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Well-Preserved Original: 1963 Jeep Wagoneer

From Kaiser Motors, American Motors Corporation (AMC), Chrysler, and now Stellantis, the Jeep Wagoneer has been made since late 1962 for the 1963 model year, with a three-decade hiatus from the early 90s until recently. The seller has this first-year 1963 Jeep Wagoneer posted here on craigslist in beautiful Newport Beach, California. They’re asking $29,500, here is the original listing, and thanks to T.J. for the tip!

This is what I think of when I think of a Wagoneer; the classic Jeep grille, a 4WD system rather than automatic AWD, somewhat luxurious interiors but no leather, power window, power seats, or air-conditioning, and plain black wall tires. It would be a hard sell today as truck makers can’t even get consumers to buy two-door pickups anymore let alone a vehicle without power windows and AC.

This Wagoneer looks beautiful overall, but you can see some wrinkling down the passenger side. I’m assuming those are decades worth of door dings as the seller says the paint is original. They’re only the third owner and that’s pretty incredible after six decades. The seller has provided a five-minute video here showing this Wagoneer in some detail, nice job! It’s fun to see them flying through Newport Beach at the 37-second point in the video. What a paradise, and to be driving this Wagoneer there has to be a treat.

The interior is gorgeous and a three-speed manual on the column makes driving interesting and fun, or it did for me when I had vehicles with that configuration. You can see the seller going through the gears in the video. The seats look great both front and rear, as does the rear cargo area. This looks like a nicely preserved 4×4 from a bygone era, yet looks somewhat modern. That’s a nice combo.

The engine debuted in 1962 for Jeep, their “Tornado” 230-cu.in. OHC inline-six, which would have had 140 horsepower. It appears to idle like a sewing machine in the seller’s video. When they opened the hood I wasn’t even aware it was running until I saw the red fan moving. Now about that asking price: Hagerty is at $28,000 for a #2 excellent condition Wagoneer. How much would you pay for this gem?


  1. HoA Howard A Member

    It’s no surprise I’m aghast at the price, but anyone that thinks this is on par with their Grand, Grand, GRAND Cherokee LTD. ( limited to a million copies), will be in for a rude awakening. Any relation to any modern Jeep is strictly coincidental. When Jeeps were Jeeps, dag nabit, and Kaiser was the best. In the 60s, Kaiser was riding high on their military vehicles, and much of that trickled down into these. AMC cheapened them considerably, my biggest pet peeve. The motor had mixed reviews. Simple, as it used one OHC with 6 lobes to operate all the valves, and was a low rpm motor, known for it’s incredible torque at low rpms. The motor leaked and used oil and poor gas mileage in civilian applications, and was discontinued in 1965, ’69 for military. It, at the time, was the only mass produced OHC motor in America. Eventually, the good old tried and true 258 won out. Great find, the Wagoneer was no Cherokee, by any means and dreamin’ on the price. What do you expect from Calyforny? They sure live in a different world, eh?

    Like 11
    • MisterLou Member
    • Rick

      The Pontiac OHC 6 was also offered in the 1966 through 1969 model years.

      Like 2
    • Fox Owner

      Yeah it’s called a world where the sun shines most of the time and people don’t walk around with sticks up their butts.

      Like 6
    • Bob C.

      I’m sure the AMC sourced 327 beginning in 1965 was welcomed with open arms.

      Like 1
    • Eric B

      I’d love to be living in that different world, as would a lot of people.

      Like 0
  2. alphasud Member

    Wow! I bet Brooks Stevens would be proud his design was not only the original SUV but a rather handsome one at that. First time I have seen a OHC engine in the wild that wasn’t in the scrap yard. Pretty ahead of their time to have a OHC crossflow head in a utility and as Howard pointed out in military applications. My views certainly don’t align with California but I sure love the weather and its kindness to the steel in classic cars.

    Like 4
  3. Driveinstile Driveinstile Member

    Just watching him run that 3 on the tree through the gears makes me want it. Years ago power steering and power brakes were options and manual transmissions were very common. The driver was much more in tune to what their vehicle was doing, you can feelnit while driving it. Im not saying power brakes and steering arent wanted, but it just didnt always seem necessary. I love this thing. Hope it goes to a good home

    Like 8
    • HoA Howard A Member

      I think it’s funny, you and Bob mention the shifting. Years ago, it was never thought of, this was how a transmission was shifted. Unlike anything today, I suppose it is rather unusual. While it did eliminate the floor shift, unlike today where everything is floor shift, it made more room for the center passenger, they were prone to wear. The most common problem, was as the linkage wore, moving the lever moved both shifting rods, “jamming” the linkage, and had to be cleared in neutral, usually with a hammer. I’m sure many remember that.

      Like 8
    • Don

      The market is still there for 2 door pickups, but the manufacturers put them on the black plastic grill, vinyl flooring, work truck end of the spectrum. Dealers look at you like a leper when you ask about 8 ft beds.

      Like 0
  4. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Good write-up Scotty. What is interesting to me is how this Jeep fits in the context of SUV’s. Think about what this specific model turned into two decades later (a heavily tarted-up version of its former self) and what it turned into today (a full-luxury full-size six-figure SUV). And how it was an early entrant into the segment, and how the world of SUV’s has exploded in popularity. As opposed to IH, think how Jeep benefitted by staying in the segment.

    The single coolest thing about this is undoubtedly the three-speed transmission with the column shifter. The second coolest thing is the green pattern upholstery.

