Live Auctions

Ye Olde Grille: 1981 Jeep Cherokee

We all know someone like that, wearing just a t-shirt in the winter. Or, maybe you’re that guy. In any case, what doesn’t give me the chills is this unique 1981 Jeep Cherokee. Wait, a 1981 Jeep Cherokee with that grille and those headlights?! Yes, they’ve been upgraded. I say upgraded because I think this grille is the one that Jeep should have stayed with, but that’s just my personal preference. I didn’t realize that Jeep kept things basically the same other than changing out the grille treatment until I ran across the ’79 Cherokee in Wyoming a couple of months ago and it didn’t have any grille at all. This re-grilled Cherokee is on Craigslist with what seems like a reasonable price of $3,800 considering the work that has gone into this 4×4. This Jeep is located in St. Helens, Oregon, about 30 miles north of Portland.

The seller has done a lot of work on this Cherokee, apart from enhancing its appearance with that new/old grille from a Gladiator. The floors were rusty from the vinyl floor covering in front trapping moisture and those have been repaired and that’s new carpet that you see there. The seats haven’t been repaired but a couple of matching seat covers should do the trick, and there’s a crack in the dash and it needs a headliner. But, here are some of the things that the next owner won’t have to do: “gauge cluster rebuilt with NOS circuit board, nearly new BFG KO tires, new ABS door panels all the way around, new defroster hoses, new vacuum lines for air handler, new rear manual window regulator and seals, new door gaskets, LED headlights in Hella euro spec housings, new side marker lenses, new ivory color shift knobs with correct patterns. new plastic glove box liner, new billet glove box pull, CB radio with weather channels mounted in dash, Firestik antenna” etc.

This is AMC’s 258 cubic-inch inline-six, a trooper of an engine. You can see that it has a replacement valve cover and the seller says that it could use a new gasket, which comes with the sale. This Jeep also has a “T176 4spd manual, Np208 transfer case, AMC 20 rear, Dana 44 front, 2.73 gears open diff front and rear, synthetic Valvoline in transmission, new oil in transfer and rear axle, new fuel sending unit/pickup and sock, new belts, and new rear brakes (shoes, cylinders, springs, turned drums).” What do you think of the retro grille? I like it, no, I love it. This is a pretty appealing Cherokee in my mind, what do you Jeep aficionados think?


  1. CapNemo

    I really like this Jeep, and it seems to me that it’s well worth the money. More investigation may prove me wrong, but I’m diggin it so far!

  2. Leon

    Think I would prefer chrome rather than black for the retro upgrade

  3. milotus

    (In my Rain Man voice) “Red, definitely got to be Red”.

  4. JW

    I like it and the only thing I would have done different would have been keeping the vinyl floor mat, carpet is too boulevard 4 wheeler to me.

  5. Kieran

    Sweet jeep would not change It to rock a crawler there is anough Rock crawlers out there SAVE the jeeps lol

  6. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    I really like the grille! Agree with Leon about the chrome. A pretty fair buy.

  7. Guggie 13

    Did anyone notice the guy in front of the Dodge takin a leak LO L !!

  8. wuzjeepnowsaab

    downvotes – Narrow Track, 6 cylinder, cracked dash, rough seats, AMC20 rear, T176 (blargh), replaced the carppy plastic valve cover but didn’t get it right (leaks), didn’t quite get it right with the Rhino grille upgrade (hood has a different curve where it fits around newer grilles)

    upvotes – Narrow Track, 6 cylinder, 3 pedals, replaced the carppy plastic valve cover, Rhino grille

    If it runs solid and the floors are solid I would say the price is fair for this Plain Jane Cherk but my checklist has more down ticks than up…just my opinion, opinions may differ, past performance is not and indication of future performance

  9. Cubs win

    I just bought a 79 Cherokee Golden Eagle out of Cali. It’s being delivered tomorrow ironically. This one featured here is an “S” model and not the sought after wide track. Nevertheless it is one cool truck and a tough one that will provide many yrs of service because that 258 is bulletproof.
    The Rhino nose as they call it is not my cup of tea but its distinctly Jeep. I want the original late model grill that it came with and am looking for one.

    The price is fair and you can’t go wrong as you have a basic blank canvas to do what you want!

  10. Tim Rusling

    Just reread my old Kaiser Jeep sales brochures the other day, now I see this Gladiator front, which I love! This is a wonderful piece and must go to a worthy buyer.

  11. Damon

    One of the ugliest grills ever. I’ll stick with mt 87′ Grand Wagoneer.

  12. KevinW

    I had a ’78 Chief same color, but with the Indian(?) Stripe around it. Wanted to put the early grille in like this , but never found a decent one. It was my everyday driver, and man it was a tank. Loved that truck!

  13. Thomas Allen

    Or the bear getting out of the passengers side door? 😮

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.


WANTED 1960 to 2005 Honda any Looking to buy low mileage original Japanese vehicles for my collection gary dunc Contact

WANTED 1968 Chevrolet 2 or 4 door impala Looking for a rust free car in the west coast. Contact

WANTED 1965-1967 Chevrolet Corvette Looking for a father/son project car. Engine/no engine. Running/not running. Contact

Submit Your Want Ad