Disclosure: This site may receive compensation when you click on some links and make purchases.

1988 Jeep Comanche Pioneer 5-Speed

Sometimes, there are vehicles right in front of us that have strong potential to become collectible yet we just don’t see it at the time. I’m sure any number of us can recall a vehicle or vehicles we wis we had bought before they exploded in value; I know I’ve kicked myself enough to become a professional ass-kicker (though that is a pretty awesome job title.) The Jeep Comanche pickup is one such vehicle that sure seems poised to become a collectible owing to its rarity and positive association with the venerable Cherokee line. Find this 5-speed example listed here on eBay with bids to $6,100 and the reserve unmet.

The Comanche really stands out to me as a collectible vehicle you can own without emptying out your bank account. For one thing, it’s a Cherokee with a truck bed – who on earth can kick rocks at that combination? The fact that it will be dead-nuts reliable and super cheap to maintain, all while returning a high degree of utility, makes for a compelling purchase. This Comanche has the desirable manual gearbox and is in outstanding cosmetic condition.

Now, I thought for sure this would have a 4.0L under the hood, but then I remembered the 2.5L four-cylinder was also an option. This isn’t nearly as compelling as the more powerful inline-six, but it will return a similar level of tough-as-nails construction. It will not be quick, by any means, but if you’ve ever driven a Jeep with the inline-six, you likely have questioned whether the disclosed horsepower numbers were accurate. This Comanche is clean all the way through, with an engine bay almost as nice as the interior.

The bodywork is excellent, and the cool “Pioneer” decals are still in place. The factory alloy wheels are in good order (but the seller does disclose they need some work) and the white-letter radials are the only way to go with a truck like this. The truck is called a “20 footer” by the seller, so perhaps my enthusiasm for how it presents in photos is unfounded; still, I can’t imagine that even with its flaws that many Comanches are left in this sort of condition.


  1. David Sebben

    Ugh….I just bought a super low mileage 2015 Toyota Tacoma or this one might have graced my garage. Nice truck.

    Like 9
    • Jeff DeWitt

      I had a Comanche with the 4.0 and 5 speed..and a factory AM stereo radio! It was a great little truck that got totaled by an old man in a minivan. I replaced it with a slightly used 2 door Cherokee, 4.0 and stick. That was over 25 years and half a million miles ago, and I still love driving it.

      Like 10
  2. JMB#7

    These are great trucks. Wish I had bought one back in 1988. Since this is 2wd & 4 speed manual then the 4 cylinder would be fine. Nice color… Colorado Red… Howard, you should buy this!

    Like 10
  3. John Pearson

    I have a 90 Eliminator, Comanches are awesome trucks for the reasons stated for sure.
    This one is fairly base, at least from a drive train perspective. It would make a good around town truck as long as large loads aren’t your main interest.

    Like 7

    Looks nice. Sweet little MJ. I’ve always liked those trucks, but never owned one. Had a
    90 XJ , was a very good Jeep.

    Like 9
    • Grant I

      I own the same year Tacoma. Make sure the frame was treated. There was a recall. Good truck. My high school buddy had the same jeep in blue back in the early 90s. It was nice as well.

      Like 2
  5. Jimbosidecar

    Jeff, You just might be my boss. I’m as busy as a one legged man in an ass kicking contest restoring motorcycles and sometimes some 4 wheeled vehicles

    Like 3
  6. thePretender

    sold… good idea though.

    Like 1
  7. Car Nut Tacoma

    Beautiful looking truck. I remember when the Comanche was offered. I was still too young at the time to drive a car, but I remember admiring the Comanche, something to join the Jeep XJ Cherokee. I remember being disappointed that it was discontinued when it was. To this day, I still don’t understand why it was discontinued when it was.

    Like 4
    • JMB#7

      Discontinued because Chrysler bought AMC/Jeep. The Comanche was too close of a competitor to their own Dakota. They could build the Comanche today and they would sell like hotcakes!

      Like 9
      • Car Nut Tacoma

        I remember when the Dakota was intro’d. I don’t get how that would’ve caused tension between it and the Comanche. Jeep had the Comanche, Dodge had the Dakota.

        Like 2
      • Nelson C

        If they built it today it would be another crew cab with a 5′ box because that’s what the market dictates. Instead I would prefer a modern reg cab with a 6’6″ box and a bare minimum of assists and equipment.

        Like 6
      • SubGothius

        Car Nut Tacoma, they were competing for the same pool of potential buyers without really expanding that pool vs. having just one midsize truck to offer them, and the Dakota was probably cheaper/more profitable to build and fit Mopar’s “Dodge is for trucks, Jeep is for SUVs” brand strategy at the time.

        Plus “not invented here syndrome”, dwindling Comanche sales, and Jeep/Eagle dealers were asking for a version of the Dakota to replace the aging and slow-selling Comanche anyway — not that they got one, but it was clear the Comanche’s days were numbered anyway.

        Like 3
  8. Rallye Member

    Isn’t this the model that the Archer brothers raced in SCCA?

    Like 3
    • JMB#7

      Yes, 1988 2wd 4 speed 4 cylinder. SCCA RaceTruck Challenge ran from 1987 to 1991. Tommy Archer won the series in 1988. I had the good fortune of crewing for Tommy when he co-drove our BMW 325e in 1985 SCCA 24 hour race at Mid-Ohio. Good guy and fantastic driver. Two of their race trucks were featured on BAT in 2012 & 2013.

      Like 3
      • Rallye Member

        I had numerous dealings with Tommy and their store in Duluth. I think it was even beyond 91 that I got used tires from their trucks at RA that I used on my vintage racecar.
        My budget for vintage still requires used tires.
        I’ve been seeing Tommy at vintage races at RA off on for the last 10 years..

        Like 1
  9. jwaltb

    That’s when Jeep knew how to build a good-looking truck. Those new things are butt-ugly, period.

    Like 1
  10. JMB#7

    Sold for: US $9,999.00 [ 22 bids ] Ended: Sep 24, 2023 15:30:57 PDT.
    Howard, I hope you enjoy it.

    Like 3
  11. ramblergarage

    My dad had a new 1986 he ordered. 4 cyl auto. went to almost 300,000 miles.

    Like 1
  12. Car Nut Tacoma

    @ Nelson C: Crew cabs are nice, but I’ve always preferred my pickup trucks to be 2 door.

    Like 0

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.