of crap these sellers are, and an “I told you so” feature and why I’m so disappointed with the old car hobby.
    The Jeep itself wasn’t too bad, not rusted, really, had bikini top and “soft” doors, she told me, it had a recent rebuild ( 4 cyl.) from ” the guy down the road” deal, with no paperwork, mmm-hmmm, started it up, running on 3 cyls.,,”oh, that never did that before” BS, which may have been a bad wire, but didn’t want to chance it, none of the gauges worked, an aftermarket oil pressure gauge hacked into the dash, that read 0 while running, heater disconnected, wires hanging, she wanted $5grand, down from $6500. Since it would have to be towed( 150 miles through the mountains) I passed. HOWEVER,,, it had an odd 4 shift levers, never saw’r that. She said, that’s a driveline disconnect for towing, which is partially true, as the O/D pattern is O/D-N-( the disconnect she was talking about) -direct,,okay, never heard of that, but when I got home, turns out, that 4th lever is an extremely rare O/D, and she didn’t know it, and here’s the “I told you so” part, like on British cars, I always said, people may not even know what O/D is,,,well, here you go. Had I known that was an O/D, I may have bought it, but the dead cylinder scared me. It was drivable, but too much work, and $5g’s is about all I’d spend, even WITH the O/D.
    So, that’s my Jeep story, and have concluded, these people are either nuts, or desperate, $10g’s here? Yeah, have fun with that ( sitting for years), I’m done with this foolishness, “JeepQuest” has been cancelled,,,. Thanks for listening,,,

    Like 13
    • On and On On and On Member

      Look further into the dead cylinder issue Howard, c’mom, it’s easy. If there’s spark and fuel in that cylinder then use caution, Otherwise go for it. these are easy to do a compression test on also…………..One hour will tell all…………My 63 Willys CJ5 could have really used that o/d………go back, check it out and make an offer……….judge the car, they always speak for themselves, the owners/sellers you’ll never know…….

      Like 5
      • Eric B

        Exactly. Everyone that looks at the Jeep will probably see the same issues. Maybe not, a fool that doesn’t know any better may pay what they want. BUT, in case not just write down your name, number and price. Maybe you’ll hear from them when it doesn’t sell.

        Like 1
      • Howard A Member

        Thanks Gregg and Eric, you know, I’m sure many passed on the Jeep because it ran poorly, and I know the 134 is so simple a 3rd grader could repair it. The issues killing the sale included, I have no place to work on it, I got a quote of $400 bucks to drag it home, and I didn’t even drive it, so who knows what else it needed( steering, brakes, etc) She may have been trying to unload it, but wasn’t stupid, and knew some sucker with deep pockets would pay the $5g’s, it just isn’t going to be me. The O/D really was all it had going for it, as it needed everything. My other point was, she had no idea it had O/D. It’s been on FB for a couple months, so she has my #. I’d go $4, but I’m thinking there’s better places to spend the money. It’s a one shot deal for me, so it has to be right.

  3. Mike

    I wander if Dennis Collins has checked this Jeep out 🤔..

    Like 1
    • Steve R

      If he did, he’d scroll on by after a hand full of pictures.

      Steve R

  4. Steve Clinton

    Clean and ran when parked.

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