Rust-Free Survivor: 1982 Jeep CJ-5 Laredo

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There’s no doubt that a mere 6,080 examples of the Jeep CJ-5 rolled off the production line during the 1982 model year. It is unclear how many of those were the Laredo variant, but that total production figure suggests that it is a relatively rare beast. This one is an original survivor that has spent its life garage-kept in drier climates. That makes it no surprise that it is a rust-free classic in excellent condition. Its faults are few, and the owner states that it is a turnkey proposition ready for immediate enjoyment. Located in Los Angeles, California,  you will find the Jeep listed for sale here on craigslist. Once you look at this vehicle’s overall condition, you will probably agree that the sale price of $18,900 seems highly competitive. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder T.J. for referring this fantastic off-roader to us.

When I see any classic vehicle advertised and the owner says that it has been garage-kept for its entire life, that ticks one of the right boxes in my book. When he informs potential buyers that it has spent its life in drier climates, that virtually seals the deal. In the case of this Copper Brown Jeep, it has split its time between Arizona and California. Therefore, its total lack of rust is no surprise. The exterior looks spotlessly clean, while the owner says that the underside shows no evidence of corrosion, scaling, or weird undercoating. That all augurs well for a classic that is structurally sound. Its paint shines beautifully, and this is a testament to the care that has been lavished on it. Those climates that are so good at protecting steel can also wreak havoc on painted surfaces. The owner says that the paint on this Jeep is original, and its overall condition is impressive. Similarly, the graphics and decals are crisp and clean, while the top shows no evidence of stretching or fading. The exterior trim is in excellent condition, as is the glass. Somebody has installed a heavy-duty winch, which is a practical addition to this vehicle. Those big wheels and chunky tires and a perfect finishing touch to this Jeep’s exterior.

While the interior of this Laredo looks good, it does have a few niggling faults that are worth considering. The first is the non-original lid on the center console. It matches precisely nothing else inside this classic, and I would probably ditch it in favor of an original. The other is a visible seam separation on the base of the driver’s seat. I’m not sure whether replacement is justified because a competent upholsterer should be able to repair this to maintain the Jeep’s originality. Beyond that, there is little to criticize. The crack-prone dash pad is in excellent condition, as is the remaining trim. The gauges have crisp markings, and the lenses are crystal clear. Apart from the console lid, the only other additions are a CB radio and a JVC radio/cassette player. If potential buyers have a burning desire for power windows, air conditioning, or cruise control, they have come to the wrong place. This Jeep features none of those luxuries but is a good old bread-and-butter off-roader with no automotive “tinsel” that could potentially cause problems in the great outdoors.

Potential buyers in 1982 could order their new Jeep with a four-cylinder engine under the hood, although most tended to prefer the 258ci six-cylinder unit that produced 110hp and 205 ft/lbs of torque. That power finds its way to the tarmac via a four-speed manual transmission. If the going gets rough or challenging, a dual-range transfer case makes light work of heavy conditions. Further aiding the cause is the original owner’s decision to equip this CJ-5 with power steering and power brakes. A drag strip is not this vehicle’s natural habitat, but if the owner chose to point it down the ¼ mile, it would romp through in a respectable 18.4 seconds. What I admire about this Laredo is its consistency. Not only does it present nicely, but it appears that it is in sound mechanical health. The seller says that it runs and drives perfectly and that it is a turnkey proposition ready for its next owner.

For those of us who lived through it, the 1980s were vastly different from today. This was especially true in the automotive sector, and this 1982 Jeep Laredo probably reflects that difference perfectly. It is a great-looking vehicle that is an excellent survivor. However, you compare its engineering and equipment levels with any modern offering, and it looks positively spartan. That doesn’t make it a bad vehicle. In fact, the opposite is probably true. The lack of electronic gizmos and accessories leaves fewer opportunities for expensive equipment failures. It should still be a capable off-roader, and its overall condition would turn heads wherever it goes. These have experienced a growth in popularity and value recently, with pristine examples capable of topping $30,000. When you look at the sale price for this one, it looks extremely competitive. That’s why I won’t be surprised if someone snaps up this gem pretty quickly.