    Like 10

    what no one has noticed and the seller doesn’t mention is this has the very rare Independent front suspension option offered only on the 63 models, he may have meant to say that instead of the 3 speed on the column which was offered for years afterwards, well worth the price if it is good as it looks!

    Like 5
  6. Eric B

    Fantastic, especially the interior.

    Just yesterday I was behind a brand new “Jeep” “Wagoneer”, tailgating the truck in front of it and generally being fidgety.

    I live in the rust belt, it probably already has miniscule bits of rust forming in the seams. Between that and driving it as if you don’t care what happens to it makes me wonder;

    What’s crazier; (look up the price) shelling out insane money for a bland, boring new one that will be riddled with expensive problems in no time and no one will care about years from now (I don’t care NOW) or buying this one in the mid 20’s. People do haggle.

    I suppose it’s subjective.

    Like 6
  7. Robert Gill

    As a ‘fellow car guy’ many of my earliest memories revolve around cars from my past. Case in point, back in my old home town of Jersey City, New Jersey, and before my friend Eddie and I were old enough to obtain our driver’s license, Eddies’ older brother James bought a brand new, 1963 Jeep Wagoneer that was identical to this car, right down to the Kaiser supplied OHC Inline Six and the three speed stick on the column. Only difference was, James’s Jeep Wagon was blue. Anyway sometime during the summer of 1964, Eddie and I took a ride somewhere with James, when a brand new, 1964 Mustang with a 289 and a four seed pulled up alongside and wanted to engage in a little ‘stoplight to stoplight Grand Prix’. So James put the Jeep in 4 wheel drive, and as the Mustang went up in TIRE SMOKE because it had an open, non positraction rear axle, James proceeded to blow the Mustang’s doors off by getting to the next stoplight first.

    Like 3
  8. geezerglide 85

    I think this motor evolved from the Kaiser (Continental) flathead six. Surprised it puts out the 140h.p. as the Kaiser supercharged flathead listed in another post. It seems the smaller companies were masters at making the most with what they had. Too bad it was not further developed.

    Like 2
    • Ashtray

      I might am missing something, but I think it is a 3 to 4 thousand dollar vehicle?
      Two or three different shades of paint is a turn-off, just for starters.
      And, it’s refrigerator white??
      And, why has all the paint work been done? Body damage of some sort, of course! Rust is also a possibility? You don’t waste money to paint a door or fender on some jolopy like this just because of a scratch or door ding?
      I would like to change my value, $2000.00 tops!
      It’s about the most unappealing thing that I have viewed lately.
      Just my oponion!

      Like 0
      • Eric B

        Why did you reply to geezerglide’s comment with this? As long as you’d like to share your thoughts with everyone (or just geezerglide) on what you feel this vehicle is worth, if it were the 90’s, I thought I’d share that I wouldn’t pay $2000 for a new Wagoneer, which is just my opinion. However, I would pay close to 20 for this original, rust free CA survivor. Be well.

        Like 1
  9. SubGothius

    I gather this same front-end stamping remained in production right up until the final SJ Grand Wagoneer for ’91; they just covered it with a full-width grille and trim starting with the ’66 Super Wagoneer.

    If stock late-model Grand Wagoneers weren’t commanding silly prices, could be interesting to retro-mod one of those back to this original front-end appearance.

    Like 1
  10. Jim Weaver

    I had one of these in the mid 70s. I was stunned to find that the motor mounts were attached to the timing cover, NOT THE BLOCK. Apparently the military models had the motor mounts attached to the block. Oil leakage was phenomenal, particularly if you took it off road. After drilling out the timing cover holes and rethreading them (which worked temporarily), a buddy swapped in a 350. I’d be intrigued to know if anyone ever got one to stop leaking oil.

    It’s pluses were the nifty overhead cam and the external oil pump.

    Like 3
  11. Robt

    Perfect, except the asking price.
    They definitely did use the same front stamping under the full width grilles. I found an original jeep grille and round headlights and installed them on my 79 Cherokee Chief!
    Loving the OHC straight 6 & 3 on the tree. When driving was a full hands on affair. A simple machine. No power this or power that, and no ac. Just the way I like them.

    To rich for my pockets though …

    Like 2
  12. david george

    If they lasted beyond 50 – 60k miles, would go forever. In the day, many in wrecking yards with 50 to 60k miles and destroyed engine.
    I had a ’64 with 106k miles in ’73 when I need a larger vehicle and bought a used ’72 Travelall during the fuel crisis. OHC had plenty of torque, used no oil, ok fuel consumption.

    Like 0
  13. DJS

    Mine was a ’79, white, blue vinyl straight bench and floors, AMC 360 with factory GM TH400. Though all I heard was they all got 10 MPG no matter the conditions, I always got 13. I don’t recall any oil leak problems others mentioned. Would pull a tree stump in low range. Fun ride. By then the plain ones like this and mine were called “Cherokee,” and Wagoneers were already plush. Traded so someone else could deal with floorboards starting to rust a few years before the prices went wild.

    Like 0
  14. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Listing update: the seller has pulled the listing so someone must have grabbed it.

    Like 0
    • Eric B

      I messaged the seller when it was initially featured here and they said it was scheduled to go on bring a trailer soon. I haven’t seen it there yet, perhaps it did sell and that plan was cancelled or maybe it’s headed there shortly.

      Like 0

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