Texas Survivor: 1978 Jeep Wagoneer

When this 1978 Jeep Wagoneer was new, it was by no means a cheap vehicle. Considering that it was designed to combine luxury motoring with legendary off-road abilities, that is no great surprise. With a V8 under the hood providing plenty of power and torque, the Wagoneer could find its way into some pretty inaccessible locations. Our feature vehicle has spent its life in drier climates, which has allowed it to remain rust-free. It runs and drives but would benefit from a cosmetic restoration. If you feel like owning a classic SUV, you will find this Jeep located in El Paso, Texas, and listed for sale here on eBay. The owner has set a BIN of $7,700, but he will entertain offers.

If you ever wanted a demonstration of the power of ultraviolet light, you only need to look at the paint on this Jeep Wagoneer to gain an insight. Years of exposure to the harsh Texas sunlight has faded the once sparkling Golden Ginger paint to its current pale gold. There’s no doubt that this classic would benefit from a cosmetic refresh, but for potential buyers, at least they won’t be tackling major rust issues as a precursor to that task. The owner states that it has very little rust, and most of it appears to be nothing beyond surface corrosion. The panels are relatively straight, with only minor dings and bruises for the buyer to address. Some of the exterior trim is missing, but the tinted glass is in excellent order. Overall, this looks like it should be a fairly straightforward project for the right person.

Jeep offered Wagoneer buyers in 1978 the choice of several motors. The original owner of this vehicle chose the 360-4V V8 that produces 174hp. Bolted to this is a three-speed automatic transmission, while the Wagoneer also features power steering and power brakes. If the driver pointed this Jeep at a ¼ mile, it could complete the journey in 18.5 seconds before finding its way to 98mph. That may not look staggering by today’s standards, but those figures remain very impressive for a vehicle of this type and age. The owner says that this classic runs and drives exceptionally well, with no vices or issues for the buyer to consider. He says that the power steering and brakes inspire confidence, and the 4WD system works exactly as it should. For potential buyers, it appears that this Jeep is a turn-key proposition.

If the Texas climate is excellent for preserving classic steel, the downside is that it can wreak havoc on upholstery and trim. This Jeep is no exception to that rule, with its interior appearing pretty tired and baked. The buyer will be looking at performing a complete re-trim to have it presented at its best once again. No aspect of this interior will escape their attention because the cloth and vinyl are badly rotted, the carpet is faded, and the dash pad has more cracks than the San Andreas Fault. However, the factory air conditioning, rear power window, and cruise control should make this a pleasant environment to cover enormous distances once the work is complete.

If you take a big picture approach with this 1978 Jeep Wagoneer, it shows plenty of promise as a project vehicle. Its lack of rust and solid nature would make it a straightforward restoration project. It would have gathered plenty of attention when it was new, and there’s no reason why it couldn’t achieve that again today. Decent examples easily sell for more than $20,000 in today’s market, but figures beyond $30,000 are not uncommon. If somebody buys this car at the BIN, that leaves plenty of room to undertake a restoration while remaining financially viable. With those thoughts in mind, are you tempted to be the person to take on this classic?


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  1. Big Al

    Not a bad looking Wagoneer for the price.

    Wouldn’t mind this in my driveway. Nice !!!

    Like 11
  2. Mark Phillips Member

    My wife like that Cherokee better because of the automatic transmission I have a 1975 Jeep commando with a 304 V8 and good running condition would you consider trading straight across email me at Mark 3 Phillips 58@gmail.com

  3. Howard A Member

    Mom always said, “if you can’t say anything nice, KEEP YOUR DANG MOUTH SHUT”,,,well, mom’s not here ( I miss her most at Thanksgiving) and seeing stuff like this, I can’t help reflect on what a poor vehicle it really was. I suppose it didn’t help, being the replacement for my FJ55 that broke in half, it had some mighty big shoes to fill, the FJ being one of the best vehicles I had. The Jeep itself, was a great concept, clearly the wave of the future, whether they realized it at the time, or not, IH didn’t think so. Mine had the Cherokee motif ( btw, there’s a group of Native-Americans that wants Jeep to remove it’s “Cherokee” name. They feel a disrespect, I think just the opposite, it honors that great name,, no comment yet from Jeep) but it was the same thing.These were a poor copy of the Kaiser Wagoneer, which looked very similar, but twice the truck these were. Naturally, I’d pass. The seller will be “entertaining offers” alright.

    Like 4
    • Gary J Lehman

      If you check the history of AMC, you will find that AMC checked with many tribes for permission to use the Cherokee name. Permission was granted across the board.

      Like 4

    You should listen to your Mama crabby old man

  5. Guggie 13

    I had one like this years ago , Great vehicle , pulled my camper , and got me to work in the worst of weather , when I owned this my job was plow driver ( upstateNY) Never let me down !

    Like 4
  6. Gary J Lehman

    AMC asked many tribes for permission to use the Cherokee name. It was granted across the board. AMC felt that it needed to show that respect to the Native community before using the Cherokee name.

    Like 1
  7. David Ulrey

    Apparently I’m the only person who feels that posting 1/4 times on a vehicle of this nature is absolutely absurd. Unless the others are censored like mine undoubtedly will be also.

    Like 1
    • bone

      That’s how you can identify an article written by Adam.

      1. 1/4 mile times on any car or truck
      2. Always assumes car was special ordered by original owner and not an off the lot purchase.
      3. Calls interior door panels “door trims”

      Like 4
      • David Ulrey

        Bone…I can deal with calling them door trims or door cards. Different countries have different terms. But most cars featured here were absolutely never bought with the intention of hitting the quarter mile. It is completely irrelevant to most cars posted here, not all but most. You’re right about not every car being ordered ahead by the purchaser. Of course some are, no question. I worked in sales at a Chevrolet dealership and the vast majority were ordered at random by either the sales manager or general manager based on what he believes will appeal to the average buyer or some ‘loss leaders’ to bring people in and hopefully upsell them to a more expensive version of that car. Adam is a good writer but I agree with a couple things you said.

        Like 1
  8. David Ulrey

    Really, quarter mile times on a Jeep like this?

  9. Rolls-Royce

    They made also a Jeep Grand Wagoneer Limousine :)

    Like 1
  10. Jimmy Montez

    I bought this Waggoner and it is indeed as posted on eBay, very little surface rust and mechanically sound runs good in and out of 4wd I look forward to restoring the old wagon into a daily driver.

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