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  1. HoA Howard AMember

    It’s a sharp one, I’ll give them that. I don’t mean to make light of ANY authors narration, but perhaps a better set of words in the opening sentence, “6080 CJ5’s ROLLED off the line”. 2 things there. There’s a reason why Jeeps of any kind weren’t selling, they were horribly outdated. Only the most strict Jeep fanatics bought one, and the low sales numbers tell about how many there were. Even Daisy Duke couldn’t sell any. In contrast to the imports, nobody wanted one. 2nd, “rolled”, the key word there. In the 80’s, Jeeps had become the target of numerous lawsuits as owners pushed the limits and then whined about it to clever lawyers. CJ’s were inherently tippy, and why Chrysler widened the track and dropped the height with the YJ, and made a world of difference. Helped make it idiot proof.
    No, you won’t get a price complaint on this one. Again and again, it isn’t a new Rubicon, nor is it a rock climber. I may have been a bit harsh on the Scrambler one, karma is a bitxx, after saying “just expect every problem”, I went out to go to the store, I try and run it once a week, okay, it was cold, starts right up,,oh, oh, something leaking,,being fuel injected a plethora of scenarios raced through my mind, in a “what now” demeanor,, crawling underneath,,it was just a loose hose clamp on the return line, old “double clamp” fixed it, but be aware, you want a Jeep, get used to that. I respect a CJ, and this is a nice one, but I can’t help but think, someone not familiar with these can get in a heap of trouble fast. Did I tell the one 2 years ago about this woman from Kansas and her daughter and dog, headed out into the hills, Kansas, mind you, with a couple other Jeeps in a convoy. Started out fine, they were on a rough trail, began to rain, this woman tried negotiating a big rock, slipped off and tumbled 600 feet. That’s 60 STORIES!!! She was killed, the daughter and dog flew out and survived. Not to ruin your breakfast, but think how that day started out and how it ended. Jeep stories,,,

    Like 9
  2. Todd Zuercher

    I just saw this truck for sale a few days ago somewhere for $10 or $12k and thought to myself….seems like that’s way too low. Someone will probably snatch it up and flip it. Sure enough…..just a day or two later…

    Like 5
  3. SMS

    Mom had one of these with this motor. As she got older moved from sports cars to Jeeps. Said they had the same fun factor. Liked going into the desert and collecting rocks.

    Anyway at 160k miles she moved to a newer one. Just about everything had been replaced or needed to except the motor. Never touched it other than oil and water.

    Her two favorite cars have been her TR6 and the CJ

    Like 4
  4. AndyinMA

    Given CJ pricing recently this seems like a deal. It’s always nice to see one that hasn’t succumbed to roid rage.

    Like 3
  5. Mark Kurth

    “…while the top shows no evidence of stretching or fading”
    Likely because it’s a hardtop. Nice CJ.

    Like 3
  6. Rw

    My dad bought a new CJ5 in 78,less than year old someone came around curve on our side of road , took the ditch hit a driveway culvert, flipped on driver side ,no one hurt, truck didn’t stop, took to body shop,traded in for new 79 bronco.

    Like 0
  7. FordFixerMember

    Really nice jeep. What some have not pointed out, this is a 5, not CJ 7. The difference was a wider door opening, essential to those of us of age related lack of flexibility. Therefore a price difference.
    Past that, great little car, loaded right, and super fun. And at 78, I can still
    ( slowly!) get in my CJ 3B and my CJ2A, ( same door openings as CJ5 ). I’ve had 5and 7,the 7 more comfortable and resale higher.
    Put a Weber carb on, and go crawling.

    Like 2
    • Dex

      Probably not pointed out since the article is about a CJ-5 and not a CJ-7.

      Like 2
      • Rw


        Like 0

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