Rare ZJ: 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Orvis Edition

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The ZJ platform Jeep Grand Cherokee is one of the most recognizable eras of the classic 4×4. When these were new, the ZJ was seemingly everywhere: parents drove them, doctors drove them, and highway commuters were seen in them. These days, most any examples still on the road are heavily used up with rust blossoming through the fenders, so finding a minty example with the rare Orvis trim package is a notable discovery. Find the Jeep Grand Cherokee here on craigslist for $7,000.

The seller’s truck is in great shape with 107,000 miles on the clock. The mileage isn’t exceptionally low, but the cosmetics suggest this is a Jeep with far fewer miles. The Orvis upgrade is purely cosmetic in nature, but the luxury touches were significant: dark green and tan two-tone leather interior with red piping; special badges and pinstriping; and wheels with color-matched sections that coordinate with the hunter green paint job.

The older editions had the pronounced red stripe running atop the body cladding; this later edition lost that for a more monochrome look. But here’s what I mean about the details: even the the spare tire cover sports the half green, half tan color scheme that carries throughout the interior. The tan carpets are very clean and this truck has all the tell-tale signs of being a lightly-used specimen. The listing notes it has been used off-road only twice and has spent its life as a lightly-used second vehicle.

The Jeep shows some of the typical signs of use, with some errant rock chips on the nose. The gold Jeep badge was another clue that you had an Orvis edition or at least a Limited model; either designation meant there was acres of leather inside. The seller notes this Orvis edition was originally in Arizona before moving to Oregon, which means the rust-free condition is no joke – those are two zip codes that almost guarantee corrosion-free condition. $7K is a very fair price for such a clean ZJ, especially with the Orvis box checked.

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  1. Big Bear 🇺🇸

    This is a great price for a limited edition Jeep with a 318!!! This will be gone soon. I have bags at home from Orvis. They make great equipment for fly fishing. I had a Orvis store near me. I remember showing this Jeep set up with fishing equipment. I would buy it…if I had the room. I just wish the seller gave more pictures. Would like to see the engine and the frame. Good luck to the next owner… 🐻🇺🇸

    Like 4
    • E. Rubi

      This is definitely a beautiful vehicle and excellent price. I have a 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 5.2L V8 4×4 with 132k miles on it. It runs and drives like a beauty. I think people should give these vehicles a better image. I absolutely love mine and fell in love with its reliability and power. The KBB robs us of the true value of these Jeeps. I agree with Big Bear this car will sell fast. People always want to buy it off of me. .. I tell them, that’s my baby.

      Like 0
  2. HoA Howard AMember

    “Computers” for these are unobtainable, I was told. I see so many sitting at repair shops or in back yards with a ton of dust on them. Neighbor has one sitting, can’t find a chip, and he was a car mechanic. Many with conveniently with just over 100K, like here. Matter of fact, I just read, the Cherokee is being discontinued due to the ( phony baloney) chip shortage. I also read, this Native- American group protesting the name, hasn’t backed down either, adding to the hassle of today. Call me old fashioned, but when, not if, the 4 cylinder pukes in my Jeep, I’m going with a 4.0/carburetor and a regular fuel pump, I’ll keep the electronic ignition, however.
    Now, in a somewhat related Jeep topic, and these are not immune, I talked with my son in law, who recently bought a new Rubicon, 4 door, pickup. 29K miles, cost a fortune. He said, something unsettling happened while driving the other day ( I knew where he was going ), have I ever heard of “Death Wobble”? New Rubicon, mind you. I said, we’ve been dealing with death wobble since 4x4s began. While troubling to hear, it’s kind of refreshing when someone learns of something you’ve known for 50 years. He asked what it could be, and I said, too new for mechanical wear, it has to be the tires. Nice, huh?

    Like 5
    • Scrapyard John

      Regarding the “death wobble”, I experienced that a few times on my 98 ram 4wd. I owned it since new, and I recall the first time it happened. I was driving down the interstate at around 70 mph, hit a pothole, and the suspension seemed to reverberate back and forth…it actually felt like the the left and right tires were taking turns bouncing like a basketball, although I don’t know if that’s exactly how it would look from someone watching’s perspective. Kept it straight and rode it out, as that seemed like the only rational response to the situation at hand. I called the dealership and the tech told me to put some air in the tires.. I was skeptical, but sure enough, every time I experienced it I would check the tire pressure and it would be low. I also learned to avoid that damn pothole.

      So anyway, tell son in law to check his tire pressures. Low pressure seems to exacerbate the situation. Correct tire pressure (and dodging that pothole with my Dodge) seemed to alleviate the issue altogether for me.

      Like 3
      • HoA Howard AMember

        Thanks, John, like I say, the jury is still out on the case, lo these 75 years later. I think it may have something to do with harmonics too. Remember, the front axle is rotating the opposite of the back, and from my semi days, tires do weird things, and while maintaining the tires or replacing a stabilizer cures it temporarily, it doesn’t address the actual case that’s making the tires wear unevenly eventually causing the wobble. Again, harmonics. Once it starts, it gets worse, you can’t “peddle out of it”. And all for naught,,for the most part. I asked my SIL, who lives in L.A.,,how often have you used the 4wd? He said in 2 years, never. And so it goes.

        Like 1
  3. Ed Hardt

    This is actually more impressive that a 80 year old car. Most of these were sent to the crusher after the warranty expired and the next transmission blew. Truly a great piece of automotive history.

    Like 2
  4. Phil Warner

    I have a Grand Cherokee limited the same year in “rosewood” paint with 272,000 miles on it. It has the tow package and is my occasional car towing vehicle. As mentioned in one comment I did have to replace the computer (PCM) at 270,000 miles with a $150 unit from eBay and afterward the “tow mode” button no longer lights up when pushed so perhaps the replacement PCM doesn’t recognize it. The information panel stopped displaying several years ago, but other than those things and having to periodically repair rat damage to the wiring, it is still presentable and has been fairly reliable for an investment 5 grand less than this Orvis edition.

    Like 5

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